(Not including several excellent activist books featured on my previous list for threads – supplement the titles below by checking out ‘30 Books for Christians Under 30’.)
- ‘L’ is for Lifestyle by Ruth Valerio
This list is alphabetical, and so where better to start than with Ruth Valerio’s activist alphabet? Let this theologian and environmentalist teach you your sustainability ABCs. Has the added advantage of being directly written for a British audience.
- Diggers & Dreamers: The Guide to Communal Living
Technically, this is not one book, but a journal featuring articles and multi-author insight into the many different communities that exist across the UK. Their 25th anniversary edition explores all kinds of questions around the practicalities of housing co-operatives, as well as telling inspirational stories about eco-living and where the future of community life is headed. You might not think community life is for you – and you might well be wrong…
- Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
Good activism needs good theology behind it (and in front of it, and right in the middle). Thurman is one of America’s (and arguably the world’s) foremost theologians of the 20th century. Here, he powerfully identifies Christ with the oppressed, and particularly with the Black experience in the United States.
- Just Hospitality: God’s Welcome in a World of Difference by Letty M Russell
This is written by one of the most readable feminist theologians I’ve ever come across. Letty Russell gently and articulately redefines our limited, narrow notions of what it means to welcome the stranger and what it takes to embrace partnership with difference.
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Why Others Die by Chip Heath
We don’t just need to know what to challenge – we need to know how to challenge, and how to turn that challenge into lasting change. This is a must read for best practice tips and inspiration, with a healthy dose human psychology thrown in.
- Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Want to know where the environmental movement needs to go? Learn where it’s been. Named by David Attenborough as the scientific book that changed the world most (after The Origin of the Species), Silent Spring was in large part responsible for the grassroots environmentalism of the 1960s.
- The Violence of Love by Oscar Romero
Conservative archbishop turned liberation theologian; Oscar Romero was assassinated in 1980 for his outspoken condemnation of social injustices and poverty. This collection of his reflections and sermon extracts is beautifully put together, and is ideal for short devotional readings.
- Those Who Show Up by Andy Flannagan
What does it mean to be a Christian and be involved in public life? Where does the responsibility end? Read this to learn through the stories of those already showing up, and get a much-needed kick off the sidelines and into the heart of action.
- Unbowed by Wangari Maathai
“Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy. These are things you fight for and then you protect.” So often our best activism is inspired and informed by learning the lived experiences of trailblazers. Enter Wangari Maathai, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her pioneering work in environmental protection and women’s empowerment.
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
If you’re part of the TINY and SAD group of people who has not yet heard of/picked up/read this book, then it’s time to correct that. At only 64 pages, there’s no reason not to read it – but if you really find reading hard work, check out the cliff notes by watching her TEDx talk of the same name.
If you’re reading this and I haven’t mentioned the Book That Changed Your Life on this list or previously, comment below! I’d love to hear your suggestions.