Ditching empty false hope and living in authentic hope is not easy. We find it through doubt. We live it through personal growth. We have to push beyond our comfort zones, and encounter something more than what we already have. The recommended books, movies, websites, and movements you will find here are designed to help you do that.
Discovering more is always an adventure, and adventures are never easy. However, when you choose discovery over complacency your life always gets better. Ready to jump in? To make things easier and to give an opportunity to support Real Hope Rising, you can click any of the mentioned items and buy them directly off of amazon.*
1. The Bible, especially the gospels, but only if you read it to feel it, not just to learn “theology.” Some versions I enjoy are The Green Bible, The Message Study Bible: Capturing the Notes and Reflections of Eugene H. Peterson, and The Amplified Study Bible, Hardcover. Any Bible you enjoy will certainly do though.
2. The Great Code: The Bible and Literature. Challenging read, don’t feel bad if there are things that go over your head (plenty of it I still don’t understand, some of it I think is plain wrong) but this book will revolutionize how you see the Bible, and how big your God is. It opens up new layers of beauty in the Biblical narrative, and shows how the Bible is really the foundation of all story and literature.
3. God without Religion: Can It Really Be This Simple?. There are a few places where I think he wimps out on his theology, trying to find a safe middle ground instead of fully embracing the implications of what he is saying, but overall this book is one of the better books on the Christian walk that I’ve read. It will definitely stretch you, and give you new, old, ideas to chew on.
4. Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life. This is a book about relationships. “When to say YES, When to say NO, to take control of your life.” It is written by Christians from a Christian perspective, but the principals are universal. It will revolutionize your relationships. I personally believe every human being needs to read this book. It’s that valuable. It’s that good.
5. Republic (Hackett Classics) I’ll tell you right now I haven’t read all of this yet, but the more you understand Plato, the better you will understand the Apostle Paul. Paul was well read, and was certainly familiar with Plato. He borrows from Plato’s concepts all throughout the New Testament. He also disagrees with Plato in his NT writings, but unless you know Plato, you won’t know when he is doing one vs the other!
6. Donald Miller’s books are great. Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality is my favorite. His voice is similar to mine in some ways, actually. I love his writing style, I love his honesty, I love that his relationship with God is genuine and tangible.
7. Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith Rob Bell gets a lot of flack, and for a lot of different reasons. Regardless of whether you like the guy or not, his first book is worth reading. It will both challenge and enrich your faith. He invites you into conversation rather than telling you the answers, and the conversation is truly enjoyable.
- What Dreams May Come This is one of my favorite movies. It is about life, death, and the afterlife. It’s absolutely beautiful, and incredibly creative. Robin Williams is the lead and it’s one of his more dramatic rolls. There’s a powerful message about redemption hidden away in this movie. Robin William’s character shows us the sacrifice and love of Christ in a truly unique redemptive arc that makes this movie a must see in my book.
- The Dark Knight I know, you’ve probably already seen it, but hear me out here. This movie is a lot more than just a super hero movie. If you allow yourself to connect to it, you’ll pick up on the pain and beauty of hard realities. Suffering, chaos, hope…this movie wrestles with all these truths. It asks some tough questions, like: Which is more powerful, chaos or law? What makes the law have authority? Are people inherently broken, or is there hope for redemption? This movie can create some deep experiences of truth if you approach it from the right angle. It helped me navigate and explore some of the most faith shaking questions I’ve faced. Plus, it’s about Batman. Who doesn’t love Batman?!
- Where the Wild Things Are [Blu-ray] This film is beautifully made, and deals with the inner monsters we all have. I wrote an article about this film here.
1. https://inthestoryline.com/ Paul has some great content on here about Doubt that he goes over as he pulls from a book on the subject. He goes deep into some specific passages of scripture, and he is a fellow explorer in the world of seeking a more honest connection to God.
2. https://baileygillespie.com/ Bailey is a good friend of mine. We work together on various projects and you will see her as another author here on Real Hope Rising. She writes about all sorts of different things, and I’m sure you will get something out of exploring her website.
3. https://www.teddekker.com/ I love Ted Dekker’s books. Really fun fiction. Especially Black and Red. These two books are worth the read. Anything you find here will be engaging and powerful.
4. https://poemachronicles.com/ This is probably the best content site I have ever read. My friend Alice is the author, and her ideas will revolutionize the way you do life on just about every level. She is both a brilliant and spiritually potent human being, and every word exudes the life of Christ. No matter what you read here, you won’t be disappointed.
5. http://origins-life.org/ Austin is a tremendous dude with a world changing vision for spiritual community. No matter where you are, check out his podcasts. If you are in the Las Vegas area, you may have just found a new spiritual family.
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