Monday, May 9, 2011

Three Must Reads Before You Die

My life has gone through many twists and turns over the years and one of the major ones came last year. I was on the brink of losing my faith (or more like losing faith in my faith). I didn’t really stop believing in God, but I had become disgusted and disappointed with life and what I was expecting as a person who believed in God. But Jesus wouldn’t let me go and led me to the people, places, and BOOKS that I needed to get me through. Here they are...
I just finished reading “Permission to Speak Freely” by Anne Jackson. This is must read number one. It talks about what you are scared to talk about in religious circles. Having been one of those mask-wearing Stepford-like church goers, scared to confess anything was wrong with my life, this book was a refreshing and freeing experience. Although I had come to this realization and began living this way a few years ago, it was nice to see in print what every person should have – a safe place to express what’s wrong without fear of rejection. (I wasn’t just fearful of being embarrassed; I was fearful of not being part of the church – the forced misrepresentation that once you are saved, you don’t experience downfalls or sin ever again.) This is a short book but it took me a couple of weeks to read. I could only digest a couple pages at a time – some from relief, some with contemplation, and others with sheer weeping for those who I know need this so badly.

Must read number two is a book I read a few months ago, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller. (His book “Searching for God Knows What” was pivotal in the new turn my life started taking a year ago.) From his own experience, he explains that you can look at your life and figure out if you’re living your life (your own personal story) in the way that you could or should. It’s not a self-help book; it’s more like a “wake up” book. Unlike Anne’s book, this one I read in one big gulp (over two days) which seems to be the general consensus of those who have read the book

Yes, they are both life changing books. So why this order? Because the first one will bring healing and the second one hope; you’ll do better with hope once you deal with your stuff and stuff that’s been thrown at you in your life. Which brings me to the third …
The Bible (of course)! After you read the first two, read the Bible. If you’ve never read it before, you may be pleasantly surprised as to what it says -- and doesn’t. If you’ve read it a thousand times, read it again after these two and I guarantee it will be different this time around. Does it matter what version? No, that is a personal preference. I know some diehard KJV lovers and there seems to be a new version out every year lately but you may want to consider one that has more plain modern English. My personal favorite is the NLT but I haven’t perused all of the newest ones. For those of you who want to read 5 translations all at once (as I sometimes do), I enjoy where you can look up a scripture or passage and flip back and forth between translations. It’s also a great way to get the Bible free online and all your devices!

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