Lists are part of my madness and my madness is a part of who I am.

So this is a blog of lists.

(It’s also an answer to several emailers.)

OK, let’s go…

The Ten People Who Have Most Influenced My Thinking In the New Millennium

1. Saint Augustine

2. Soren Kierkegaard

3. Fyodor Dostoevsky

4. G.K. Chesterton

5. C.S. Lewis

6. Frederick Buechner

7. Eugene Peterson

8. Dallas Willard

9. Bob Dylan

10. N.T. Wright

The Two People Most Likely To Break Into My Top Ten Sometime Soon

1. George McDonald

2. Walter Brueggemann

The Ten Most Influential Books I’ve Read In The Past Year

1. The Challenge of Jesus by N.T. Wright

2. Simply Christian by N.T. Wright

3. Paul In Fresh Perspective by N.T. Wright

4. Evil and the Justice of God by N.T. Wright

5. The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright

6. The Wild Gospel by Alison Morgan

7. Jesus Mean and Wild by Mark Galli

8. Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger (a.k.a. Benedict # 16)
Yes, this is the Pope’s new book. Two things about it: 1) I can’t find a single thing in it that the most careful Protestant would object to. 2) It is an absolutely wonderful book!

9. Francis of Assisi by Adrian House

10. Finally Comes The Poet by Walter Brueggemann

The Five Best Books by Fyodor Dostoevsky

1. The Brothers Karamazov

2. Crime and Punishment

3. Demons

4. Notes From Underground

5. The Idiot

(These great novels have influenced me far more than you probably think. And if per chance you get inspired to tackle Dostoevsky I recommend you read the translations by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.)

The Ten Best Albums by Bob Dylan

1. Blood On The Tracks (1975)
The album that started it all for me 32 years ago.

2. Blonde On Blonde (1966)
The great debate among Dylanites is Blood on The Tracks vs. Blonde On Blonde.

3. Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
One of the most important albums in rock history. It opens with “Like A Rolling Stone” and closes with “Desolation Row.” If those were the only two songs Dylan ever wrote, he would be famous.

4. Time Out Of Mind (1997)
Dark, brooding, murky, mysterious and deeply human. Reminds me of the book of Ecclesiastes.

5. Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
Maybe Dylan’s best poetry. Maybe.

6. Modern Times (2006)
The newest one. High praise indeed.

7. Oh Mercy (1989)
Most people think of Dylan’s Christian albums as being three in number (Slow Train Coming, Saved, Shot Of Love); I think of them as four…Oh Mercy being the fourth. It reflects a more mature spirituality.

8. Street Legal (1978)
This is a controversial album among Dylan fans; some love it while others hate it. I love it.

9. Slow Train Coming (1979)
Dylan’s conversion album. Nine scorching sermons.

10. Desire (1976)
This should probably be higher on my list. A great album. And the whole thing was recorded in one all night session. Amazing!

The Ten Dylan Songs I Think You Should Know (and probably don’t)

1. With God On Our Side
Contains an important message. Just as important today as it was in 1964.

2. My Back Pages
Sort of my theme song the last few years

3. Gates of Eden
Read it and you may begin to understand why you don’t compare Dylan to Lennon and McCartney but to Milton and Shakespeare.

4. It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
Analyze the rhyming scheme and it will blow your mind. Then realize the poet is actually saying something and not just being clever with words. I could go on and on about this song.

5. Desolation Row
“Desolation Row” is to Dylan what “The Waste Land” is to T.S. Eliot.

6. Visions of Johanna
A serious contender for Dylan’s greatest song. It might give you an idea of why Harvard professors write books on Dylan’s work.

7. Precious Angel
A blistering sermon from Evangelist Bob. I still remember the day I first slapped this on my turntable.

8. Every Grain Of Sand
If this song doesn’t bring tears to your eyes…you need to listen to it again.

9. Ring Them Bells
The gospel holds the only hope in a postmodern world. Ring them bells.

10. Ain’t Talkin’
A stroll through the mystic garden where poetry touches prophecy.

Well, those are some lists.

Make of it what you will.



I’ve got a good sermon simmering in the crock pot. I think I’ll call it “Rhythm.” I might do it next weekend…maybe Sunday, maybe Friday.

I had a good Father’s Day.

I’ve got three wonderful sons.

And I’ve got a father who is one of the wisest men I’ve ever known.

I’m a blessed man.