Trevor, since the Bible is a book of books you could probably choose any one of them as a thin book. Printed as a Penguin paberback I doubt if matthew's Gospel or isaiah would go much beyond 60 pages. So it isn't that the Bible doesn't count as a thin book - it counts as 66 of them.
Kate - not sure where I said suggested thin books need to be theological - so in case I gave that impression, it wasn't intended. Amongst the non theological nominations for my thin book shelf would be Saint Exupery's Little Prince, Annie Dillard's The Writing Life, and Dag Hammarskjold's Markings (which if it is theological, isn't defined by its theology).
Gavin - Dissident Discipleship has 245 pages, which makes it a rather thick, thin book. But Augsburger's earlier books are nearly all within the 160 page limit. But thanks for pointing out a book that doesn't reduce discipleship to a ten quick steps programme, but affirms discipleship as a following after Jesus which is characterised by life practices which bear witness to who Jesus is.
The Manse Cat is a veritable thin book enthusiast, and it was good to have amongst others, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. I once witnessed this wee book lift the spirit and strengthen the hopefulness of a wonderful Christian lady at the time pushing 80. I still have a letter from her in which she quotes Brother Lawrence and Evelyn Underhill with the surprised gratitude of someone who had just had their medication changed and it was doing wonders. And Nuttall's slim biography of Richard Baxter is like all that Nuttal wrote - discretely erudite, written in restrained and elegant prose, and quietly taking its place alongside weightier works as the one that portrats baxter with affection and authority.
The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass gave me indigestion after a Christmas dinner years ago, when I read the entry on the bearded man shouting in church with the riposte, 'he shaved others, himself he could not shave'.
Bonhoeffer's Life Together is as Graeme says, one of those books which is thin only in the sense of its pagination. I've found that it's a book people either love or hate - its demanding, uncompromising, exposure of spiritual psychology and human dynamics as they are worked out in a close-knit, intensely focused community seldom make for comfortable reading. Yet like many others I've read it several times - each time wincing at the accuracy of his observations, at times resentful of such astringent exhortation, and having to own the painful truth that few church fellowships would be prepared to take this thin book as a year's experiment to test the too easy assumption that if all the world were Christians all problems would be solved!
John Colwell's The Rhythm of Doctrine is both a very good brief systematic theology based on the Church Year, and, I hope, an outline of what could become an original and valuable series of larger books expanding on the theological approach John has opened up - and I hope he does them! Few books claiming to be systematic theologies manage to be both brief and sufficiently rigorous - along with this one, Nicholas Lash, Believing Three ways in One God and Kathryn Tanner's Jesus Humanity and the Trinity, being amongst the more obvious.
Right. I'm off to read one of the thinnest books in the Bible. I'm preaching on Jonah tomorrow. I know the story well, and the way it destabilises safe theologies and possessive spiritualities. In less than four modest chapters this story turns worlds upside down, changes worldviews, forces a revision of how its readers think of God, and ends with one of the most wonderfully funny lines in the whole Bible. In fact, going back to Trevor, and his search for a thin Bible, raises the question of thin books in the Bible. Ruth is a masterpiece in the same tradition of revising theologies built on unexamined assumptions about God. Lamentations expresses the darkness of the darkest hours - or decades, yet with an adamantine determination not to let God go. Philemon isn't a book - it's a letter, but I have a commentary on its 24 verses that is 550 pages long - and the incongruity of such a hefty commentary for such a brief occasional letter, is only felt if we haven't recognised the mustard seeds of Kingdom revolution implied in all the courtesies and gentle nudges woven throughout. A thin book, thick with possibility, eh?