10 Books that have most influenced me and who I am today:
1. Rob Bell - Velvet Elvis - Hands down the largest influence on my theology and on the way I look at life. This book was a light to me in a dark time of frustration, anger, bitterness, and when I felt that the Christian tradition I had grown up with had abandoned me because of who I am. Had I not read this book with the timing I had, I would have renounced my faith and spent years running from something very important to me. A Godsend.
2. Friedrich Nietzsche - The Gay Science - Nietzsche's "God is Dead" paradigm is nothing short of Revolutionary, not to mention offensive to those who don't understand it, and even to some who do. Regardless, everyone knows something is wrong, and that's what this work is about, though it is one of the few of Nietzsche's books to not make a solid argument. I do my Philosophy the way this book is written: playing at an argument rather than making one.
3. Brian D. McLaren - More Ready Than You Realize - Showed me a different side of the dirty word "Evangelism." Made me realize that I didn't have to be obnoxious in order to tell people what I believe, and that evangelism hasn't always been what it is today, and doesn't have to be yelling on street-corners, turn or burn, or being obnoxiously relevant and condescending to those not in a social group.
4. Friedrich Nietzsche - The Antichrist - A searing critique of Christianity that remains relevant today, due to it being years ahead of its' time. Called me out and made me rethink a lot of things, including my commitment (or lack thereof) to Truth at any cost.
5. Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil - "Suppose truth is a woman - what then?" I recommend this to everyone that wants to read Nietzsche, because I find it to be his easiest read and the most relevant to what he's about. A redefinition of morality altogether, and forced me to rethink my own moral compass.
6. Bruce Ellis Benson - Graven Ideologies - All about Nietzsche, Derrida and Marion on the concept of idolatry. Made me realize my own idols (which I still have) and what an idol really is. Whether you're committed to a religious text as Absolute Truth or feel you cannot live without something, give this book a read for a bit of a shake-up.
7. Rob Bell - Love Wins - This may actually belong up at #2, but I'm still turning the concepts in it over in my head. However, it was such an affirmation of my own eschatology and soteriology and so terrifyingly freeing at the same time that I have to say it made me rethink my beliefs anyway. For more on this, go to almost any Pastor's blog, or read my post below this one, and then read the book.
8. Brennan Manning - The Ragamuffin Gospel - A book about the Furious Love of God. Brought me to tears at least once, and I never even finished it. If you know anything about my theology, you know it is Love-central, and this book is one of the reasons why.
9. Rob Bell - SexGod - I have read this book twice and all of it still hasn't sunk in for me. Most of the reasons this book has been an influence on me are too personal to post here, but its' portrayal of God and Humanity is beautiful. God does not run out of balloons. Everyone should read this book.
10. John MacArthur - The Truth War - I read the first 2 pages of this book in a bookstore and nearly started crying. If you want to know the reason I almost left my faith, give this book a cursory glance. Horrifying, and I do everything I can to not be this way. I am sure MacArthur has good intentions, but that cannot excuse the Ad Hominem and highly offensive language that give away that he is personally offended by something and wrote a book about it.