Posts Tagged ‘reading’
With a fresh year begun, I’m already looking forward to setting my reading plan out for the year. There are two particular books I’m anxious to read.
I also continue to plod through Thomas Boston’s 12 volume works. In addition to those I plan on embarking on a study of CS Lewis’ works in 2009.
What are you excited about reading this year? Any suggestions about any other books I should be excited about?
I love reading aloud to my kids. They love it too. Of course they love it in different ways. My 6 year old usually sits right next to me on the floor in rapt attention occasionally asking his loquacious brothers to please be quiet–though the please isn’t always included. My 4 year old generally chooses reading time to expend all left over energy from the day. This usually includes covering every square inch of his bedroom with leaps, bounds, and general mayhem. He is however listening and often proves it by interrupting at key moments to ask questions. My two year old listens less but snuggles more. He generally sits in my lap, not so much to listen to the story but to be close to his daddy. My one year old is more oblivious and spends reading time exploring his brothers’ room with his new found skill–walking.
Each in their own way, my boys love listening to me read and I love reading to them. We’ve been through the Narnia series and are now almost finished with the Lord of Rings trilogy. We actually began in The Hobbit and have read straight through. I love that my boys are growing up in Middle Earth. I primarily love the times we spend in family worship studying the Bible but our secondary family stories of Aragorn, Ents, and Gandalf are sweet to a father’s soul.
I know I am only becoming vaguely aware of the power of stories in my own life. I always loved nonfiction and intentionally majored in Chemistry to stay away from literature and history. But reading to my children has changed my attitude to the whole thing. I frequently get so caught up in reading that I have to stop for a minute finding my throat choked up with the thrill of plot or the poignant truthfulness of the moment. My boys take note of daddy’s wavering voice and learn about bravery in battle, virtue towards women, and love for friends–and they’re learning how to feel about these things.
I love reading to my boys. I hope to make it a long standing family tradition. For whatever reason Middle Earth has become our staple. I couldn’t be happier. I close simply by asking, “Where are you children growing up?”
For further reading
I received an Amazon Kindle for my birthday. Whenever someone asks me, “What is that?”, I respond, “an iPod for books.” That seems to get the gist across in as few words as possible. So I come to ask the question, “Can the Kindle change the church?” I’ll spend some posts over the next few weeks trying to answer the questions.
Notice, first off that I’m not saying the Kindle will change the church. I’m simply asking the question whether it could change the church. It may end up being the next techno flash-in-the-pan gadget-ma-thingy to occupy the top shelf of your coat closet.
Or maybe not.
I begin on the premiss that the iPod has definitively changed the church, at least the American manifestation of the church. Think back BiP–Before iPod. How much music did you listen to in a day? How many sermons did you listen to in a week? How familiar were you with music artists–Christian or not? How familiar were you with preachers and churches?
Now think AiP–Anno iPod. Ask yourself the same questions. There is no doubt that the vast number of Americans who own iPods–which is no minority–would say their knowledge of music and spoken word has drastically increased simply because they own an iPod.
Podcasting and Vodcasting are completely the product of the iPod revolution. Churches and Events can broadcast their content like never before. An audience used to be limited to seating capacity and those willing to dole out money for CD orders. Now audiences extend to the thousands as soon as audio is posted on the internet.
Music and preaching are exponentialy more accessible than ever before all because of a little ol’ company called Apple, Inc.
Now lets get back to my original definition of a Kindle: an iPod for books. Could the Kindle have as much influence on your reading as the iPod did on your listening? The potential is certainly there.
I love good Christian literature. As a pastor, I am saddened by how little of classic Christian literature is actually read by Christians today. Whether through the Kindle or otherwise, I long to see reading revived among the people of God.
I happen to think the Kindle might just help.
The concept of a summer reading list is somewhat humorous. It seems that the only people who actually do “summer reading” are people who are involved in academia. I’m guessing that scholars and students make up a small percentage of the population over the age of 22. Nevertheless, June through August have become a cultural reading fest. Though my reading really doesn’t change throughout the year, I thought I’d list some books I hope to finish this summer.
- Calvin’s Institutes – I have read all of the Institutes before just not straight through. I hope to remedy that in the coming month as I’m plowing into book three today.
- Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood – This is Piper and Grudem’s definitive work on complementarianism. The more I do pastoral ministry the more I realize gender issues are going to be major topics of discussion within the church for the next 30 years.
- The Bible – Why doesn’t anybody put the Bible on their reading list?
- The smattering of books I received from Together For the Gospel - I’ve been chipping through these in between the bigger works I’ve been reading.
- Thomas Boston’s sermons on the Shorter Catechism – These comprise volumes one and two of his Works. They are gold!
What about you? What books are you planning on reading over the next few months?
I have been a devout fan of Robert Murray M’Chyene’s Bible reading plan. I’ve used it sporadically since I discovered it in seminary. But I found a number of difficulties with the plan–or rather my ability to follow it.
- Major and minor life events (moves, birth of children, vacations) would cause me to miss a few days. Due mainly to my personality, I couldn’t just allow those days to be skipped. So I ended up trying to dig myself out of the “devotion debt” that I had wracked up.
- It was beneficial to read in four different places of the Bible daily but I never saw the big picture of single books. I could trace major redemptive historical themes but struggled with running themes in particular books.
So, this year I decided to do something different and try to read as much of the Bible as possible by attempting to read individual books of the Bible in one sitting. I was hoping this would give me a feel for each book and at the same time keep a pace that would put a ton of Bible in my head. My plan was as follows:
- Read each book of the Bible in entirety and in one sitting–as was possible. For example, I read Titus this morning. For larger books–like Isaiah–I have to set aside more time or just read over successive days.
- Time myself as I read each book keeping a running log of how long it takes me to read through each book of the Bible. This way, if I know how much time I have to spend reading my Bible on any given morning, I can select a book I know I can finish in a single sitting.
- Read through the Old Testament in the order of the Hebrew Canon. This roughly places histories first, prophets second, and wisdom/poetry third. I’ve found this chronological and genre specific reading make reading the Old Testament more coherent and interesting.
- Aim to finish the whole Bible but don’t be afraid to reread books based on time constraints or interest.
Now that half the year is over, it is a good time for a status check on this Bible reading program.
- So far I’ve read through the entire Bible once, with many multiple readings of particular books–especially the Pauline epistles.
- I seem to have the Old Testament more “in hand” than I ever have in all my years of Bible study.
- I love the flexibility of this reading plan. Some morning I just needed to hear the succinct gospel. I feel perfectly comfortable on those morning simply reading Galatians or Romans. Some mornings I only have 15 minutes to spare. I know on those mornings that I can choose from 20 or so Bible books that can be read in less than 15 minutes.
- I have never read this much Bible in this short of time before. I thought at first that I would lose comprehension. This has not been the case. I still take time to think on specific verses but they are more appropriately set in the context of the whole book.
- I have been reminded that the Bible is a book. Etymologists will laugh at the end of that last sentence. Of course, the Bible is a book. Yet I often forget that it is a book. Like all books, specific sections carry great import but the work was meant to be read from front to back. Letters are meant to be read from “dear…” to “love, so-and-so”.
I add this description for any who have hit the mid-year slump with their Bible reading progam begun in January. The plan I describe above can be begun at anytime.
Or maybe you’ve never thought to begin a Bible reading plan. You read The Shack or The Last Lecture but your Bible grows dusty on the shelf. Why not pick up the greatest book ever written–still the number one seller–and read it. Read it front to back. Take it on vacation with you and read it at the beach. Read it in the evenings before you turn out the light. Just read it.
And as a last exhortation, make sure your reading plan does not become an idol. We read the Bible to see and savor Christ. We read the Bible to search out the blood stains from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22. You are not reading the Bible to check off a list or complete a plan. You are reading it to commune with the living God.
They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32
I’m back from vacation and catching up on some blog reading. Here is the first installment of some things you should note well (nota bene).
Led Zeppelin – Carl Trueman responds to a Ref21 reader’s question about Trueman’s love of Led Zeppelin. As a Led Zepplin fan, I especially appreciated his response.
Blogging? – Michael Haykin briefly tries to answer what blogs
are should be for.