It is December 28 and, unless I get the chance to speed through one of the four books I am reading right now, this will be my list of books I read in 2020.
As I read through this list I realized just how hard of a year it has been, my book choices reflecting my hunger. This past year I did not read for fun. I read to understand. With the exception of a handful, the following books were chosen in my attempt to make sense of my own experience and the world around me.
In some books I found validation, in others healing. During a year of so much loss, including the loss of a dear community, I found within these books comfort that what I had experienced was indeed a thing and that I was not alone. I found confirmation that my concerns had been valid. I found words to help other people make sense of their own experiences. I found hope for a healthier culture out there. Somewhere.
My plan is for my 2021 reading to be considerably less heavy. And yet I don't regret immersing myself into this incredible collection of books.
-Broken Trust: A Practical Guide to Identify and Recover From Toxic Faith, Toxic Church, and Spiritual Abuse by F. Remy Diederich
-Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating Healthy Christian Cultures by Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphreys
-Courage, Dear Heart: Letters to a Weary World by Rebecca K. Reynolds
-Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk, and True Flourishing by Andy Crouch
-When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community From Emotional and Spiritual Abuse by Chuck DeGroat
-Images of America: Swannanoa by Anne E. Chesky Smith
-The Sacred Journey: A Memoir of Early Days by Frederick Buechner
-The Seasons of Life by Paul Tournier
-Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
-Post Traumatic Church Syndrome: One Woman’s Desperate, Funny, and Healing Journey to Explore 30 Religions by Her 30th Birthday by Reba Riley
-The Confident House Hunter: A Home Inspector’s Tips for Finding Your Perfect House by Dylan Chalk
-Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving
-The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby
-This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers by K.J. Ramsey
-Born With Teeth: A Memoir by Kate Mulgrew
Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristen Kobes DuMez
-Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After a Hurtful Church Experience by Carol Howard Merritt
-When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions by Sue Monk Kidd
-A Brave Lament: For Those Who Know Death by Andrew Bauman and Christy Bauman
-Narcissism in the Church: A Heart of Stone in Christian Relationships by David C. Orrison PhD
-In the House of Friends: Understanding and Healing from Spiritual Abuse in Christian Churches by Kennett J. Garrett
-Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church by Diane Langberg
-A Church Called Tov: Forming a Goodness Culture That Resists Abuses of Power and Promotes Healing by Scot McNight and Laura Barringer
-Something’s Not Right: Decoding the Hidden Tactics of Abuse--and Freeing Yourself from Its Power by Wade Mullen
-Stumbling Toward Wholeness: How the Love of God Changes Us by Andrew J. Bauman
-The Great Belonging: How Loneliness Leads Us to Each Other by Charlotte Donlon