2021's Top Three Books

Believe it or not, it's that time of year again!  All you bibliophiles/list-lovers know exactly what I'm talking about.  

For how do you begin to whittle a year's worth of reading down to the bare bones?

Content that causes you to raise your eyebrows and shake your head.  Yet invites you to bravely ponder.  Carefully consider.  Say 'ouch.'  Freely reject.  Tentatively embrace.  Pray over.  Honestly wrestle with.

Start off with eight favorites.  Add four more to make twelve.  Slowly whittle it down to six.  Take a deep breath and go for the final cut.

Right off the top, I'll tell you that the first two titles are downright controversial.  Don't be afraid!  You probably won't agree with every or even any observation.  But, boy, these page turners made me think, weigh my beliefs, and cause me yet again to reach for THE BOOK and THE AUTHOR to bring renewed clarity and perspective to my biblical worldview on church and gender, politics, culture.

And the third book will most likely stir all kinds of emotions, and help you better understand why this author is one of the most beloved Christian writers of our time.  You won't put it down, except maybe to catch your breath.  Or grab a few tissues.  

Maybe once every year or two, I'll ask my husband to read something that's really hit home.  I handed him Philip Yancey's story last week.  

I highly recommend these fascinating, provocative reads, but don't get too comfortable, friends.  They'll shake you up, that I promise you, and push you straight out of your comfort zone.  Blanketing your reading in prayer would be my encouragement to you.

Beth Allison Barr, PhD 
'Biblical womanhood ... pervades North American Christianity.  From choices about careers to roles in local churches to relationship dynamics, this belief shapes the everyday lives of evangelical women.  Yet biblical womanhood isn't biblical, says Baylor University historian Beth Allison Barr.  It arose from a series of clearly definable historical moments.

This book moves the conversation about biblical womanhood beyond Greek grammar and into the realm of church history--ancient, medieval, and modern--to show that this belief is not divinely ordained but a product of human civilization that continues to creep into the church.

Interweaving her story as a Baptist pastor's wife, Barr sheds light on the #ChurchToo movement and abuse scandals in Southern Baptist circles and the broader evangelical world, helping readers understand why biblical womanhood is more about human power structures than the message of Christ.'
BUY Paperback - $16.24
BUY Kindle -  $9.99

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation
Kristin Kobes DuMez, PhD
'A sweeping, revisionist history of the last seventy-five years of white evangelicalism, revealing how evangelicals have worked to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism ...

As acclaimed scholar Kristin Du Mez explains, the key to understanding this transformation is to recognize the centrality of popular culture in contemporary American evangelicalism ... books, films, music, clothing, and merchandise shape the beliefs of millions.  And evangelical culture is teeming with muscular heroes ... who assert white masculine power in defense of “Christian America.” 

Challenging the commonly held assumption that the “moral majority” backed Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 for purely pragmatic reasons, Du Mez reveals that Trump in fact represented the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values.' 

BUY Paperback - $12.93
BUY Kindle - $11.49

Where the Light Fell: A Memoir
Philip Yancey
'Raised by an impoverished widow who earned room and board as a Bible teacher in 1950s Atlanta, Philip Yancey and his brother, Marshall, found ways to venture out beyond the confines of their eight-foot-wide trailer.  But when Yancey was in college, he uncovered a shocking secret about his father’s death—a secret that began to illuminate the motivations that drove his mother to extreme, often hostile religious convictions ...

Yancey dives into his family origins, taking us on an evocative journey from the backwoods of the Bible Belt to the bustling streets of Philadelphia; from trailer parks to church sanctuaries; from family oddballs to fire-and-brimstone preachers and childhood awakenings through nature, music, and literature.  In time, the weight of religious and family pressure sent both sons on opposite paths—one toward healing from the impact of what he calls a “toxic faith,” the other into a self-destructive spiral.

In piecing together his fragmented personal history and his search for redemption, Yancey gives testament to the enduring power of our hunger for truth and the possibility of faith rooted in grace instead of fear ... "I truly believe this is the one book I was put on earth to write,” says Yancey. “So many of the strands from my childhood—racial hostility, political division, culture wars—have resurfaced in modern form. Looking back points me forward.”'
BUY Hardcover - $24.99
BUY Kindle - $13.99

I'd love to hear all about your favorite books of 2021 ... be sure to include a link to your review!

*   Please note that these book reviews are quoted from Amazon.  As an Amazon Associate, I may receive a financial benefit when you make a purchase using the links on this site at no extra cost to you.  Thanks for supporting my work and keeping my online home ad free.  

*   Merry Christmas and thanks for hosting in 2021 - RichellaLisa, and Jeanne / Lisa J.