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JBarberConfession: Most of the books I read these days include rhyming and come in a cardboard format. (Look for me at your local coffee shop doing my slam poetry version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See—it’s off the hook.)

Although parenthood has altered my current literary choices, I have been and know I will continue to be shaped by the inhabitants of my library. Books of all varieties have impacted my understanding of myself, God, and others. While by no means comprehensive, each of the following books has in some way helped to develop my pastoral identity and my approach to ministry.

Guerillas of Grace by Ted Loder- Pastors are in the business of words. Whether written or spoken, we are all about words. I work so hard to find the right words for God’s people in the pulpit, at retreats, over coffee, in a hospital room. But in moments of solitude, my eloquence fades. Speaking about God seems so much easier than speaking to God. Ted Loder’s prayers meet me in all my stumbling confusion and uncover words I didn’t even know were buried deep in my heart.

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