Reading Guides, Volume 9

How do we live faithfully as God’s People? [Transformative Reading]

101-TransformativeBooks - MEDIUMAs a companion to his new book Reading for the Common Good, ERB editor Chris Smith has also published a companion ebook, 101 Transformative Books for Churches to Read & Discuss (which is available for FREE for those who subscribe to our email digest).  This companion ebook organizes its book recommendations into 12 questions. Over the next month or so, we will be featuring each one of these questions, and listing the recommended books (without annotations, you will have to get the ebook to read those), as well as some more recent books on this question that are worth discussing.


Previous Questions:    [ One


Question #2:
How do we live faithfully as the people of God?

A careful reading of scripture will reveal that the people of God – first ancient Israel and then the church grafted onto the tree of Israel (Rom. 11) – are at the very heart of the reconciling work that God is doing in the world. Given this conviction, what does it mean for us to live faithfully together as God’s people? How have churches in past eras understood this calling and structured their lives together in order to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit and bear witness to the love and reconciliation of Jesus? Amidst the prevailing individualism of our day, these books will help stir our imaginations about what it might mean to share life together as the community of God’s people in the twenty-first century.


Classics listed in the ebook:
(With links to FREE ebook editions)


14) Writings on the Church – Cyprian


15) Evolution of the Monastic Ideal – Herbert Workman


16) The Rule of St. Benedict


17) God’s Revolution: Justice, Community & the Coming Kingdom –Eberhard Arnold


18) Why We Live in Community – Eberhard Arnold


More recent books on this question
for churches to read and discuss…

  1. [easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0814659284″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”107″] [easyazon_link identifier=”0814659284″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Does God Need the Church?: Toward a Theology of the People of God (Michael Glazier Books)[/easyazon_link]
    Gerhard Lohfink

  3. [easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0800618025″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”104″][easyazon_link identifier=”0800618025″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Jesus and Community[/easyazon_link]
    Gerhard Lohfink

  5. [easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0830841148″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”107″][easyazon_link identifier=”0830841148″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus[/easyazon_link]
    John Pattison and Chris Smith

  7. [easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0802849857″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”107″][easyazon_link identifier=”0802849857″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Living into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us[/easyazon_link]
    Christine Pohl

  9. [easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0060608528″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”105″][easyazon_link identifier=”0060608528″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian in Community[/easyazon_link]
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  11. [easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”081461874X” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”106″][easyazon_link identifier=”081461874X” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Around The Monastic Table: Growing in Mutual Service and Love[/easyazon_link]
    Aquinata Bockmann

  13. [easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0836191609″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”104″][easyazon_link identifier=”0836191609″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Body Politics: Five Practices of the Christian Community Before the Watching World[/easyazon_link]
    John Howard Yoder

  15. [easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0310277671″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”107″][easyazon_link identifier=”0310277671″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together[/easyazon_link]
    Scot McKnight

What books related to this question would you add to this list?


C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

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Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior

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