25 Great Books To Read This Fall

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People ask me for good book recommendations on a regular basis. I love books. I admit, I have too many. I also admit checking books out at the library has never worked for me. For whatever reason, I need to own, to possess, to write in the books that mentor, entertain and form me. I would probably be a millionaire if I could merely check them out at my local library.

When I am asked for a recommendation, I tend to ask questions in order to find out where a particular person is at on their journey; what they are hoping the book will do for them; or what deeper work they sense God is up to in their lives. After I ponder their answers, I have multiple good ‘old friends’ whose clothing of worn, aged pages might be a potential help or new love.

As Fall approaches, and you have visions of entering into the pages of a biblio-journey that will change your life, while savoring a steaming cup of dark roast coffee on a chilly misty morning next to the warmth of your crackling fire, then read on. Here are some offerings that you may not have read.

Here is my disclaimer. I read widely. I read critically. I don’t always read books that I agree with, in fact I generally find ideas that I disagree with in almost every book. So there will be authors in my list that you might think, “Really Monty? I can’t believe you recommended that book!”

It seems we have lost the ability to discern, critique and think for ourselves. We tend to read books exclusively by people we like, or who think exactly as we do. We dislike being stretched, or heaven forbid, challenged in what we think or believe. We need to learn to read, ruminate, ponder, dialog, disagree, stretch and ultimately grow. To that end, we all need some authors who cause us to ask tougher, deeper question freeing us from tribal dominance and the status-quo.

A final disclaimer, the books are not in any order, just some titles you might not have encountered yet.

Having said that, here are some books to consider reading this Fall:

  1. Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. by Eric Metaxas
  2. Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, by Walter Brueggeman
  3. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry. by Ruth Haley Barton
  4. The Way of a Pilgrim (Russian Spiritual Classic). by anonymous
  5. The Normal Christian Life. by Watchman Lee
  6. The Complete Stories (FSG Classics). by Flannery O’Connor
  7. The Prodigal God. by Tim Keller
  8. Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart. by Christena Cleveland
  9. Ruthless Trust. by Brennan Manning
  10. The Singer. By Calvin Miller
  11. Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked . by Chris Matthews
  12. The Sparrow. by Mary Doria Russell
  13. The Cure. by Bill Thrall
  14. The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea. by Bob Burg
  15. Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. by Gregory Boyle
  16. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful.by Marshall Goldsmith
  17. How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels. by N. T. Wright
  18. The Alchemist. by Paulo Coelho
  19. The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others. by Scot Mcknight
  20. Wisdom of the Sadhu: Teachings of Sundar Singh. by Sadhu Sundar Singh
  21. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Harper Perennial Modern Classics). by Annie Dillard
  22. The God of Small Things: A Novel. by Arundhati Roy
  23. Night (Night). by Elie Wiesel
  24. The Shack. by Wm. Paul Young
  25. Bonus book: Sacred Space. by MC Wright 🙂

Transformation & Information

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"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

2 Cor.5:16-17

"But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit." 

Rom. 7:6

Through the centuries the church has been making the same mistake over and over again as it has defined Christianity by what you know instead of Who you know, or better yet, Who knows you. We've confused information (learning about God) with transformation (being known and recreated by Him in His image, not our own).

When we define Christianity by what we know…it becomes a doing based religion, a treadmill of shoulds and a list of tasks derived from the information we have acquired. That is not the freedom found in being a new creation, or the new way of the Spirit, it is life under the old Law of performance.

There is a big difference between these two dynamics however. As I was thinking about these two realities, the following considerations and contrasts came to mind:

information is finite – transformation is infinite

information improves – transformation creates

information is temporary – transformation is permanent

information is the known – transformation is the unknown

information is safe – transformation is risky

information is predictable – transformation is unpredictable

information requires study – transformation requires trust

information promotes self-sufficiency transformation demands dependence

information breeds familiarity – transformation embraces the unfamiliar

information is inanimate – transformation is alive

information is a noun – transformation is a verb

information takes hold – transformation lets go

information is knowledge – transformation is truth


There is so much more for us to encounter and experience in God, but we must be willing to allow the information to translate into a liiving reality in the graceful grip of God. The journey in and down to the soul-ular level is a journey that will change your life.

It's time to experience being a new creation, and life lived in the new way of the Spirit…if it is a new way, then why do we keep doing the same old things? Perhaps it's time to move from information to transformation.

Dei Gratia,

Monty