For many of us, preparing for summer includes curating our reading lists. It’s the season for catching up and reading those books we didn’t have time for during the rest of the year. Some of us plan to hunker down and use the opportunity to better ourselves by reading books that are good for us. Others simply want to relax and blow through a stack of novels while lying on the beach.

Whatever our preference, there’s no reason our reading can’t be enjoyable and edifying at the same time. God created us with minds, hearts, imaginations and aesthetic sensibilities. We are fulfilling our creation mandate when we read for both truth and pleasure.

With that in mind, here’s a short list for your consideration, to augment your summer reading. There’s a wide range of styles and subjects represented here, but all of these authors are Christians who’ve thought deeply and biblically about their topic, and just as importantly, write well.

Another Gospel? by Alisa Childers

A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity

Alisa Childers used to be in the Christian band ZOEgirl. Then she met a progressive pastor who called himself a hopeful agnostic. Under his influence, she began to doubt all the core truths of Christianity and almost lost her faith. Childers traces her spiritual and intellectual journey as she rebuilt her faith, one stone at a time. With clarity and grace, she lays bare the teachings of progressive Christianity and contrasts them with historical biblical truth.

Nedé Rising Duology by Jess Corban

A Gentle Tyranny; A Brutal Justice

What if women unravelled the evils of patriarchy? Jess Corban’s two-novel series offers a unique twist on the dystopian YA genre. In the future, men have been “gentled” via a bioweapon that renders them physically weak slaves for the Matriarchy of Nedé. But Reina Pierce, the Matriarch’s daughter, begins to question the values of her society. Blending adventure and romance, the Nedé Rising series unfolds its theme that women and men thrive best when allowed to be as God made them.

Worthy by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher

Celebrating the Value of Women

Beginning from Genesis and working through the storyline of the Bible, Fitzpatrick and Schumacher show the significant – and even surprising – ways God has used women to accomplish his kingdom goals. Because women, like men, are created in God’s image, their lives reflect and declare his worth. Worthy enables and encourages both men and women to embrace this true and lofty vision of God’s creation, plan, and their value in his eyes.

Art and Faith by Makoto Fujimura

A Theology of Making

Makoto Fujimura is a world-class painter who knows that being made in God’s image means being made to create. Art and Faith, conceived over thirty years of painting and creating in his studio, is Fujimura’s exploration of creativity and the spiritual aspects of “making.” What he does in the studio is theological work as much as it is aesthetic work. He shows how unless we’re making something, we cannot know the depth of God’s being and God’s grace permeating our lives.

Born Again This Way by Rachel Gilson 

Coming Out, Coming to Faith, and What Comes Next

Rachel Gilson began following Jesus during her freshman year at Yale University, after breaking up with her high school girlfriend. Since then, she has become a seminary-educated theologian and has been married for over a decade to her husband Andrew, with whom she has a daughter. With insight and compassion born of experience, she addresses the struggles of same-sex attraction, how she found her identity in Christ and her freedom in God’s design for sexuality.

Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren

Sacred Practices in Everyday Life

Tish Harrison Warren is an Anglican priest whose writing has appeared in Christianity Today and The New York Times. She has a talent for combining lived experience with theological insight in an accessible and often humorous literary style. Liturgy of the Ordinary explores daily life through the lens of liturgy, small practices and the habits that form us, allowing us to become aware of God’s presence in surprising ways through the overlooked moments and routines of our day.

Uncommon Ground by Tim Keller and John Inazu

Living Faithfully in a World of Difference

How can Christians interact with those around us in a way that shows respect to those whose beliefs are radically different, but that also remains faithful to the Gospel? Tim Keller and John Inazu bring together illuminating stories from artists, thinkers and leaders to provide a guide for faithful living in a pluralistic, fractured world. Uncommon Ground gathers an array of perspectives from people thinking deeply and working daily to live with humility, patience and tolerance in our time. 

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

A Myth Retold

C.S. Lewis is best known for The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity. However, he considered Till We Have Faces his best and most mature work. It was his last novel, written with input from his wife, Joy Davidman. Retelling the myth of Cupid and Psyche, the book is a lyrical exploration of envy, betrayal, loss, blame, grief, guilt and conversion through the eyes of Psyche’s sister Orual. Recalling Ecclesiastes, Orual meditates on human vanity and divine purpose before finding redemption in the end.

The Wisdom Pyramid by Brett McCracken

Feeding Your Soul in a Post-Truth World

Accessing information has never been easier, but acquiring wisdom is increasingly difficult. To help us consume a more balanced, healthy diet of information, Brett McCracken has created the “Wisdom Pyramid.” At a time when so much of our daily media diet is toxic and making us spiritually sick, The Wisdom Pyramid suggests we become healthy and wise when we reorient our lives around God, the foundation of truth and the eternal source of wisdom.

Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin

12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion

For many educated westerners, biblical Christianity is a dangerous idea, challenging some of their deepest beliefs. Channelling state-of-the-art research, personal stories, pop cultural illustrations and careful biblical study, Confronting Christianity explores 12 questions that keep many modern people from considering faith in Christ. A Cambridge PhD with a clear and winsome voice, McLaughlin is a worthy successor to C.S. Lewis and Tim Keller as a popular apologist for our time.

Return of the God Hypothesis by Stephen Meyer

Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe

Beginning in the 19th century, many intellectuals began to insist that scientific knowledge conflicts with traditional theistic belief – that science and belief in God are “at war.” Philosopher of science Stephen Meyer challenges this view by examining three scientific discoveries with theistic implications. Meyer demonstrates how discoveries in cosmology and physics coupled with those in biology help to establish the identity of the designing intelligence behind life and the universe. 

The Politically Homeless Christian by Aaron Schafer 

How to Conquer Political Idolatry, Reject Polarization, and Recommit to God’s Greatest Two Commandments

As followers of Jesus, we were never meant to find our home in a political party. Our identity should be rooted in Christ alone. We should be politically homeless. In his book, The Politically Homeless Christian, Aaron Schafer explores what the Bible says about how we are called to engage with the world politically, what we are instructed to look for in leaders, and how we can bring the love of God to a broken and fallen world through the way we approach politics.

Some concluding thoughts

There’s quite a bit of variety on this list in terms of genre and content. Naturally, no one would be expected to read everything on here in one summer. It’s offered more as a literary smorgasbord: pick a couple of titles that might interest you, or maybe even just one, and try it. Whatever you choose, may your summer reading bring you truth as well as pleasure!

Note: The contents of the books on this list are not necessarily endorsed by Focus on the Family Canada. You can find some of these titles in the Focus Canada online store or explore other titles that may be of interest to you and your family.

Subby Szterszky is the managing editor of Focus on Faith and Culture, an e-newsletter produced by Focus on the Family Canada.

© 2023 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.

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