Some books that helped form me spiritually?
Books! The world in my head and the worlds between pages – searching for the TRUTH.
I was a slow learner my first two years of school. Everyone was beginning to wonder what was wrong with me. Finally, someone decided to have my eyes checked. What a miracle when the glasses were hooked over my ears and I was led to the window! Wonder of wonders! I could see leaves while still on the tree!
I returned to my second-grade classroom and became such a voracious reader that my country-school teacher went weekly to the county library and brought back a box of books just for me.
The first time I myself entered that little county library, I stood dazzled. I stood in awe of the shelves of books stretching all around the room and into the next. “I want to read every book!” I thought to myself. I filled out my first library card and checked out the maximum 8 books.
Motivation for my impossible goal to read every book was a deep down belief that I could know the truth about everything. I mean, the TRUTH. Why was I so hungry to know the TRUTH? I don’t know where that came from, but I had the idea that in books worth reading I would know the TRUTH.
From those thousands of books read, which ones had the most impact? Of course, different ones at different times. How can I choose just a few?
The Junior Confirmation Book by Jacob Tanner coupled with Martin Luther’s Small Catechism was the first serious theological reading I did. I was 11 years old when I started Confirmation Class in my Lutheran Church. I was thrilled to read something “adult” and “important” and “true”; it had a profound and continuing influence on my life.
How to choose just a few? I cannot… I spent the last hour looking through my lists and my shelves – it’s been so much pleasure and joy to review and think about these wonderful books and the lessons I have learned. Some favorite authors: Madeleine L’Engle, C. S. Lewis, NT Wright, Susan Howatch, Barbara Rossing, Diana Butler Bass, Kelly Fryer, Barbara Brown Taylor, Soren Kierkegaard, Walter Wangerin, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Bishop Herbert W. Chilstrom, Martin Marty, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Kathleen Norris, Barbara Kingsolver, James Michener, Pearl Buck, so many more.
Hasn’t everything I read influenced me in some way? Perhaps my reading choices have been guided by my lifelong search for the TRUTH. Indeed, I have found the Truth, the God of Grace, Mercy and Justice revealed in Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God.