On Books That Made a Difference

Each of our spiritual journeys is influenced by different sources. For some, it may be a particular mentor. For others, it may be specific experiences. My journey is filled with persons and experiences, some positive, some not. But many of the benchmarks on my journey are books. So I want to share with you my shortlist of high-impact books that have enriched my spiritual journey. Some are spiritual in nature, some are not. Hopefully as I share, you will be constructing your own list. My books are listed in no particular order:

  1. The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen. This book has been a guide in my work as a therapist. It also got me on the road to sobriety.
  2. New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton. Here are collected many of Merton’s thoughts. It has helped me to stay humble.
  3. Our Town by Thornton Wilder. This play has given me a framework for thinking of the afterlife. Several versions are available for viewing. I recommend the one with Jason Robards and Kirk Douglas.
  4. Thich Nhat Hanh Living Buddha, Living Christ. My journey has been helped by Buddhism. This book gives me a bridge to link Buddhism to my Christian roots.
  5. Joseph Telushkin Jewish Literacy, Telushkin’s work helped me embrace the Jewish roots that all Christians have.
  6. C.S. Lewis A Grief Observed. I could list several of this great man’s works but this one gave me a deeper more humane understanding of grief.
  7. Matthew Linn, Sheila Fabricant, and Dennis Lynn Healing the Eight Stages of Life.  This work helped me broaden and heal my image of the God of my understanding and specifically helped  me experience a feminine side of God.
  8. Anne Lamott Traveling Mercies. I relate to her patchwork quilt brand of spirituality.
  9. Marcus Borg Convictions.  This is the most recent addition to my list. His sharing of his own journey organized around the themes of memory, conversion, and conviction deepened my understanding of struggles along the way.
  10. Loren Eiseley The Starthrower. Eiseley was the first writer to help me embrace the sacredness of nature.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               I didn’t place the Bible on here. I am nearing the conclusion of my fourth reading of the Bible. It is a rich source of spiritual wisdom but definitely not an easy read.       I encourage you to make your own list and share it here in the form of a comment. I have been directed to several very helpful books by other travelers.