100 books like Visual Faith

By William A. Dyrness,

Here are 100 books that Visual Faith fans have personally recommended if you like Visual Faith. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Naming the Animals: An Invitation to Creativity

Ned Bustard Author Of It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God

From my list on art and Christianity.

Who am I?

In my late high school years and during college I was confronted with a question that has dogged many artists over the years who are in the church: should a Christian be in the arts or not? As it turns out, the first person to be described as filled by the Spirit in the Bible was an artist. I had to wait until my college years to find that out by reading Francis Schaeffer’s book Art and the Bible. This and Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water gave me a theology that valued art. Now I'm a full-time artist and curate a small art gallery, but I've never stopped looking for good books on Art and Faith.

Ned's book list on art and Christianity

Ned Bustard Why did Ned love this book?

What if creativity was not a talent given to a chosen few, but an invitation extended to us all? What if the desire for beauty was not gratuitous in life, but central to our faith? Drawing upon the biblical account of Creation and the witness of a myriad of creative thinkers, this book asserts that all of us—from plumbers to painters and meteorologists to musicians—were made in the image of an imaginative God. In that light, Naming the Animals encourages us to see creativity as an essential part of God’s design for partnership with humanity. This is a great introduction to the Art and Faith conversation.

By Stephen Roach, Ned Bustard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Naming the Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brief invitation to all people to live creative lives. Stephen Roach is host of the Makers and Mystics podcast and founder of The Breath & the Clay creative arts movement takes the reader back to the initial creative acts of God at Creation and explores the implications of Adam naming the animals, drawing out applications on how that merciful gift informs creative acts today of all kinds.


Book cover of Objects of Grace: Conversations on Creativity and Faith

Ned Bustard Author Of It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God

From my list on art and Christianity.

Who am I?

In my late high school years and during college I was confronted with a question that has dogged many artists over the years who are in the church: should a Christian be in the arts or not? As it turns out, the first person to be described as filled by the Spirit in the Bible was an artist. I had to wait until my college years to find that out by reading Francis Schaeffer’s book Art and the Bible. This and Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water gave me a theology that valued art. Now I'm a full-time artist and curate a small art gallery, but I've never stopped looking for good books on Art and Faith.

Ned's book list on art and Christianity

Ned Bustard Why did Ned love this book?

Kelly Crow of The Wall Street Journal said that the Art World is like a cocktail party that has been going on for quite some time. Without question Rainbows for the Fallen World: Aesthetic Life and Artistic Task is a critical voice for Christians to hear in that conversation, and it is a classic that should be required reading for everyone. But there are other conversations at the art cocktail party and, as in most professions, there is a peculiar language that must be learned in order to pick up the nuances and meanings in the discussions. How is the newcomer to the party to learn the vocabulary and begin to understand the accents at this party? Objects of Grace: Conversations on Creativity and Faith stands out as a one-of-a-kind method to begin picking up “art speak.” Objects of Grace is a collection of conversations with some intriguing artists—Sandra Bowden,…

By Sandra Bowden (editor), Mary McCleary (editor), James Romaine (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Objects of Grace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Conversations with some of today's most intriguing artists-Sandra Bowden, Dan Callis, Mary McCleary, John Silvis, Edward Knippers, Erica Downer, Albert Pedulla, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Joel Sheesley and Makoto Fujimura-focuses on the intersection of Christianity and creativity.


Book cover of Faith and Vision: Twenty-Five Years of Christians in the Visual Arts

Ned Bustard Author Of It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God

From my list on art and Christianity.

Who am I?

In my late high school years and during college I was confronted with a question that has dogged many artists over the years who are in the church: should a Christian be in the arts or not? As it turns out, the first person to be described as filled by the Spirit in the Bible was an artist. I had to wait until my college years to find that out by reading Francis Schaeffer’s book Art and the Bible. This and Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water gave me a theology that valued art. Now I'm a full-time artist and curate a small art gallery, but I've never stopped looking for good books on Art and Faith.

Ned's book list on art and Christianity

Ned Bustard Why did Ned love this book?

The best mediator over the past several decades in the awkward relationship between Art and the Church has been Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA). The beginning of their story was told beautifully in Faith and Vision: Twenty-Five Years of Christians in the Visual Arts. Between its covers are more than 200 images that showcase the work of CIVA’s most accomplished artists and highlight the quality and breadth of its many traveling exhibitions, conferences, directories, and publications. Founded in 1979, Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) was born as a response to the absence of a tangible Christian community within the contemporary American art world. As it matured, CIVA grew to become a place of aesthetic stimulation and spiritual encouragement both to its members and to the several thousand artists and institutions in its formal network. This book is the record of a generation or two of Christians…

By Cameron J. Anderson (editor), Sandra Bowden (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faith and Vision as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is a record of the first 25 years of Christians in the Visual Arts and features more than 200 images that showcase the work of CIVA’s most accomplished artists and highlight the quality and breadth of its many traveling exhibitions, conferences, directories, and publications.


Book cover of Lifting the Veil: Imagination and the Kingdom of God

Ned Bustard Author Of It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God

From my list on art and Christianity.

Who am I?

In my late high school years and during college I was confronted with a question that has dogged many artists over the years who are in the church: should a Christian be in the arts or not? As it turns out, the first person to be described as filled by the Spirit in the Bible was an artist. I had to wait until my college years to find that out by reading Francis Schaeffer’s book Art and the Bible. This and Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water gave me a theology that valued art. Now I'm a full-time artist and curate a small art gallery, but I've never stopped looking for good books on Art and Faith.

Ned's book list on art and Christianity

Ned Bustard Why did Ned love this book?

From the moment that Jesus Christ first proclaimed the Kingdom of God, he appealed to our imagination. He made that appeal through the parables, the paradoxes of the Gospel, his miracles, and those moments when the heavens opened and the ordinary was transfigured. In this book, the poet Malcolm Guite explores how the creative work of poets and other artists can begin to lift the veil, kindling our imaginations for Christ. N.T. Wright has commended this book, calling it “A small treasure-house of beauty and imagination, helping us in turn to imagine God’s world and God’s love with multi-faceted and grateful wisdom.” Although I heartily recommend other recent books, Lifting the Veil is my favorite new work in the Art and Faith conversation. 

By Malcolm Guite,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lifting the Veil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Christianity has often been suspicious of the human imagination, equating it with what is imaginary or merely made-up, while in the secular world the arts are often seen as little more than a source of entertainment. In Lifting the Veil, Malcolm Guite explores the vision from which all his writing springs - that there is a radiant reality at the heart of things which our dulled sight misses, and that the imagination is an aspect of the image of God in us that can awaken us to the presence and truth of God shimmering through all creation.

He considers how…


Book cover of The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity

Barrie Wilson Author Of Searching for the Messiah: Unlocking the "Psalms of Solomon" and Humanity's Quest for a Savior

From my list on early Christianity.

Who am I?

Barrie is an historian specializing in early Christianity. Today we now know that there were many different movements within the first few centuries, each claiming to be Christian. James’ Jewish group differed from Paul’s Christ religion and both differed from Gnostic Christianity which saw Jesus as a teacher of insight. None was dominant. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic writings add an intriguing overlay. The books selected are those that open up new ways of understanding the historical development of Christianity. Each in its own way has created a paradigm shift.

Barrie's book list on early Christianity

Barrie Wilson Why did Barrie love this book?

If we only had Paul to rely on for our knowledge of Jesus’ life, all we’d know is that he was born, was Jewish, had brothers and died. Written by a British academic, The Mythmaker is a break-through book that shows how Paul created Christianity by developing a mythology/theology about the significance of the death of Jesus as a Christ. Maccoby’s thought is further developed in my book, How Jesus Became Christian (2008) that demonstrates how different Paul’s religion was from that of Jesus.

By Hyam Maccoby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mythmaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Argues that Jesus Christ never broke away from Judaism and that the Christian religion was founded by Paul


Book cover of Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World

Vincent Carretta Author Of Equiano, the African: Biography of a Self-Made Man

From my list on recover early Black Atlantic lives.

Who am I?

When I decided to familiarize myself with eighteenth-century authors of African descent by editing their writings, I didn’t anticipate becoming their biographer. In annotating their writings, I quickly became intrigued and challenged by trying to complete the biographical equivalent of jigsaw puzzles, ones which often lack borders, as well as many pieces. How does one recover, or at least credibly speculate about, what’s missing? Even the pieces one has may be from unreliable sources. But the thrill of the hunt for, and the joy of discovering, as many pieces as possible make the challenge rewarding. My recommendations demonstrate ways others have also met the biographical challenge.

Vincent's book list on recover early Black Atlantic lives

Vincent Carretta Why did Vincent love this book?

Sensbach combines impressive archival skills with sophisticated analyses of textual and visual evidence to reconstruct the extraordinary life of a formerly enslaved woman of African descent, whose interracial marriage and missionary calling took her from the Caribbean to Germany and West Africa.

Rebecca’s Revival is a methodological tour de force, working from fragmentary evidence to reveal the complexity of issues of slavery, religion, and identity in the transatlantic eighteenth-century world.

Refusing to over-simplify the certainty of the evidence or its implications, Sensbach’s frequent use of words like “may,” “might,” “if,” and “perhaps” reflects not the weakness of indecision but rather the strength of a historian who discriminates the known from the unknown, and more importantly, the possible from the probable.

By Jon F. Sensbach,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rebecca's Revival as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rebecca's Revival is the remarkable story of a Caribbean woman--a slave turned evangelist--who helped inspire the rise of black Christianity in the Atlantic world. All but unknown today, Rebecca Protten left an enduring influence on African-American religion and society. Born in 1718, Protten had a childhood conversion experience, gained her freedom from bondage, and joined a group of German proselytizers from the Moravian Church. She embarked on an itinerant mission, preaching to hundreds of the enslaved Africans of St. Thomas, a Danish sugar colony in the West Indies. Laboring in obscurity and weathering persecution from hostile planters, Protten and other…


Book cover of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: and Other Writings

Barry Spector Author Of Madness at the Gates of the City: The Myth of American Innocence

From my list on American addiction to innocence.

Who am I?

As a student of mythology and archetypal psychology, I invite you to interrogate your assumptions about self and society, to consider the narratives that we all take for granted. We live between great polar opposites. One is how our leaders embody old, toxic stories. The other asks who we might become if we imagine new ones. But only by dropping our sense of innocence and acknowledging the depths of our darkness can we open ourselves to the possibilities of real transformation. I invite you inside our mythic walls, to examine what it means to be an American. I hope to facilitate a collective initiation and invite you to think mythologically.

Barry's book list on American addiction to innocence

Barry Spector Why did Barry love this book?

This country was settled primarily by Puritan extremists who imprinted their deep distrust of the body’s needs onto future generations. The Calvinist obsession with sin and predestination led to a uniquely American situation. As wealth became a sign of grace, poverty indicated moral failure.

Weber’s classic book describes the process in which a perspective that began in renunciation was transformed into the drive to work incessantly in the pursuit of worldly success and, eventually, conspicuous consumption. As the strictly religious fervor dissipated over time, the competitive quest for efficiency, productivity, wealth, and the self-validation they symbolized remained and became our most fundamental value.

What others would later call the “American Dream” endures because, like no other myth, it promises fulfillment both in this world and the next. This helped me understand our obsession with individualism and why America ignores or mistreats many of its children simply because their parents are…

By Max Weber, Peter Baehr, Gordon C. Wells

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Protestant Ethic, Max Weber opposes the Marxist concept of dialectical materialism and relates the rise of the capitalist economy to the Calvinist belief in the moral value of hard work and the fulfillment of one's worldly duties.


Book cover of The South and the North in American Religion

Frances FitzGerald Author Of The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

From my list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right.

Who am I?

I was a correspondent in Vietnam in 1966, 1971, 1973, and 1974. I worked for The New Yorker on the last three dates, and I have been back several times since the end of the war. My book, Fire in Lake won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize for history, and the National Book Award, among other prizes.

Frances' book list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right

Frances FitzGerald Why did Frances love this book?

Strangely, very few books about the Christian right explain the differences between southern and northern evangelicals. Hill’s book is an eye-opener. It links theology directly to politics. A historian, Hill is a wonderful writer.

By Samuel S. Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The South and the North in American Religion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this comparative history of religious life in the South and the North, Samuel Hill considers the religions of America from a unique angle. Tracing the religious history of both areas, this study dramatically shows how a common religion was altered by hostilities and then continued to develop as separate entities until recently. Coming almost full circle, both North and South now find their religions again to be highly similar. Two factors, Hill believes, were major influences in the diversification of the regional religions: the presence of Afro-Americans as an underclass of people with a distinctive role to play in…


Book cover of Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America

Rebecca L. Davis Author Of Public Confessions: The Religious Conversions That Changed American Politics

From my list on why sex matters to US history.

Who am I?

I never set out to be a historian of sexuality, but the more I read, the more convinced I became of the centrality of sex to politics, culture, religion, and social change. I am fascinated by histories of sexuality in the making and shaping of individual identities and behaviors, and I’m also drawn to histories of other topics—politics, religion, enslavement, leisure—that also teach us something about the history of sex and sexuality. These interests drew me to the podcast Sexing History, where I edit the stories and help produce the episodes. I love to read widely to find histories of sex in unexpected places.

Rebecca's book list on why sex matters to US history

Rebecca L. Davis Why did Rebecca love this book?

Aimee Semple McPherson lived a trailblazing life as the founder of the Four-Square Gospel Pentecostal church in Los Angeles, the first woman to own a US radio station, and a captivating, theatrical preacher. The beauty of Sutton’s book is the way he shows how McPherson’s sexual charisma—as well as her nearly career-ending sexual scandals—enabled her to define herself as the embodiment of Christian virtue. Wearing white and preaching with props and scenery worthy of a Hollywood set, McPherson used a show business savvy to portray conservative Christianity as the bedrock of Americanism.

By Matthew Avery Sutton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Pilgrims who settled at Plymouth Rock to Christian Coalition canvassers working for George W. Bush, Americans have long sought to integrate faith with politics. Few have been as successful as Hollywood evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.

During the years between the two world wars, McPherson was the most flamboyant and controversial minister in the United States. She built an enormously successful and innovative megachurch, established a mass media empire, and produced spellbinding theatrical sermons that rivaled Tinseltown's spectacular shows. As McPherson's power grew, she moved beyond religion into the realm of politics, launching a national crusade to fight the…


Book cover of God's Last and Only Hope: The Fragmentation of the Southern Baptist Convention

Frances FitzGerald Author Of The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

From my list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right.

Who am I?

I was a correspondent in Vietnam in 1966, 1971, 1973, and 1974. I worked for The New Yorker on the last three dates, and I have been back several times since the end of the war. My book, Fire in Lake won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize for history, and the National Book Award, among other prizes.

Frances' book list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right

Frances FitzGerald Why did Frances love this book?

A liberal Southern Baptist, Leonard describes the fundamentalist takeover of the largest Protestant denomination. The take over accompanied the South’s transformation into a Republican stronghold and made the Christian right a serious force in American politics. Leonard is one of the best-known historians of the Convention and of contemporary religion in the South.

By Bill J. Leonard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked God's Last and Only Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Analyzes the recent controversy between moderate and fundamentalist Baptists from an historical perspective


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