What Nonfiction?

I tried to write a list of the ten best. The ten most influential. The ten I've read most recently. The ten I wouldn't leave home without.

What it ended up being is a list of nonfiction works that I thought were powerful enough to have given copies to my friends. (You have to buy your own, sorry.) Almost all of them reflect my faith.

Bible. The ultimate story about God and the checkered past of those who call him their God.

Mister God, This is Anna by Fynne. The poignant tale of the life of a homeless girl who learns big lessons about God and teaches a teenage boy bigger ones. I learned a lot about God from it.

Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. This is a book about spiritual disciplines: study, prayer, fasting, meditation, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance, celebration. I read this book when I was working with an immigrant church in Switzerland. I bought copies for my missionary friends. I gave my fiance a copy. We gave out copies as gifts to our wedding attendants. My husband taught it in a church start-up. I haven't learned it all, by any means, but it is a great book.

Character and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. Since I am a writer (not published at this time) this book has meant a lot to me. It's well-written, informative, and has tons of good stuff in it. I haven't given any copies of this away but have recommended it to many people who want to write.

George Mueller by Bonnie Harvey in the Heroes of the Faith series. This is a biography of a man who accomplished great acts of Christian service, including running orphanages, without soliciting money from anyone but God. It gives new meaning to prayer and faith for me every time I read it. (I don't remember if this is the bio I gave friends, but it is the best of the George Mueller bios that I still have.)

God's Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis. This is another one of those books I gave away a lot. It is about the discipline of fasting.

Sabbath Time by Tilden Edwards. This is a more contemplative book on the concept of rest, which I first learned about in Mister God, This is Anna. It is not exactly a scholarly book, but there are many references included for each chapter. I keep quotes from this book in my commonplace book. (Early American style journal in which you keep great quotes.)

Surprised by the Power of the Spirit by Jack Deere. It's about how God speaks and heals today or, as they would say in my tradition, “is living and active.”

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. It's a wonderful book about one of the early leaders of our country and the forces which he saw shaping his life. He was a man dedicated to self-improvement and is, therefore, probably the first American self-help guide. He is also a good storyteller.

Steps into the Mission Field. This is a book from ACU Press, put together by the Sao Paulo Brazil mission team decades ago, about how they got together and ended up in the mission field. It is an interesting book on group dynamics and focuses on group missions, a concept which I think would improve the abilities of missionaries.

A cool book for another perspective on great Christian literature is 100 Christian Books that Changed the Century by Wm J Petersen and Randy Petersen. I'll talk about that more later.