I like to read.
I like to read books.
I like to read books with big thoughts & ideas in them.
I like to read books that make me mad.
I liked to read books that make me cry.
I like to read.
I get asked by students, parents, strangers in coffee shops "What is that you are reading?". I like that question, especially if what is in my hand isn't a copy of Better Homes & Garden Backyard Patios & Decks. I like the question because it gives me the chance to share what & why I am reading a particular book.
Books from Psychology, socially, spirituality, history, business, parenting, sports, Calvin & Hobbes, wilderness survival & yes even Better Homes & Garden--all of which allow me to grow as a person.
I read because I like to think. I love the ability to read someone else's' thoughts, process them and force myself to think and discuss why I have the beliefs, convictions & standards that I do. Why do I see things the way I do? Am I missing something? Why didn't I think of that?
Those questions and more fill my head as I go through books.
I love to read because when I read I am forced to think. Think about life and look at my life with certain implications. Even if I know an author has stance on life in some way I will completely disagree with I find it worth my time to read his/her work and have a dialogue about their writings. It keeps me from getting tunnel vision.
Tunnel Vision: the tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited goal or point of view.
I am sorry to say that I tend to see the church develop tunnel vision in areas of life & culture that they shouldn't. Yes, as a pastor I have deep convictions. I have deep convictions that guide my way of life that will not be altered. But I refuse to develop a deep conviction that doesn't have a root in Scripture & Christ.
Which, I will argue, is completely different from having convictions that are from the tradition of Scripture & Christ.
Semantics? Not Really!
Being rooted in Scripture and a revelation by Jesus is much different from being adopted as tradition around what we think Scripture & Jesus says.
Reading anything & viewing it through a "this is how it has always been" mindset can be crippling to God's voice moving in a fresh way. We place God's limits in a certain "box" of move-ability. Who are we to place God in a box? Didn't God create the ability for man to call a box a box? Pretty sure God gave some man the ability to look at 4 equal sides that create a 3D image of a square and label it "BOX". I think that happened around 9700 B.C., but get back to me for that historical data.
We try to place God's workings, movings, speakings, humor, passion in a box called tradition. Traditions can be great. Traditions can teach, support, encourage, speak truths to a current generation of how a former generation dealt with certain matters....but tradition cannot be the only guideline for how things operate. God is personal, therefore God's personal speaking to people in 2011 will look VERY different to his personal speaking to people in 1911.
What if we all read with a fervent desire to be challenge to think? What if we read the Bible with the challenge to be forced to rethink what we've always thought?
Yep that means you'd have to let go of some "traditional ways" you've viewed certain meanings, interpretations & even commentaries on Scripture.
What if you read a family Psychology book written by a Mormon but yet saw God's truth in his writings even if you didn't see your same theological stance in his writings....would you apply those truths in your life?
What if you read a commentary on Isaiah written my a Jewish mystic? And in that commentary you heard more history on how God moved in the Old Testament than you've ever heard in Sunday school, would you believe it?
What if you read Jesus's words in John 15 about being so connected with Him that your life is really no longer yours, but his? What if you gave up your "old way" of living and adopted a "new life"? A new way to handle your kids, marriage, business relationships, check-book...everything!
What if....well I hope you get the point.
I like to read, Do you like to read?
What do you do when you read a book that you don't agree with?
What have you read lately that impacted your life to alter how you live?
What are you reading that I should read?