5 Books Week: Day 1

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Stealing an idea from Sarah Bessey this week, I've decided to do a modified theme week of "5 Books A Day." Of course, a few of her categories - parenting books, for example - that don't apply to me, so I'm adjusting the categories a little. They are as follows:

Monday: 5 Books that Changed My Faith

Tuesday: 5 Books by Women that the World Should Read

Wednesday: 5 Books for Young Adults

Thursday: 5 Books I Read Over and Over

Friday: 5 Books that were Required Reading and Are Still on my Bookshelf

Saturday: 5 Books I Hope to Read within the Next Year

Feel free to follow along with the project that Sarah Bessey is doing and here on my blog. Today, I'm doing the 5 Books that Changed My Faith. These books are listed in no particular order.

5. The Purity Myth - Jessica Valenti.

Valenti's work on critiquing the purity movement in the US has been integral to my development as a woman of faith. It has affected how I look at myself and other women around me and was a turning point in my feminist career. I became much more vocal and much more vehement about protecting women from values that cause them to look at their bodies and themselves as objects.

4. Body Piercing Saved My Life - Andrew Beaujon

Beaujon's work on critiquing another aspect of Christian culture - this time, the music industry - was important to my understanding of how Christianity in America is heavily intertwined with business and capitalism. The fact that the bottom line is all that matters in most areas of the Christian industry - bottom line over heart of faith or even theological truth! -  is intensely saddening and discomfiting. It was the beginning of my questioning Christianity as an American institution.

3. Mere Christianity - CS Lewis.

This book was the start of me looking at Christianity from a philosophical perspective as opposed to a "read your Bible and do what it says" perspective. Problematic though CS Lewis was, and though I've had to unlearn a few things from him, it's undeniable that reading Lewis when I did - as an 18 year old college freshman unsure of where and what she was called to in life - changed my life for the better.

2. The Great Divorce - Lewis.

Like Mere Christianity, this book still influences my views of heaven and hell and how one could or can move between the two. Lewis liked to imagine hell as basically eternal bureaucracy (thus The Screwtape Letters), and it's fitting that one should take away the idea of hell as existing in the mind from this particular work (as Milton put forth in Paradise Lost).

1. Blankets - Craig Thompson.

I read all of Blankets in an afternoon. 3 hours. It is profound, beautiful, and moving. I don't know that I can impact how this book affected me, because it's only been a year (almost precisely) since I first read it, and its examination of faith and evangelical America have stuck with me for years and years. I still can't quite figure out how it changed me - I'm still sussing that out.

There you have it - the first list of the week. Feel free to join in