Conversations, VOLUME 4

Discussion: What is the best book of 2011?

As we are assembling the next issue of our print edition (Advent 2011), we have been reflecting on the best books of the year.

We have some ideas based on the books we’ve read and reviewed this year, but we’d love to get your input.

Using the comments below, tell us what the best book is that you’ve read this year (preferably a book published this year, but we’d love to hear from you regardless) and just as importantly, WHY you loved that book.

If you need to jog your memory, some of our reviewers and readers have already weighed in our Facebook poll, do check out what they’re saying and place a vote there…

Reading for the Common Good
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  1. Best book by far is Lee C. Camp’s ‘Who Is My Enemy?’ (Brazos, 2011). This book is important on the one hand because it advocates what Miroslav Volf calls “double vision”—or, to use St. Francis’ categories, the practice of seeking first to understand, not to be understood—when speaking about and living with our Muslim neighbors. On the other hand, this book is also important because it provides an honest look at the history of Christian warmaking and peacemaking and asks Cavanaugh-type questions of the nation-state’s claim to total allegiance. All the while, Camp affirms the lordship of Christ and the kenotic love to which Christians are called through Christ’s cross. The book is extremely accessible and extremely timely. A must read. 

  2. Mike Budde’s Borders of Baptism is a theologically-driven conversation about personal and corporate identity — and the implications this has for ethics. There are other narratives that we inhabit, fronting national boundaries or race or family or mammon, but Budde believes that baptism must redefine those in substantive ways that have consequences for social solidarities. Protestants and Roman Catholics alike face challenges about what our rituals mean, how churches (not just pastors/priests) live into catechesis and formation, and why church identity needs to redefine all other allegiances.