10 Faith And Justice Books You Should Read This Summer

Death_to_stock_photography_weekend_work (10 of 10)

My favorite thing to do every summer is make a list of the books I hope to read before school starts up again. But there are so many books to choose from, and determining which ones are worth your time can be difficult. Here’s a list of 10 books about faith, justice, calling, and activism that have shaped my mind and my heart over the years.

1. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor 

By Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett

We all want to help those who are in need, but how do we know we’re actually making the world better? Is that short-term mission trip you’re going on this summer doing more harm than good? These are some of the tough questions we must ask ourselves. When Helping Hurts will help you understand the root causes of poverty and guide you toward a more sustainable, long-lasting way to approach activism and relief work.

2. Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices

By Julie Clawson

The decisions we make throughout the day–where we shop, the food we eat, the clothes we wear–reveal our habits, our values, and our desires. In Everyday Justice, Julie Clawson explores the global implications of our small, seemingly insignificant choices. This book will challenge you to love God and your neighbors by making ethical, sustainable choices every day.

3. The Locus Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence 

By Gary Haugen

Efforts to help the poor and those in need will never be successful or sustainable until we address the violence they face on a daily basis. In many developing countries, the law doesn’t protect the poor from rape, theft, police abuse, or forced labor. The Locus Effect shows that any discussion about alleviating poverty must start with ensuring that the poor have the same protections as everyone else.

4. Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the world? 

By Eugene Cho

We love to talk about justice, but are we really living justly? It’s easy to say we want to change the world, but actually doing it requires struggle and sacrifice. In Overrated, Cho helps us see that as Christians, “Our calling is not simply to change the world but to be changed ourselves.”

5. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

By Bryan Stevenson

In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, explores the injustices of the American criminal justice system. Often compared to a real life Atticus Finch, Stevenson helped exonerate a man who was on death row for a murder he did not commit. Reading this book will make you feel angry, frustrated, and yet ultimately hopeful.

6. Called: My Journey to C. S. Lewis’s House and Back Again

By Ryan J. Pemberton

What does it mean to pursue your calling? How can we faithfully answer the call God has for our lives? These were some of the questions Ryan Pemberton was hoping to answer when he set out to study at the University of Oxford and live in C. S. Lewis’s house. This is a great book for anyone in the process of figuring out what God has in store for them.

7. A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity

By Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Husband-and-wife team Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn tell inspiring stories and offer practical advice on the most effective ways we can advocate for the poor and the oppressed. Ultimately, A Path Appears is an important reminder that one passionate, committed person truly can change the world.

8. Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good

By Steven Garber

Vocation is a word we throw around without defining what it really means. Visions of Vocation asks an important question: is it possible to know the world and still love the world? It’s easy to become cynical about the things around us, but Garber aims to recast our view of vocation in a way that calls us to pursue the flourishing and welfare of the world in which we live.

9. A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa

By Howard W. French

Africa is a vast, complicated, beautiful continent. But as Americans, we tend to only pay attention to a small portion of it. In this book, journalist Howard French tells firsthand stories from some of Africa’s most violent recent tragedies. While often devastating and heart-breaking, A Continent for the Taking shows why the future might be bright for the world’s most misunderstood continent.

10. Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just

By Timothy Keller

In Generous Justice, pastor Tim Keller explores how the message of the Bible should spur us on to pursue social justice and care for the least of these. Keller doesn’t shy away from theological depth, but writes about dense topics like grace, justice, and mercy in a way that is accessible to academics and college students alike.

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