Marriage bibliography: best books, part 1

If you noticed, I sort of hedged and apologized for my furious little foray into arcane theology in my last post. Those two books—still available as a pair at a blogsite special discount–are very important and the new one, Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition, really is very, very thoughtful and unique. The authors are just fabulous and it raises so many various theological questions that it could keep you busy for quite some time. I am pleased–more than pleased, deeply glad–that a few people noticed and emailed me about the books. This neo-Calvinist tradition has opened up so much insight about God’s covenantal care for His whole wide world, and the ways in which we can be a part of the great rescue plan of Christ’s redemption that I never tire in telling about Abraham Kuyper and his descedents, authors and activists from Herman Dooyeweerd to Bill Romonowski, Calvin Seerveld to Al Wolters, Bob Goudzewaard to Cornelius Plantinga, Pete Steen to Mary Stewart Van Leeuwan, Jim Skillen to Elaine Storkey. Et al, et al, et al.

I hesitate to push any deep theological and worldviewish scholarship without offering equal doses of down to earth reading, helpful stuff that keeps our daily discipleship growing and ever-faithful. So, tonight, I will offer a bibliography that we here at Hearts & Minds was asked to put together for a church that is doing a little marriage retreat. This is what we often do—recommend stuff that hopefully is a bit more substantial than what you might find in the religious section of WalMart or the typical evangelical gift store chain. But, still, a book list that is servicable, helpful, a practical gift to those who need it. Maybe some of our heady BookNotes bloggers will want to check it out, knowing these resources could be very, very urgent to somebody you know. Maybe even those who are deep theologians…
Thanks for allowing us to share, here, the fruit of our work and the stuff we do. Enjoy.
I will break this up into two lists and add just a couple that were not on the orginal church retreat biblio. Make sure you look at ’em both, as both have really great titles listed. Thanks.
Marriage: Just a Piece of Paper?
edited by Katherine Anderson, Don Browning, Brian Boyer (Eerdmans) $25.00 This remarkable companion to a PBS documentary last year (hosted by Cokie Roberts) has the narratives of interviewees talking about their lives and loves; theologians and social sciences add insight about the erosion of meaning in our frayed culture and how strong marriages are not only the concern of the far religious right. Gripping real live stories of real life Americans of a vast array of races, settings, values and opinions, woven into a very strong resource.

As For Me and My House: Crafting Your Marriage To Last Walter Wangerin (Nelson) $13.99 A very moving book laden with stories—some funny, some heartbreaking, all illustrating the importance of communication and forgiveness in a Christ-centered marriage. Powerful and enjoyable.
To Become One Chris Seay & Chad Karger (Relevant) $13.99 A hip, young book with this phrase on the cover: After ÔI DoÕ the real journey begins. A very readable, relevant and insightful introduction that covers nearly every aspect of a marriage.
Intimate Allies Dan Allender & Tremper Longman (Tyndale) $12.99 Rediscovering GodÕs design for marriage and becoming soul mates for life, by exploring case studies of real couplesÑand what they learned by revisiting GodÕs intentions as spelled out in the first chapters of Genesis. Very helpful.
The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment To Your Mate Gary Chapman (Moody) $13.99 The sheer popularity of this indicates that it has touched a great nerve and met a real need. Chapman shows how different folks are ÒwiredÓ to hear differently, and communication styles must match the needs of the listener. Very, very practical, insisting that good and effective communication is essential to really Òspeak the same languageÓ and deeply express love, not just in words, but in appropriate actions.
The Intimate Mystery: Creating Strength and Beauty in Your Marriage Dan Allender & Tremper Longman (IVP) $15.00 A handsome, slim hardcover, this is a very readable and insightful study. You can also purchase a DVD to watch alongside the book, and a series of seven different small group (or couples) study guides around different topics from forgiveness to sexual intimacy, dreams and expectations to gender roles.
Marriage Made in Eden: A Pre-Modern Perspective for a Post-Christian World Alice Mathews and M. Gay Hubbard (Baker) $16.99 The subtitle shows that these authors are savvy about culture and the deeper worldview issues that frame our understandings. It is a profoundly Biblical book, very thoughtful and multi-faceted. Excellent.
Just DonÕt Marry One: Interracial Dating, Marriage and Parenting edited by
George Yancey (Judson) $18.00 A rare and realistic look, written by a variety of racially diverse Christians as they share their experiences and faith and recommendations for effective interracial marriage and family.
Gender & Grace: Love, Work & Parenting in a Changing World Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (IVP) $18.00 Although not everyone will agree with this serious Christian scholarÕs call to Biblical equality between men and women, her offering a Biblical framework for thinking about gender roles makes this an essential book to know and ponder.
Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring Andi Ashworth (Shaw) $10.99 Not exactly on marriage, but on crafting a home based on beauty, service and care-giving. Very, very insightful and a good edition to anyoneÕs library.
The Mystery of Marriage: Meditations on the Miracle Mike Mason (Multnomah) $12.99 This twentieth anniversary paperback is a glorious example of what it means not just to give people self-help advice, but to offer a deep and contemplative reflection on the spiritual meaning of our marriages. Well-written and a lovely example of the spirituality of ordinary. Highly recommended.
The Sacred Marriage and Devotions for the Sacred Marriage Gary Thomas (Zondervan) $12.99 and $14.99 Gary is a fine writer, a prayerful contemplative, but not quiet as mysterious as Mason (see above.) He tells wonderful stories, makes practical suggestions, but is always rooted in a deep awareness of the call to holiness and spirituality in marriage. The book is superb; the devotional includes a yearÕs worth of new material, more stories, and wise meditations on Scripture. See also his similarly done Sacred Parenting and Devotions for Sacred Parenting.
Faith Tango: A Liberating Approach to Spiritual Growth in Marriage Carolyn & Craig Williford (Waterbrook) $10.99 We certainly donÕt mean to suggest that praying together or sharing a devotional life isnÕt helpful, but these authors believe that many suffer from unnecessary guilt or frustration about failed attempts to do these activities with their spouse. They offer an alternative to traditional practices, inviting a pattern of spiritual growth that really works.
to be continued…

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