Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography By: John Dominic Crossan
Jesus Freaks By: dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs The Joshua Series By: Fr. Joseph F. Girzone
The Chronicles of Narnia By: C.S. Lewis Hugs from Heaven, Embraced by the Savior By: Caron Loveless
And the Angels Were Silent: The
Final Weeks of Jesus By: Max Lucado
By: Calvin Miller
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal By: Christopher Moore
Eli By: Bill Myers The Master: A Life of Jesus By: John Pollock
I Never Knew By: Philip Yancey
By: Bill Myers
I picked this up because the plot line intrigued me. Conrad is a reporter doing a story on alternate timelines. On his way to meet with a scientist he gets in a horrible car crash and finds himself back in the 1960s. A group of hippies take him in and tell him about strange visitors they received who told them to go to a hotel laundry room. When they get there Conrad finds a young woman who has just given birth to a son, Eli Shepherd. The story then bounces back and forth between this timeline where Conrad fights for his life to this alternate world where the name Jesus brings no recollection but where Eli multiplies hamburgers and French-fries to feed thousands and bridges the gap between justice and mercy one horrific and wonderful night. The modern setting gives you an idea of what Jesus must have seemed like to the people of his time. Every shock, every horror, every amazement. While both the author and I agree it's no replacement for the Real Story it made me see things from a whole new light.
THE MASTER: A LIFE OF JESUS
By: John Pollock
This book is basically the Gospels in a modern novel form. The story is told through the eyes of the disciple John. I really enjoyed this book. The author recounts the healings and teachings as if he were actually there, describing Jesus' facial expressions, the scenery, and the crowds. It is truly moving to follow John's journey with Jesus from the day he first met him to Good Friday and beyond. A warning though, the author describes the crucifixion and preceding torture vividly, contrasting the softened images other books and movies often give us. Very inspiring and well researched.
AND THE ANGELS WERE SILENT:
THE FINAL WEEK OF JESUS
By: Max Lucado
This is not, like the previous book, so much of a retelling of that famous week. It is more the author's interpretation of what was going on behind-the-scenes and in people's minds. Like did you ever wonder what in the world the man whose donkey Jesus rode on Palm Sunday thought when told the Master needed it? Or what exactly Jesus was doing on those days the Bible overlooked? Well, there are chapters on both those questions in this book! What I really liked about it was Lucado uses everyday metaphorical stories to get points across. It is really a very interesting read not only for the obvious Jesus-themed material but also the Chicken Soup type stories included. This is the first book by this author I've read and look forward to reading more!
By: dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs
This book is both inspiring and heart breaking. On the pages of this book are the stories of over a hundred martyred members of the Christian Church. These are not only the disciples who knew Jesus or people who lived long ago. Many of these people lived with in my own lifetime. In fact, the book opens with this frightening statistic; "There are more Christian martyrs today than there were in 100 AD- in the days of the Roman Empire. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there were close to 156,000 Christians martyred around the world in 1998." The book is concerned mostly with those who gave their lives for their beliefs but also included are those who continue to hold onto their beliefs despite hardships. Ways to help the situation are also given. For more information visit: www.persecution.com.
JESUS: A REVOLUTIONARY BIOGRAPHY
By: John Dominic Crossan
I need to preface this by explaining that for the most part when it comes to the Bible, especially the Gospels, I am a literalist. This means if it says Jesus had twelve apostles following him around well then I believe he did! And the author doesn't, necessarily... But, actually, for a literalist reading a contextualist's book it was interesting and even educational. First, some examples of what I mean. Crossan believes rather than Jesus naming the 12, later Christian groups came up with the idea and added it to the story to represent the Twelve Tribes of Israel. My thought is if a few leaders can come up with such an appropriate idea then the Creator of the universe probably can, too. :-) There's also the talk of whether Jesus' healings were truly physical or more societal and whether the appearances on Easter Sunday actually happened in a day or perhaps years, instead. It was all very interesting and new but sometimes confusing. It does have a very good amount of research from other historical documents regarding the "supporting players" of the story, like Pilate and Barabbas. Crossan also makes some very good points about faith. I'd suggest reading this if for no other reason than to get people to think about what *they* believe.
THE JESUS I NEVER KNEW
By: Philip Yancey
I think this, along with Eli is my favorite among these books. This is much like Crossan's book in that it examines the historical Jesus but from a much more literalist point of view. I'm not saying that makes it better, I'm not a professional critic obviously, that just made it more understandable for me. Plus, Yancey talks a lot about how the movies depict Jesus, which is one of my favorite things to discuss. Anyway, he's got a lot of really good examples of incidents from his own life that gave him insights into Jesus' teachings. He really explains what possible other levels Jesus might have been trying to express in his parables and actions. I plan on rereading this because there is more I want to say but I want to check and make sure I get it right!
HUGS FROM HEAVEN, EMBRACED BY THE SAVIOR
By: Caron Loveless
This is a book of short stories inspired by Biblical accounts from the life of Jesus. This time the stories are told from the perspective of those He healed. The leper tells of his recovery and the mother tells of watching her beloved Son be crucified. A great book to read when you need a little cheering up or if you just like thinking about things from a different point of view.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA
By: C.S. Lewis
Okay, I'm of the opinion the less you know about these going in the better so I'm not saying much. Most people I know have read "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" but you have to read the entire series! Most people know about the Christian level of this story because of LWW but it gets even better later in the series. This is my current favorite book on this list and the last "favorite" I'm naming since I've now named 3 different books my "favorite". :-) Enjoy!
THE JOSHUA SERIES
By: Fr. Joseph F. Girzone
Okay, I told myself I'd stop saying everything was my favorite. But this series was really good! As of the time of this writing, there are seven books in the series. All are about a mysterious man who shows up in towns all over the world, from NYC to Jerusalem to Vatican City, changing the lives of everyone he comes in contact with. Wherever he goes he is both shunned and adored, persecuted and protected. While some marvel at his miracles, others are amazed at his ability to remember events spanning thousands of years. It was extremely enjoyable reading these books and trying to figure out the mystery of Joshua, the healer, the carpenter, and the friend.
By: Calvin Miller
By: Christopher Moore