I am not a natural blogger like some people who hear or read something and immediately make a post. So let me begin more obviously by writing about the books and authors that have been influential in developing my theology. Of course this will also reveal my theological biases and interests as well!
Politcs of Jesus by John Howard Yoder. I picked up this book in the late 70’s; I think when I was at Bible college but I don’t remember really understanding it very deeply at the time. I read it again in the 80’s while in seminary and it became a shaper of my Anabaptist theology in the midst of an ecumenical context. However, it was in 2001 after 9/11 that it took on new power for me and for many other readers and writers who are quoting him and restating his theology in simpler but less eloquent terms. In many ways he was ahead of his time in the 1960’s and 70’s when he was writing. It deserves to be #3 in Christianity Today’s books of the century.
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I first read this in university in 1982 and it was transforming! I continue to use it as a text in a first year spiritual formation course. His other books have also been challenging. And he has a pony-tail now!
James Fowler and his Stages of Faith was very influential in the midst of youth ministry and preparing to teach my first class at Providence College. His theory and writings were the subject of my S.T.M. in 1997. I still think his theory has great significance for helping us understand the intersection between human development and spiritual formation.
Answering God by Eugene Peterson helped me to love the Psalms and to appreciate poetry. I like most of Peterson’s earlier writings. I don’t particularly like The Message.
The Godbearing Life by Kenda Creasy Dean and Ron Foster. This book is the best youth ministry book ever and it helped shape my ministry. It is so different from the usual YM book. Amazing turns of phrase!
Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann and other books he has written about the OT have helped me to understand and articulate theological themes in the OT. He has a way with words that I love to read.
A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren. I remember when I bought this book. It was while browsing at a Chapters where I didn’t expect to find a book of this nature. I had never heard of him before but the book looked intriguing. It really launched me into a new, more postmodern way of thinking about theology.
How (Not) to Speak of God by Peter Rollins. Speaking of postmodern, I’m still recovering from reading this one.
The two most influential professors I’ve had [who also write] have been Brian Walsh [Truth is Stranger than it Used to Be] and Doug Webster [The Passion of Christ]. Walsh pretty much articulates my Christian worldview for me in the aforementioned book as well as in Colossians Remixed. I most remember Doug Webster for his line “doing theology.”
Others that get an honorable mention: Henri Nouwen [all his books], J. Denny Weaver, Ted Grimsrud, Stuart Murray, Tom Sine, Marva Dawn, Joyce Rupp… I proabably forgot some.
New authors I’ve just begun to read and like: Tripp York, Greg Boyd
And my favorite poets and song writers: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, TS Eliot, Bruce Cockburn, Mark Heard, Lennon & McCartney, Derek Webb and the voice of Johnny Cash.
Those most notably left out: NT Wright and John Piper, Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll.