Christian Books on Being a Father and Family

We went straight over to Vroman’s Bookstore the moment we found out Emily was pregnant to find books to read about what all this means. Seeing as how this is baby Wemily #1 we really have no clue what we’re doing, and I guess that’s part of the excitement as well as the anxiety. We’ve been reading as much as we can and will continue to long after the baby is born but for now here are a few books I’ve got in my stack. All but one is from a Christian perspective (the Expectant Father one isn’t) and actually a number of them are fairly heavy in their theological approach. I haven’t finished all these yet, but look forward to polishing them off by Christmas.

1. Cameron Lee, Beyond family values : a call to Christian virtue (Downers Grove Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998).

2. Rodney Clapp, Families at the crossroads : beyond traditional & modern options (Downers Grove Ill. USA: InterVarsity Press, 1993).

3. Ray Anderson, On being family : a social theology of the family (Grand Rapids Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1985). (I’m also interested in his newer one Something New, Something Old)

4. Richard Rohr, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (Crossroad General Interest, 2001).

5. Armin Brott, The expectant father : facts, tips, and advice for dads-to-be (New York: Abbeville Press, 1995).

6. Donald Miller, To own a dragon : reflections on growing up without a father (Colorado Springs CO: NavPress, 2006).

7. Ray Anderson, Unspoken wisdom : truths my father taught me (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1995).

We also have birthing books and other goodies but I’ll leave that to another day. If you’ve got any suggestions on Fatherhood and Family

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Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

6 thoughts on “Christian Books on Being a Father and Family”

  1. Oh my, oh my. Let’s see, around here it was “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy,” all the useful stuff they don’t tell you. Sure, the author is a former Playboy bunny but she’s a riot, and hey she might be Christian. Our sister’s boyfriend is getting up to speed with a book called “My Boys Can Swim” and he likes it (he likes Kevin Smith and Jack Black movies too, so factor that in (he’s a nice guy (especially if he somehow stumbles on this comment))). On a more elevated level, the Sears books are good too, as long as you don’t take them too seriously and apply some common sense when taking their more liberated tips.

    I’m sure knowing the social theology of the family will come in handy sometime but that’s about a thousand diaper changes away right now.

    Good luck!

  2. I recommend my friend Mary Kay Rehard’s Pendle Hill pamphlet, Bringing God Home: Exploring Family Spirituality. Mary Kay and her husband Patrick were co-Directors of Quaker House in Chicago, and hired me as Assistant Director for a year in 1992. Since then, Patrick has been on the faculty at Earlham School of Religion, and for the past several years they have been serving FUM as co-Principals of Friends Theological Seminary in eastern Kenya. All this to say that these are Christian Friends, but with a connection to liberal Quakerism.

  3. So, I’ve been thinking about this constantly for weeks. 🙂 I think the book I had the most positive experience with was Tim Stafford’s _Nevermind the Joneses_, which provided some good reflection material for us about what kind of family we want to be. I also really loved Anne Lamott’s _Operating Instructions_, except that my imagined and her actual crises and challenges created a little too much anxiety, and I had to put it down until we’d actually survived the first year. Not this post, but we also have _Honey for a Child’s Heart_, a great resource on books for children (I’ve read a lot more of those all the way through). I really liked Clapp’s book, although, as youv’e anticipated, I haven’t been back to it since we started the actual parenting. Blessings.

  4. @Dave
    Thanks for the comment!

    Emily’s already read Lamott, actually she read it before we went off the pill. That was one of the ways I told her I was ready. I know that sounds kind of patriarchal but I was dragging my feet.

    Anyways, I haven’t heard of the other two either and I like the sounds of reflective material. We read somewhere recently about deciding on your parenting styles early, and like you said, “what kind of family we want to be.” That’s stuff we’ve never really thought about.

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