What mold? I think the public considers a stereotypical Christian writer to be in one of these categories:
- Fire & Brimestone.
- Get Right or Go to Hell.
- I’m Better Than You.
- Your life would be better if you weren’t sinning so much. Sinner.
- If you believe in God everything will be fixed and you’ll be rich with an attractive spouse! Oh, it’s not? Well then you’re still sinning too much.
I don’t want that to be the case for the Christian writer. Are there grains of truth in those categories? Yes. But they don’t paint a full picture of the Gospel. Of course, none of us can in our human language and minds, but here are 5 writers that are prayerfully moving towards it, paintbrush in hand.
Francis has written several books, including Crazy Love, Forgotten God, and Erasing Hell. All of them have been deeply moving and convicting for me, with Crazy love topping the list. Francis write with a sincere heart, challenging questions, and biblical clarity. His books are very well researched in scriptural content, but also in the historical context of the day. You can visit his main site or his blog.
Rob has caught a lot of flack from believers because of his latest book, Love Wins. I’m still formulating my own opinion of it, but like most issues, I’ll take some and leave some. I don’t think as black and white as I used to, and thus don’t need to fully dismiss a person because I don’t agree with a part of what he says. Who fully agrees with any one person anyway? I will say that Rob has written some books that have been very important for me and my walk with God, especially Velvet Elvis. His NOOMA video series is very well done and thought-provoking. As with Francis, Rob’s books are well researched, both scripturally and historically. The bottom line is that he will challenge your beliefs in a healthy way. Visit his main site or the Mars Hill Church site, and follow him on Twitter.
Along with Rob, I read a few of Don’s books when I was in college and soon after. Blue Like Jazz had a big impact on me, and I saw ways that Jesus was relevant in this day and age. The story of his reverse-confession booth at Reed College, and his friend’s tithing jar are still meaningful to me today. I have also read Searching for God Knows What, and my brother Mark raves about Through Painted Deserts. Read Don’s blog here and follow him on Twitter.
Richard Rohr writes some deep, soul searching books. They have a lot of depth to them, certainly not bedtime or beach reading. You have to be ready for it. That being said, he has written a lot things that have been very meaningful to me. Rohr’s main focus is Male Spirituality, what Jesus taught, ways it showed up in mythology, and the Hero’s Journey (via Joseph Campbell). I have read a few of his books: Radical Grace, Wild Man to Wise Man, Adam’s Return, and Preparing for Christmas. Being a male that is still developing, and working with young men ages 6-22 at Camp Rockmont, it has been very helpful. His reflections on poverty, hitting bottom, simplicity, and daily living have also been great. Check out his work site, the new blog, and follow him on Twitter.
Shane’s writing introduced me to possibility of living in poverty as a way of ministering and living in God’s light. Shane has done amazing work in Philadelphia’s inner city, living in a co-op called The Simple Way. He has great points on living in a Godly community, what that community looks like, God’s message to the poor, sharing resources, and communal finances. His breakthrough book was The Irresistible Revolution, and combined with his trademark dreadlocks, made him a person of interest to a Christian community desperate for someone to relate to their youth. Shane tries to shy away from Christian Rock Star status though, preferring to be in Philly. Definitely worth reading about, and following him on Twitter.
That’s my list for now, do you have anyone to add?