Books I’m Not Selling

I’m getting ready to do something blasphemous to most pastors–I’m getting rid of a lot of my books. As of the first of this year, I no longer have an office in which to house them, and by the end of the summer, my family and I will have downsized our home. I refuse to stash books away in a storage unit. Books should be in the hands of people who will love them and cherish them and learn from them.

I’m selling them, rather than donating them or giving them away, for the same reason. I fear the large quantity would languish and perhaps be damaged in a donation bin somewhere, plus there aren’t a lot of the paperbacks that I typically see (and often buy) at my local resale shops. I want people who really want the books to have them. Okay, so I’m selling them pretty cheap, but I’ve learned that people will take things they really don’t want or need when they’re free, but will be more thoughtful when a dollar or two is one the line.

I’m not going to sell ALL my books, but I’ve had to be discerning about which ones I will hold on to. I wanted to share just a few of the ones I won’t be letting go of.

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. We say we believe in grace, but Manning challenges us and shows us how to actually live like we believe it–for ourselves and for others. If you’ve grown up in a faith tradition that has made you feel like you are not good enough, you MUST read this book.

Anything by Frederick Beuchner or Barbara Brown Taylor or Anne Lamott.

Christian Doctrine by Shirley Guthrie is the most accessible book on reformed theology that I have found. It is often used in seminaries, but was written for everyone. Plus my copy is inscribed to my parents by the pastor who baptized me, so it’s not going anywhere.

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen recounts the spiritual journey he began after encountering Rembrandt’s painting by the same name. As tales of redemption are my favorite of all the tales, this parable is my favorite of all the parables, and Nouwen makes you feel it, understand it and live it more fully.

A Theology of Hope by Jurgen Moltmann. No one is ever going to accuse me of being an intellectual, and this is probably the only book by someone who falls under the category of classic and “serious” theologians for many that I will not part with. To radically oversimplify, Moltmann asserts that sin is rooted in hopelessness and that our hope in the coming of Christ is what has the power to transform our present world. It’s as powerful and relevant today as it was when he wrote it a little over 50 years ago.

As I continue to go through my books, I may share a few more of my “must keeps.” Hope you’ve discovered something new to read here. And if you’re in the greater Little Rock area, stop by on Saturday, January 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to check out all the books I am letting to of.


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