More books for the curious and brave lay person from the “theologically” inclined

Edit: If you, the reader, have any suggestions for something fairly theological, but still half way accessible, by all means leave your suggestions.

I wrote a book list for a friend of mine awhile back. It turns out that he wants a little more theology and that Cavanaugh’s Theopolitical Imagination is really giving him a lot to chew on. The argument is simple, but the implications are vast.

Anyways, I figured if one was curious and willing enough to brave some theological language, I recommend these following books for those who’s world has been turned upside down by Cavanaugh. The thing is, while his book tears down one’s relationship to the world, it doesn’t build up much of an idea of the church beyond the metaphor about the body of Christ, hence some of the books I’m recommending to now begin the constructive task of imagining what Christianity should look like.

Torture and Eucharist. This is if you really want to give Cavanaugh a shot, and I think you would if Theopolitical Imagination really did do a number on you. Cavanaugh spends more time in Torture and Eucharist on the church, mainly because the book is bigger, still its good times. And it’ll keep you busy; its not so much harder to read, just bigger.

If you want something to screw your head around farther than you thought it could go, try Jürgen Moltmann’s Theology of Hope and The Crucified God. He writes… well, there is a specific name for it, but its basically a flow of thought style. He is repeats himself in a spiral like way, reviewing and expounding on points multiple times. The language might be a stretch but if you can work up to it, it’ll blow your mind. Certainly he isn’t perfect, or even the best to voice what he does, but its still, importantly, rather accessible. It’ll give you the future back instead of leaving it all to those dispensationalists with the left behind series. Moltmann will realign how the church should orient itself with a Christological dialectic – a suffering Christ and hopeful, resurrected Christ. Welcome towards moving to a real eschatology, just don’t stop with Moltmann.

Griffith on Terror will continue to work with Cavanaugh on how messed up the nation-state is.

God is Not will also continue that sort of thing, but cover more topics than just nationalism and so you’ll see more implications of what it means to be about the church.

Hauerwas’ A Community of Character will help one envision what relationships in the church ought to look like.

Bonhoeffer’s Ethics, while unfinished will just keep the themes already established moving.

Those books are quite a bit bigger than the stuff I previously recommended. Also some are more language intense, but they’re all worth it. I also have a bit of a solution for the harder books to follow, theological dictionaries: Essential Theological Terms, Handbook of Theological Terms, and Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms all work fairly well. Choose your poison, or drink from each one if you want. I own all three and they helped a great deal when I “started.”


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