Chris at Sandalstraps’ Sanctuary has tagged me with a book meme which, truth be told, I don't really feel qualified to answer. At best, I'm an amateur theologian. At worst, a minister who knows too much theology for her own good. (joke!)
I don't really feel qualified to answer the first question at all:
THREE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WORKS ON CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGY
My sense is that the most important theological thing that has happened in the last 20 to 30 years is the "post-liberal" movement. This movement has rescued Protestants (particularly in the US) from having to choose between being a fundamentalist or a classic liberal. My sense is that this "movement" in some way "just happened" and I'm not convinced that those who have deliberately taken the label of "post liberal" were actually the engines of that movement. So, choosing from three theologians who I consider to be part of this Christian Zeitgeist and picking books pretty much at random:
1) The New Testament and the People of God by N.T. Wright
2) Naming the Powers by Walter Wink
3) A Community of Character by Stanley Hauerwas
THREE LESSER KNOWN BOOKS ALMOST EVERYONE SHOULD READ
The first two books probably aren't "lesser known" to anyone who has attended theology college in Britain in the last ten years, but they are probably "lesser known" in the US. I think the last book is still "lesser known" in both contexts.
1) Love's Endeavour, Love's Expense by W.H. Vanstone. Having made the remark about post-liberalism, this book is in a bit more of liberal paradigm, but I think that questions of God's love in a liberal world-view are still relevent to many and this book was written before the theological world knew anything of post-liberalism.
2) Participating in God by Paul S. Fiddes. Takes up where Vanstone's book leaves off. Speaks into a post-liberal Christian context and also speaks of many relevent things like "How does prayer work?" and the concept of community.
3) The Joy of Being Wrong by James Alison. You had to know I'd say this. It's a tough read. This is Alison's doctoral thesis in book form. It's not an exaggeration to say that this book turned my faith upside down. As a friend put it, "You are acting like you met Jesus".
I'm tagging: Michael, Stephen and John. I'm going to give it a flying try and tag Rachel at Velveteen Rabbi to see if she bites and gives us a perspective from a different faith.