A little while ago (longer than I care to admit) the nice librarian at our church asked me if I would kindly provide her with a list of what I considered to be my own "Top 10" Christian books (excluding the Bible of course). What she was asking for was a list of the 10 books which have most influenced me as a Christian and which, by extension, I would probably recommend to others.
Her intention was to ask several people and create a "Top 10" shelf in our church library with books that several people consider to be "highly recommended." I thought it was a great idea.
But as I pondered her request, my thoughts started getting tangled like a string of hastily stored Christmas lights. Maybe I'm overthinking it. But here is what I'm struggling with:
1) How do I know which books have actually influenced me the most? The ones I THINK have been most helpful might not in fact be the ones that have really been most useful to my progress (or lack thereof) as a Christian. It's like asking "Which 10 meals in your life most nourished you?" I haven't got a clue. But I'm pretty sure that some which I enjoyed the most weren't necessarily the healthiest.
2) But secondly, and even maybe more importantly, is the issue of pride. When providing a list of my top 10 books, how do I avoid the temptation to merely list books which I think I "should" consider to be favorites. Maybe that sounds weird. But readers are a funny lot. And we, to our shame, often make rash judgments about others based upon what they have read or are reading. It's wrong. I'm not proud of it. I'm just giving you the truth.