Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Becoming a Reader


I've never been an avid reader, and there is no secret about that. I read seldom, especially compared to some readers out there, and I certainly have my share of books that I have started reading and stopped in the middle somewhere. However, that’s about to change. Call this a new year’s resolution or prayerful guidance, but I want to start reading more.

Before I get book any recommendations let me just say I have a clear plan on where I am going. I still will read leisurely on the side purely for entertainment’s sake, however I have a goal (starting now) of reading one non-fiction book a month from a different Christian author. More specifically I have been called to read some of the more prominent Christian authors of the past. After talking with a brother/pastor on some recommendations, he also sent me a link to an article that really captures what I’m after. The article highlighted that very question, and the writer’s response to whom he recommended reading was rather interesting; he wants to read dead people. Here is an excerpt from the article:

"So here’s what I’ve learned. If someone has been dead for a while and his book is still in print and widely read, then it’s probably worth reading. And, if we’re honest, there are precious few books written by Christian authors today that will still be read in 24 months, let alone 24 years. I want to use my reading time to immerse myself in powerfully formative material, and not just flash-in-the-pan trends. Does this mean I never read living authors? No, of course not. But if they’re not dead, I like them to be pretty close. I can usually trust that they’re not going to waste what time they have left on this earth writing sappy Hallmark card sentimental Evangelical fluff." - Skye Jethani, I Read Dead People

So where to start? Well, due to some research (and book availability at my library network) I am starting off with a book from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Cost of Discipleship for my February read. His story seems painful, yet incredibly moving. I am eager to see what deep insights I can perhaps learn from his life, as tragically powerful as it was.

As I read through Joshua today, I read about the Gibeonite deception, and how they came to deceive Joshua and the Israelites to make a covenant with them. The way that the Israelites reacted, and sadly seen too often in Scripture, was what follows:

“So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD.” (Joshua 9:14 ESV)

I pray that as I read through these books and stories I remember that like me, all are human and have their own faults. I pray that I will be diligent with coming to Him for counsel as I seek to wash these writings with the Word and reveal their Truth. All of the authors that I plan to read have walked with the Lord longer than I, and will undoubtedly have much to offer for my own journey. Though may I never lift their writings above Scripture, yet thank Him for their service and show me how I can serve Him better myself.

Time to get reading!

~Matthew

2 comments:

Ellen - SkoMomma said...

I'm reading a biography about Bonhoeffer right now by Eric Metaxas. It's long, but so far very interesting. Best wishes on your reading journey. I LOVE to read, so keep us up-to-date in case I need to snag a few good reads?!
P.S. Your wife might really like the book I just finished. It's called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. So beautifully written. Check it out!

Matthew said...

Thanks! So far it has been something that He has most definitely put on my heart. I'm eager to get started reading more in general, but also reading about and from these devoted individuals and their lives. I think the book was supposed to be delivered to my local library tomorrow, though the storm may push that off! Thanks for the heads up on the book - I'll pass that along.

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