By "Nonfiction for Everyone," I mean books about God and God's creation that anyone can engage. A few of them might take some extra effort, but none of them should require extra training (at least to get the big ideas).
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It's almost as if G.K. Chesterton had a time machine--his critique of his own time is even more pressing today. At its core, this book declares that the wonder of our world is the greatest case for a wonderful God.
Surprised by Hope
N.T. Wright starts this book with the provocative claim that "Heaven" is not the primary promise or hope of the New Testament. Rather, we look to the resurrection, the new heaven, and the new earth. This book drastically changed my understanding, and I encourage all Christians with questions about his claim to consider the case.
Every Good Endeavor
Does God care about our work? I suspected the answer was yes, but I couldn't describe how, beyond not lying and trying to evangelize someone every decade or so. This unique book from Tim Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf theologically explores the many facets of work better than anything else I've read.
Faith Speaking Understaning
Kevin Vanhoozer's The Drama of Doctrine has become a priceless (and I believe dependable) guide as I navigate an increasing number of theological seas. Faith Speaking Understanding takes that technical book and makes it accessible for everyone, all based on a powerful metaphor: Faith as theater.
As a doctor, Atul Gawande saw first hand how we handle aging and dying in the United States, and he was deeply troubled. Alongside Surprised by Hope, I think this is essential reading for families who are thinking about or approaching old age and death.
Nick McDonald's book is marketed to junior high students, but it's a funny, engaging presentation of truths we all need to hear about the masks we wear.
Western Christians in Global Mission
Paul Borthwick's book was a breath of fresh air to me, because it neither glorifies nor dismisses Western Christians interested in helping around the world. Practical and based on experience, this book offers great insight for anyone planning service or evangelism in a cross-cultural context.
In Defense of Food
When I was researching for a paper at Gordon-Conwell, I encountered this book that has shaped the way I think about the food we prepare, order, and eat. I recommend it to anyone who wants to engage food more justly but has been afraid of the genre.
I started Marcus Doe's memoire because I wanted to know my friend's story, but I finished it struck by the power of the gospel and the need for reconciliation in our world. It's truly testimony to what God can do, and timely testimony for a fractured world.
No Place for Truth
David Wells tells a compelling history of evangelicalism and the culture it swims in. This might be essential reading for anyone who uses the word to describe him- or herself.
The Triumph of Christianity
Far from dry, dusty facts, church history is actually a compelling story and a testimony to what God has done and can do. Rodney Stark tells the story in a way that may surprise you--it certainly surprised me at many turns, and helped me better understand how the body of Christ grew from Jesus to today.