The following are a list of book recommendations by staff in the Love Thy Neighborhood office that helped when each of them faced convictions about Christian community. Each recommendation is to assist and provide insight about Christian community.
Jesse Eubanks’s Choice:
- Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin
Nate Larkin’s book about his pursuit of Christian brotherhood is both shocking and inspiring. His memoir about life as a secretive, desperately lonely sex addicted pastor is the story of many modern Christian men. Larkin is a gifted storyteller and drives readers from chapter to chapter with whimsical insights and guttural confessions. Among many illuminating scenes in his book, the best may have been his moment that he sits attending his first 12 step group only to realize that the broken addicts in front of him are showing more grace and vulnerability than he has ever experienced in his decades in the church. This moment sends Larkin on a journey toward honesty, reckoning with the aftermath of his choices, and a community that can help him pull his marriage and faith back together. He concludes with the creation of a men’s group that goes beyond accountability into something much deeper.
Kiana Brown’s Choice:
- The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
I gobbled this book right up! Rosaria is such an engaging and thoughtful writer. She really draws you in with all her life stories and practical applications, but she doesn’t fail to always draw you back to the gospel. You get a beautiful picture of what raw and honest Christian community can look like and it is so inviting!
Leandro Lozada’s Choice:
- Tech Wise Family by Andy Crouch
Though this book is not explicitly about community but about how technology can affect family life, this book is packed with insights and practical advice that will help you understand what relationships are for, how to prioritize them and how to put technology in its place. What’s more, Andy writes in such a way that he will conquer your imagination and not just your intellect. Read it, put your phone down and start connecting with people.
Sam Stevenson’s Choice
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Not necessarily one that we often think of in the Christian Community realm, but it was the book that transformed what I believed about myself and how vulnerability is the key that unlocks all of our important relationships. I constantly go back to her teachings and try to not only apply them to my relationships with other Christians, but also to my relationships with non-believers. Her research about connection, empathy, bravery, shame, are all key components of how we can navigate community in a healthy way. It’s not a Christian book, but the teachings can be easily applied in a Christian context. Her teaching is really practical and invites her readers to show up to their relationships, “get in the ring” of authentic community, and to persevere – all of which Christians desperately need to learn and apply.
Rachel Szabo’s Choice:
- Life Together by Deitrich Bonhoeffer
Living in community is a necessity for Christians. However, I can easily get a romanticized idea of what community should look like and inevitably get disappointed and discouraged when experience does not match my ideals. This book asks us to examine our expectations and motives, while still upholding the joy of community even when it doesn’t meet our standards. A wonderful, practical, well-rounded look at what Christian community really is.
These are books or other resources we have heard great things about put haven’t had a chance to personally read yet.
- Life in Community by Dustin Willis