Seeker Selections II

     Last month, I recommended several resources
appropriate for handing over to your “seeking” students, those who
are still unconvinced of the truth of the gospel. I hope that many of those
students were present at RSVP a couple weeks ago, and that those seekers have
now found what they’ve been seeking in the Gospel message. I promised that I
would be adding to that list of seeker-friendly resources in a future column.
Here are a few more: God’s Outrageous Claims by Lee Strobel (Zondervan)
$12.99. This shows what the Bible says about doubt, sex, loneliness, business,
forgiveness and more. Follows the typical Willow strategy of evangelism through
life issues. The Myth of Certainty by Daniel Taylor
(Zondervan/Lightening Print) $14.99. Taylor invites us to be “reflective
Christians” who ask tough questions, take risks and trust God. So what if
we can’t know it all! A few of our staff love this book. The Call by Os
Guinness (Word), $17.99. You know this as a thoughtful and eloquent invitation
to find the purpose and meaning in life through discovering the idea of calling
and vocation. One of my all-time favorites! See also his classic, very thorough
book, God in the Dark (which is a reworking of his older work, In Two
, which is a serious study of doubt.) Who Switched the Price
by Tony Campolo (Word), $10.99. Classic Tony, with fun stories about
getting priorities right, choosing the good life and working it out in family,
work and church. An invitation to reflect more, risk more, do more things that
matter. Carpe Diem: Seize the Day by Tony Campolo (Word), $10.99. What a
great book about fulfillment, passion, life! We should use this book more!
Dangerous Wonder: The Adventures of Childlike Faith by Mike Yaconelli
(NavPress,) $17. Wish this were paperback so it could be sold more easily; what
a journey he invites us on, to adventure and freedom! Wishful Thinking: A
Seekers ABC
by Frederick Buechner (Harper), $12. What he misses in staunch
theology he makes up in artistry and word-play. Time called it “beguiling
for the restless believer, the doubter and all who love words.”
Yearning: Living Between How It Is and How It Ought to Be by Craig
Barnes (IVP), $9.99. Nicely written argument for finding deeper fulfillment and
hope. Looks at the early chapters of Genesis and explores our pain and
disillusionment and explains proper expectations. Barnes is a Presbyterian
preacher and a solid writer. Bold Purpose by Dan Allender & Tremper
Longman (Tyndale), $19.99. With a nice fictional plot device, this is also a
study of Ecclesiastes, on the search for true happiness and real meaning in
life. Very usable for adult seekers. Drained: Stories of People Who Wanted
by Johann Christoph Arnold (Plough), $8. With a stark photo of a
shaved-head youth on the cover, this shouts that it is not “chicken soup
for the soul.” Still, that it’s inspiring, if gritty, stories of seekers
who long for something more. See also the similar collection, Cries of the
, which includes intense stories of struggle for hope and change and
justice. Stories of Hope for a Healthy Soul (Zondervan), $12.99. An
extraordinary packaging of nice essays and stories by the likes of Barbara
Johnson, Chuck Colson, Joni Eareckson, Dave Dravecky, Phil Yancey. A beautiful
gift book, lavish, traditional nature photographs and ribbon marker. The
Heart’s Desire: Satisfying the Hunger of the Soul
by James Houston
(NavPress), $12. A splendid, deep book on desire and the search for true
fulfillment through a transforming relationship with God. Similarly, see the
companion book, In Pursuit of Happiness, which maybe should be read
first. Rich and rewarding. How Can It Be All Right When Everything Is All
by Lewis Smedes (Shaw), $8.99. Although a collection of sermons, I
think his insight is so realistic that a non-Christian could come to faith.
Smedes, of course, doesn’t explain away pain, but shows God’s presence if we
are open, and reassures us that, somehow, things are in His hands. Finally, it
is a book about grace and hope. Highly recommended. See also his recent
hardback, Standing on the Promises: Keeping Hope Alive for a Tomorrow We
Cannot Control
, which is also great reading. Hurtling Toward Oblivion: A
Logical Argument for the End of the Age
by Richard Swenson, MD (NavPress),
$9. Fully aware that this isn’t for everyone, this is a book of social
criticism arguing that our faith in progress tempts us to assume that our world
will last indefinitely, but that ecological realities are such that we are
indeed in a social crisis. The last chapter considers how a new lifestyle based
on Christian principles and hope could create authentic good news. The
Creator and the Cosmos
by Hugh Ross (NavPress), $12. For those inclined
towards the sciences, we suggest various books by Ross, who attempts to show
how the greatest scientific discoveries of the century reveal God. Other books
on intelligent design might be useful, or works by Phil Johnson, Michael Behe,
etc. Unriddling Our Times: Reflections on the Gathering Cultural Crisis,
Os Guinness (editor) (Baker), $8.99. A warning that we are at a critical time
in the erosion of the notion of truth, complete with some classic short
stories, biographical sketches of some great thinkers (Solzhenitsyn) sounding a
call to recover a Christian worldview. A powerful book for thinkers who care
about cultural trends and deep answers. The Sacred Romance: Drawing Close to
the Heart of God
by Brent Curtis & John Eldredge (Nelson), $12.99. A
marvelous invitation to see what God is already doing behind the scenes of our
lives to woo us to Himself. A call to recognize our heart’s deepest longings.
Nicely done spirituality, for believers or seekers. Other similar books on
spirituality might be useful as well. The Gift for All People: Thoughts on
God’s Great Grace by Max Lucado
(Multnomah), $12.99. What a stunning and
attractive book. A page-a-day format of Lucado’s nice writing, with the last
entry an invitation to receive Christ. A perfect and classy evangelistic gift
book. Faith Is. by Pamela Reeve (Multno-mah), $7.99. A touching
collection of inspirational thoughts; each page offers a gem of a little
insight. Quite a handsome package. For those who may want a more literary
investigation of Christ and faith, but not the standard Josh McDowell or John
Stott: Looking for Jesus by Virginia Stem Owens (Westminster), $18. A
marvelously written look at Jesus through the eyes of those who met him.
(Although it is not for everyone, she has a great book, Assault on Eden: A
Memoir of Communal Life in the Early ’70s
, about when she and her family
lived in a commune and how it ultimately failed. Anguished in body and soul,
they end up in a little all-too-ordinary small-town church and find something
there among the common worshipers. Her description of how they grew into faith
within that mundane community is wonderful!) Traveling Mercies by Anne
Lamott (Pantheon), $23. All the rage right now, Lamott is a well-respected
writer who shares her life’s wildness and her coming to faith. Some raw
language and edgy ideas, this is a miracle story of an esteemed artist who
really does become a Christian. Perfect for the avant garde, nonconformists and
the like. Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris (Houghton
Mifflin), $13. Raved about in the secular press, this autobiographical memoir
describes the author’s stay in the Great Plains and how she discovered the
spiritual writings of the desert fathers. A contemplative book full of devotion
and care. Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking
s, Kelly Monroe (editor) (Zondervan), $12.99. What a marvelous and
diverse collection of essays by those who searched for truth. Compiled for a
Harvard Christian fellowship group, this is a remarkable anthology of
compelling and well-written testimonies. Life After God by Douglas
Coupland (Pocket), $10. Gen Xers are impressed with this novel; not a Christian
author, he still knows that a generation without God is in desperate need. I
also recommend his moving and quirky novel, Generation X. Bright
Evening Star: The Mystery of the Incarnation
by Madeleine LÕEngle
(Harold Shaw), $17.99. It is a delight to offer solid doctrine in reflections
by a world-renowned and well-loved writer. Her paperback The Rock That is
Higher: Story as Truth
should also be available to postmoderns who need to
know that stories can lead to truth, and that the biblical story is the
greatest of all! Her Penguins and Golden Calves, written as memoir and
reflection, reminds us that everything in life can point us to God (and that if
it doesn’t, it has become an idol). The Gospel in Dostoevsky by F.
Dostoevsky (Plough), $15. The ultimate guide to God for the literary-minded,
this is a collection of powerful excerpts from the master writer.