Christian Classics (my list)

Everybody has their own list, so why not?

  • The Beauty of the Infinite, by David Bentley Hart

I lack the vocabulary to do justice to this magnificent work. See the many quotes from the book on this site…here, for example.

  • The Ethics of Freedom, by Jacques Ellul
  • New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton
  • No Man Is An Island, by Thomas Merton
  • Tears of the Blind Lions and Man In A Divided Sea, by Thomas Merton

The poems he wrote while immersed in the scriptural and liturgical world of Gethsemani Abbey, before he got interested in being relevant again.

  • Iconostasis, by Pavel Florensky
  • The Aesthetic Face of Being: Art in the Theology of Pavel Florensky, by Victor Bychkov

Not many books about somebody else’s work attain to such high status. In this category are also Dorothy Sayers’ “Introductory Lectures on Dante”, C.S. Lewis’ Preface to Paradise Lost” and the little known “The theology of romantic love: A study of the writings of Charles Williams” by Mary Shideler.

  • The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, by Vladimir Lossky
  • Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Creation and Fall, Temptation, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Everybody knows Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship”, but these little books are at least as good. Bonhoeffer’s pages in Life Together on “The Day Alone” and “The Day With Others” are a classic treatment of the place and need of strong individuals in a cenobitic community.

  • The Descent of the Dove, by Charles Williams
  • The Figure of Beatrice, by Charles Williams

  • Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry, by Owen Barfield

Not sure you can call Barfield a Christian, but he’s such a great Platonist we can use him anyway.

  • The Ministry of God’s Word, by Watchman Nee

In the matter of teaching and preaching Scripture, in a category all by itself. Nobody else understands what Nee understands. He has critics, most of whom just hate anybody who experiences anything in the spiritual life.

  • The Spiritual Man, by Watchman Nee
  • The Release of the Spirit, by Watchman Nee

There may not be 100 people in America who understand these books. How much I flatter myself in that, I’ll let you decide.

  • The Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art, by Ananda Coomeraswamy

Also not a Christian, but we are going to steal everything we can use, like Rome stole the Unconquerable Sun. See also his “The Transformation of Nature in Art.”

  • Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages, by Umberto Eco
  • How People Change. Wheelis, A. (1973), New York: Perennial Library/Harper & Row.

“Something of an underground classic within the clinical psychological and counseling disciplines, this short book of nine essays by psychotherapist Allen Wheelis explores questions of freedom, necessity, and change for patients and others. He tells several extremely compelling stories of his own experiences with his father and points to the centrality of “meaning” in therapeutic processes which lead to real character transformation.” (quote from here)

  • The Politics of Jesus, by John Howard Yoder