Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (HarperCollins, 2011)

As a pastor I get asked all the time the future of an individual after they die.  What happens when we die?  Who goes to heaven and who goes to hell?  Rob Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—hell and the afterlife—arguing, would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever?  This is an awesome book and one that I would highly recommend to everyone!

 

Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx (Beacon Press, 2012)

Breathing Space is the story of a young woman, Heidi Neumark, and the Hispanic and African-American Lutheran church-aptly named Transfiguration-that took a chance calling on a pastor from a starkly different background. Despite living and working in a milieu of overwhelming poverty and violence, Neumark and the congregation encounter even more powerful forces of hope and renewal.

This is the story of a church and a community creating space for new life and breath in a place where children suffer the highest asthma rates in the nation. It’s also the story of a young woman-working, raising her children, and struggling for spiritual breathing space. Through poignant, intimate stories, Neumark charts her journey alongside her parishioners as pastor, church, and community grow in wisdom and together experience transformation.

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint (Jericho Books, 2013)

This is a beautiful book outlining the life and ministry of Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber.  It follows Nadia from the time she felt lost and alone drowning herself with reckless abandon to one of the top pastors in the ELCA. She is heavily tattooed and loud-mouthed, and she never considered herself to be religious leader material-until the day she ended up leading a friend’s funeral in a smoky downtown comedy club. Surrounded by fellow alcoholics, depressives, and cynics, she realized: These were her people. Maybe she was meant to be their pastor.

The Cost of Discipleship (Touchstone, 2012)

One of the most important theologians of the twentieth century illuminates the relationship between ourselves and the teachings of Jesus in this classic text on ethics, humanism, and civic duty.

What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the aristocrat? What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us today? Drawing on the Sermon on the Mount, Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers these timeless questions by providing a seminal reading of the dichotomy between “cheap grace” and “costly grace.” “Cheap grace,” Bonhoeffer wrote, “is the grace we bestow on ourselves…grace without discipleship….Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the girl which must be asked for, the door at which a man must know….It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”