Top Reads of 2021

Having traveled to the UK for the holidays to visit my wife’s family, I am a little late with my annual post of the top books I read for the year. Still, her is my 13th annual posting of my top reads for the year. The list is in no particular order.

Live No Lies by John Mark Comer. The underlining thesis of the book is spiritual formation. However, Comer engages this important topic by offering how to properly recognize and resist the three enemies of the soul – the world, the flesh, and the devil. I know. Sounds fundamentalist, doesn’t it? Yet, Comer addresses these three enemies within a fresh framework. Here is my review of the book.

Now and Then by Frederick Buechner. I’ve read plenty of Buechner references and quotes over the years. And, so, one day upon browsing in a used book store, I came across one of his memoirs (he has another titled The Sacred Journey) and decided to purchase it the worn paperback. I truly enjoyed reading about his call to teach religious studies and write fiction. The more I have advanced through life, the more I realize the beauty of reading other people’s stories.

Faithful Presence by David Fitch. I read this book with a cohort at my church. It is by far one of the best books I read about engaging in mission in our western world in the 21st century. Fitch offers seven specific practices that will help the [local] church better engage in mission. Our cohort is now going to be re-reading the book with our wives.

Spiritual Direction 101 by Teresa Blythe. With my work with Kardia, a counseling and coaching center, I have continued to study the practice of spiritual direction. This book offers a solid understanding about serving others in this most sacred vocation.

Starting Spiritual Direction by John Mabry. As to my work above, I read this one as well. It is much more introductory and is written more for those looking to begin meeting with a spiritual director, rather than providing such direction to others.

What Christians Ought to Believe by Michael Bird. Over the past years, I’ve become more and more appreciative of church creeds, liturgy, the church calendar, and the lectionary. With the cohort at my church, we read this book together, which offers an introduction to systematic theology, but through the lens of the Apostle’s Creed.

Practical Theology and Qualitative Research by John Swinton and Harriet Mowat. How could one list a book on research? Well, someone who is involved in PhD research. This was by far one of the better books on the research I am involved in with my studies in practical theology (spiritual formation + mission).

The Judge’s List by John Grisham. If I’ve mentioned it once, I’ve probably done so a hundred times. I enjoy Grisham’s works. This was his newest in 2021. It is a follow-up to a previous book from 2016, The Whistler, particularly following the story of Lacy Stoltz.

The Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling. Just in time for the holidays, Rowling released her newest work of fiction. It covers the story of a young boy, Jack, and a stuffed animal known as the Christmas Pig (CP). They have gone to the Land of the Lost to rescue Jack’s favorite stuffed animal, Dur Pig (DP). I suppose you’ll need to wait until next autumn to start reading this one.

The Goblet of Fire illustrated by J.K. Rowling. I continued reading the illustrated versions of the Harry Potter series. I love the stories, as I love fantasy fiction. I now await the release of book number 5, The Order of the Phoenix. My hope is that it releases leading up to Christmas 2022.

There you go. My list of top reads for 2021. If interested, below are the links to my top reads from the previous twelve years.


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