What are you Reading?

OK, we’ve all had our Quarantine fun, right? Started a garden? Named a sourdough starter? Whipped up some Dalgona coffee? Watched all of the Marvel movies?

For some of us, the extra time has been precious, even productive. In fact, in a survey of our staff this week, many of them reported that they felt more productive at home than they did in the office: more tasks, but less interaction. The pace of life slowed down as the world ground to a halt.

But for some of us–for me, actually, the limited engagement and activity left me feeling restless and more than a little distracted. Some things have gone well–working out, reading my Bible, and consistently eating nachos, for example. Other things have gone, well, not so well–victims of my distraction–cleaning my floors, writing on this blog, and extra reading. When our office sent everyone to work remotely in the spring, I took home armloads of books–and didn’t read a single word.

At first, it seemed like we were just going to be inconvenienced by COVID for a couple of weeks, then a couple of months, and now, honestly, who knows? So, it is time to start writing and reading again. (But let’s be frank, the floors can always wait).

As I was looking recently at my stacks of books, I found a note card with some advice scribbled on it–advice that I had given to students at a roundtable at the university. And so, as I remind myself to read well, I hope these thoughts are helpful for you, too!

Recognize the value of reading. Reading can be beneficial for all areas of life: for work, for teaching others, for edification, for fun, for conviction, for creativity. It stretches your mind, raises questions, promotes creativity, challenges you to think deeper and broader. Reading increases your vocabulary and decreases your blood pressure. It transports you to different worlds, no mask required.

Plan to read. As COVID days have proved, if you don’t plan to read, it won’t happen. Plan a time to read. I use the early morning to read my Bible, and try to read other books for about a half hour every night right before I go to sleep. Plan what to read. Without a plan, you can get stuck in one author. More John Newton? Yes, please! But also maybe some John Piper. . . and maybe a touch of John Grisham.

Vary your reading selections. Various genres are powerful as they begin to interact together with your daily life. Business leadership, commentaries, counseling books, poetry, fiction, all swirl together to enrich your understanding and bring creative thinking to the tasks before you. Biographies and books of history protect from chronological snobbery, and missionary blogs keep you on your knees.

Exercise discernment when you read. Learn to recognize bad theology and empty worldviews. People! In 2020, anyone may now publish anything their heart desires, whether it is beneficial to any reader or not. For the last century, much ink has been spilled entertaining Christian readers–especially women–with lighthearted romance. These books are like cotton candy–enjoyable once in awhile on a holiday, but deadly when consumed daily. Lite prosperity gospel and verbal pornography will do little to aid growth in godliness. (Step down from soapbox here.)

In short, Lisa–and dear reader–read well. It’s important.

I’m working remotely again this week, enjoying a different setting gifted by my friends. What a blessing to tamp down the restless distraction! And you had better believe I brought a couple of armloads of books along. So now I’m headed off to read a leadership text called The Book of Beautiful Questions. Or maybe that spy novel. . .

What are you reading?

2 comments

  1. […] This weekly hour-long nerd chat covers, well, life and books and everything. Have you ever considered the impact of Midwesterner’s cultural transitions when they move to the South? You will find that here. What about how an individual church’s decision impacts other congregations? Can I have Russian novels for 500 please, Alex? Here. What? Steve Nichols is publishing a biography of RC Sproul? Of course he is! How can the church think Biblically about mom-shaming and infertility. Football? Sure, but not so much that even I lose interest. Disagreeing gracefully? Yep. And the books, oh, the BOOKS! As if I ever needed any more incentive to add to the unread piles. . . […]

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