Brian McLaren's Christmas picks

November 30, 2015

Diana Butler Bass’s new book Grounded (HarperCollins) is at the top of my 2015 gift list. Beautifully written and spiritually enriching, it makes a proposal that resonates from the Paul Tillich shelf in the seminary library to the Discovery Channel on cable TV. For anyone who’s read or will read Grounded, two other gifts would be ideal. Both are apps. The iBird Pro Guide to Birds (Mitch Waite Group) is brilliantly arranged and usable for experienced birders and people who can barely tell a robin from a sparrow. Sky Guide (Fifth Star Labs) does for the stars and planets what iBird Pro does for the birds. Day and night, these apps give you a reason to look up. For theology nerds who aren’t afraid to raise their theological roofs and knock out a wall or two, Peter Rollins’s The Divine Magician will shake things up (Howard Books). For Protestants who need a dose of avant-garde Catholicism, Ilia Delio’s The Unbearable Wholeness of Being (Orbis) is delightful and rewarding. This year we lost two cherished theological guides, Marcus Borg and Phyllis Tickle. One of their latest books—Borg’s Convictions (HarperCollins) or Tickle’s Essential Spiritual Writings (Orbis)—would be a perfect gift. This year I was in Ireland and had the chance to hear Pádraig Ó Tuama read some of his poetry. His newest collection, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World (Hodder and Stoughton), is so rich it will make you want to go back and read Sorry for Your Troubles (Canterbury Press). Of all the great music I enjoyed this year, I was especially impressed with EastLake Music’s A Million Miles (available on its website). The CD represents a new generation of worship music, both lyrically and musically, as does, from New Zealand, Edge Kingsland’s 7 Days (available for download only).