Clearing the Ground | Classics Series
The following blog is the newest installment in our Classics Series, where we revisit posts from days gone by. This blog was originally posted in September of 2018.
Last time, we were reminded that we’ve all been given the amazing gift of literacy. We answered ‘why read?’ by proposing that Christianity is a ‘Word’ faith and that world history has been hung on words. There are many other reasons that I hope will compel you to read.
For some, the most important reading you need and could start with is a regular diet of Bible reading. That is, reading right out of the Holy Book, not commentaries or pamphlets on it. There is nothing wrong with good devotionals, etc., but you need direct exposure to the Sun. Above all, read Scripture. But the appeal of this series is that we should go beyond Scripture in our reading bearing in mind Tony Reinke’s advice that: “Scripture is the ultimate grid by which we read every book” (Lit!, p. 26).
With that important preface, we now should spend some time clearing the ground. By that I mean, overcoming your objections and fears. Here are several examples: “I’ve no time; I’m a slow reader; I hate reading; I’m a visual person; I only like to read for entertainment; I can’t afford to read; I just finished school, and need a break; or, I’m too old to start a new habit.”
Do this: Write your excuse on a sheet of paper: Now, on a non-windy day, go outside and light a match to that piece of paper. After it burns up, step on the ashes of that paper. Video record if necessary or invite a friend or two over to witness this victory, pray and then go inside and crack open that book. Be done with that excuse.
While that ceremony will not change you into a voracious reader nor instantly rid you of obstacles, the point is that before you turn over this new leaf you ought to tenaciously confront the worst obstacle to the personal growth that reading affords—yourself. Remember: reading isn’t just a human thing. It’s inherently Christian. The Apostle Paul wanted to read till his dying day. While he was on death row, he wrote to his son in the faith: “When you come, bring… also the books, and above all the parchments (2 Timothy 4:13).”