My guess is that none ever gets grace completely. We are all on a journey of discovery and recovery. We are discovering the grand vistas of God’s grace and also seeing worlds of grace in the minutiae of life. And we are recovering what was once intended – growing young in the aging face of history.
The following books have helped me along the way. This is not meant to be a best of list or seen as definitive. These are simply books which have moved me along in this world of “un-grace” as Yancey calls it. I’m not done with this list. As a matter of fact grace is what I’m always looking for when reading – no matter the genre or author.
My hope? Some of you will find a book to help you a few steps along the way.
These are in no particluar order.
1. What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Phillip Yancey. I’ve never been able to get over this book. There are a number of stories throughout the book and this is where the strength of the book lies. It was through this work I discovered Babette’s Feast, a favorite story.
2. Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton. It would not be much of an overstatement to say I was a Calvinist because of this book. And the theology presented here is the theology I still hold onto for the most part. mentally I go back to this book often.
3. The God You Can Know by Dan DeHaan You’ve most likely never even heard of this one. But it changed me and was the first book I felt like I could not get enough of. And it was the first book that made me weep while reading it. It’s probably been 14 years or more since I’ve read it but it still shapes me.
4. The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. The kind of book that can change everything.
5. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. A novel about an aged pastor learning to live out the grace he has preached. I Stayed up all night to finish once I got started. Painful and beautiful.
6. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. As much as I wanted to identify with Peter, as a kid I could not escape I was Edmund, in need of radical grace.
7. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. This is still a relatively new one for me. I was always too reformed to even give it a try. But it came at just the right time. I was low and needed the grace that pours forth like Niagara from this book. The church…the world needs more books like this.
8. The Maytrees by Annie Dillard. This was my introduction to Annie Dillard and she clearly understands grace more than most preachers.
9. The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor. I know this cheating but in every story grace and the need for it edges in sideways and is sometimes there beside you sitting uncomfortably before you even know it.
10. The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. If you start reading the Puritans here, it just may ruin you. I’m not a Puritan hater but this is the standard in my book. A comforting book I’ve needed to read again again because of disappointment and the simple need to be reminded of God’s love for sinners.