A couple days ago Robbie and I had a discussion about our theological journeys through the years. I asked him what book defined his first few years of being interested in God, personal faith, theology, etc. and what book or author would define him now.
Interestingly (or maybe not?) we both said Blue Like Jazz was our “starter” book. I’ll let him tell you his current book, if he wants, but for me I couldn’t think of a single book or author.
For me, my “faith journey” has actually become less about books and learning about God and more about experiencing God. And not in big ways, rather in small everyday ways.
When I think back on my “early years” (2009-2015ish) as a Christian they’re defined by big feelings, deep thoughts, and a depth of exploration.
If I’m being honest, the books I read when I was starting to become more interested in ministry and vocation, as well as theology and faith, were more about arming myself with knowledge, which isn’t inherently a poor pursuit. I was excited about my faith, and many of the books I read helped encourage that excitement! But, they were also a great way to show off to other christians!
In 2015 I was introduced to Henri Nouwen’s book In the Name of Jesus (the namesake of our daughter!!), this book helped me pivot from ostentatious reading to reading as soul care.
It was really when I met Robbie, also in 2015, and I was introduced to Mockingbird Ministries that I began to care less about books, but also feel more cared for.
I hope I don’t have to say this, but God doesn’t care about your books or your theological journey. He cares about you.
These days you’ll find me reading the occasional book about faith, but mostly I read my Bible in short increments daily-ish and I read Paul Walker’s Almost Daily Devotional every morning.
I’ll listen to the odd podcast about theology, and I’ll do a little reading if I know it’ll help me leading Bible studies. On the whole though, I find that I’ve much come to prefer relational and devotional small groups vs Bible Studies.
As Henri Nouwen writes in In the Name of Jesus
“The Question is not how many people take you seriously? How much are you going to accomplish?… But: Are you in love with Jesus?… In our world of loneliness and despair, there is an enormous need for men and women who know the heart of God, a heart that forgives, cares, reaches out, and wants to heal.
Knowing God’s heart means consistently, radically, and very concretely to announce and reveal that God is love and only love, and that every fear, isolation, or despair begins to invade the human soul, this is not something that comes from God… Very few people know that they are loved without any conditions or limits.In the Name of Jesus, Henri Nouwen, Chapter I
Let me again say concretely, God loves you, completely. Christ was crucified for you; through His sacrifice we have been justified.
Now get out there read* whatever you want!
*ps. Look for my summer reading list very soon 🙂