RUF Reads: Third Edition

Nicholas Manley, RUF Intern at University of Texas at Austin 

Nicholas grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he double-majored in civil engineering and English literature. RUF had a huge impact on Nicholas’s walk with the Lord in college, and he is excited to be in Austin to hopefully, by the grace of God, reflect the love that Christ has shown him to the students there. Here are Nicholas’s book recommendations: 

Christian-living: Seeing With New Eyes by David Powlison

What’s the point of counseling? Does the Bible have anything to say about our deepest struggles? What role should secular psychology play in counseling for Christians? These are big questions that I think Christians should be grappling with, and in this book I learned from Dr. Powlison that I have only barely begun to understand how to mine the riches of Scripture for wisdom for the problems that we struggle with. If you are considering becoming a counselor someday, I highly, highly recommend reading this book.

Non-Fiction: Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell

In this book, Stanford economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell grapples with the question of what actually causes the social and economic disparities that we see in our world. This book played a big role in shaping how I understand what role the government can/can’t/should/shouldn’t play in helping to remedy many of the social and economic issues in our nation about which Christians should be concerned as we seek to follow Jesus in caring for the widow and the orphan.

Christian-living: The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin

This book is incredibly helpful for doing apologetics in a post-modern, university context. Newbigin makes the argument that all forms of knowing involve a leap of faith, showing that the divide that contemporary culture places between “facts” and “values” is ultimately arbitrary. All Christian college students would be served well by reading this book.

Bonus: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Just do it.

Zenny Jua, RUF Intern at the University of Pittsburgh

Jenny was born in the US but grew up in Cameroon, West Africa until 2013 where she moved to the US to further her studies, and later became a believer shortly after that. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Business Management. Zenny was involved with RUF in her senior year only, but the impact it had on her prompted her to want to reach out to other students with the love and truth of Jesus which she received from Maryland RUF. She loves dancing and would instinctively move to the sound of anything upbeat. Here are Jenny’s book recommendations: 

Christian-living: Safe and Sound by David Powlison 

Best book I’ve read on Spiritual warfare. Among other things, he talks about Spiritual warfare being both an offensive and defensive posture, and points to Jesus in every aspect of the armor listed in Ephesians 6 – love it!

Fiction: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

A fictional story of an African Immigrant to the US who wrestles with identity in a way she had not before – so, so relatable and beautifully written.

Christian-living: The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges 

The subtitle of this book reads “God’s role and our role in the pursuit of holiness”. I have this question often and this book beautifully answers, grounded in the gospel – LOVE IT.

Andrew Terrell, RUF International Campus Minister at Columbia

Andrew attended the University of Georgia where he studied Spanish and psychology. He met his wife, Olivia, while at UGA and they married in 2009. Fueled by a desire to gain experience sharing the gospel in a cross-cultural context, Olivia and Andrew moved to Madrid, Spain for almost three years with Mission to the World. While abroad, Andrew worked in youth ministry, college ministry, and church planting. In 2015, they relocated to New York City where Andrew earned a M.A. in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary, as well as a certificate in practical theology from Redeemer City to City. Andrew continues to work cross-culturally in a university setting with RUF-I at Columbia in NYC. Having lived as a foreigner abroad, Andrew understands some of the challenges of being a cultural outsider, and has developed a heart for welcoming and sharing the love of Christ with those who are far from home. Olivia studied jewelry and metalworking in undergrad and now runs a small business as a jewelry designer and maker. They have one son, Asa, who was born in February of 2017.

Christianity-living: Every Moment Holy by Douglas McKelvey 

This book of liturgies for everyday life has really changed the way I think about prayer. It has helped me regain a sense of the spiritual significance found in the mundane. Not to mention the beautiful poetry!

Fiction: Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

A meandering meditation on faith and doubt, community and loneliness, told from the perspective of the town barber and grave-digger of Port William, Berry’s fictional small-town universe. 

Non-fiction/memoir: Any of Madeleine L’Engle’s memoirs!

Walking on Water is a rich collection of reflections on the relationship of creativity to Christian faith. A must-read for artists! 

A Two-Part Invention is the quiet and heartwarming story of L’Engle’s 40-year marriage. It’s full of faithfulness in the face of suffering as well as some fun stories from old New York.

Kristen Thompson, Campus Staff at Wash U 

Kristen and her husband Alex moved to St. Louis in the summer of 2016 for Alex to attend grad school at Saint Louis University while Kristen went on staff with RUF at Wash-U. Before coming to Wash-U, Kristen was an RUF intern at Texas A&M for two years. She and Alex met through RUF at Mississippi State University and are both so thankful for the impact this ministry had on their lives. The Thompsons enjoy any and all sports, both watching and playing, as well as getting together with family or playing games with friends. With both of them born and raised in the south, they are enjoying their first taste of mid-western life in St. Louis! Here are Kristen’s book recommendations:

Christian-living: Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund

This book opened my eyes to the truths of how Jesus actually feels about me- that He delights in me and wants to be with me- truths I can’t keep denying after this book helped me more clearly and deeply understand Scripture passages I’ve read my whole life but never fully grasped.

Christian-living: Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

Don’t read this if you don’t want to be convicted or challenged, but if you want to be encouraged to rest in who God is and the work He’s done for you rather than the work you do for Him, this is the book for you.

Christian-living: Praying with Paul by D.A. Carson

This book significantly changed my prayer life in practical ways by taking a deep dive into Paul’s prayers throughout the Bible and encouraging us to apply those in our day-to-day prayer life. I want to pray more after reading this book.

Fiction: The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis

Enjoyed by kids, but still loved by adults. The gospel undertones in each of these books will bring you to tears!

Ryan Taylor, RUF Intern at Florida State University 

Ryan is from Ellenwood, Georgia, located in the metro of Atlanta. He attended the University of Georgia, where he graduated with a major in Religion and a minor in Global Health. In his free time he loves going on walks, especially to explore new places. He also enjoys doing some photography while on these casual strolls. Another thing he loves doing is having conversations about God and life, which is part of what led him to become a RUF intern. He wants to help students live a fully integrated life, where their belief in Jesus pervades every part of it. Here are Ryan’s book recommendations: 

Christian-living: Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith

I like this book because it gave incredible insight into why even despite our best efforts racial reconciliation has been largely unsuccessful. The authors make a compelling case that a difference in worldview, the understanding of history, and physical location between the black and white community in America are some of the most important factors in maintaining the racial divide.

Christian-living: The Moral Vision of the New Testament: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics by Richard B. Hays

I like this book because the author provides an extremely helpful framework for analyzing moral and ethical issues through the lens of scripture. As someone who loves the Bible, but struggles to make sense of how its vast amount of teachings guide our engagement with contemporary issues, this is exactly what I needed.

Fiction: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I like this book because it is the tale of how random lives intersect in subtle but powerful ways. The paths of individuals with unique backgrounds and trajectories are often colliding in unexpected ways. The people you meet in life, however briefly, and the effect that has on the world is one of the cool mysteries of life. Plus great writing!