When people ask Pastor Tim Keller why he reads so much, he simply says, “I’m desperate.” Keller is desperate for insight to help himself and others. I resonate deeply with this sentiment. In fact, it seems very odd to me that any Christian, especially pastors and those in full-time vocational ministry, would be needing to explain/justify the need to read. I should also say that I am constantly stunned by how many pastors and those in full-time vocational, Christian ministry do not read or read books not worthy of their time.
I was recently asked by a friend about my own reading habits. Here is what I told him:
I usually have a book with me wherever I go. I have them for appointments so don’t mind at all when someone is late! If I have a package to take to the post office, a book will be with me. And the DMV or waiting for a haircut are great times to read. You get the picture. There are lots of places/times to redeem the time.
On top of these haphazard things, I read intentionally 50-60 important books per year and peruse hundreds. The 50-60 include lots of highlighting, marginalia, and then sifting out what is most beneficial for teaching, discipleship, and writing projects. I also read several dozen journal or magazine articles.
As I get older, I am rereading the most formative books in my own personal canon. So The Great Divorce was recently reread. Interestingly, C.S. Lewis famously said legitimate readers are re-readers of important books. I think that is true.
Of course, I am always reading Scripture which this year means 2-4 chapters of meditative reads with note taking and highlighting. Scripture memory and review are daily disciplines which go back over forty years ago to my early college days. Then ten verses of my Greek NT along with some vocabulary review and basic grammar.
People regularly mention that I have a good memory. I think that is true to some extent. However, let it be known that review, review, review is a major staple of my life.
Yesterday, I preached a sermon to the wonderful folks at Brenham Bible Church. The sermon was titled “What’s in a Word.” My sermon focused on the three words: faith, hope, and love. I showed from God’s Word how these three are commonly misunderstood…even by many of us Christians.
During my preparation I pondered how the popular saying “I am a person of faith” bothers me. My musings during the recent preparations surfaced a new twist to my dislike of that saying.
Think about it for a minute. Every human being, whether they are religious or not, is a “person of faith.” Non-religious folks gladly place their faith daily in everything from elevators to cars. And, of course, they place their faith in themselves!
Saying you are a “person of faith” is about as meaningful as saying you are a person.
Christians believe that they place their faith IN God. It is the object of our faith that makes all the difference in the world.
Marilyn McEntyre is a gifted wordsmith. She is also a keen observer of the grand and the obscure. This book showcases both those things.
McEntyre shows how slowing down and doing something as simple as making a list can lead to profound discoveries about one’s self, others, and the world one lives in.
A delightful book!
Brilliant piece by Alan Jacobs (HT: John Fea)
“Social media was not invented to make you better. It was invented to make the companies money.”
HT: Tim Ferriss blog
Perhaps you have noticed that the book icon for Pooping Elephants, Mowing Weeds: What Business Gurus Failed to Tell You does not take you to Amazon. Well, that shall soon be remedied. Pooping Elephants, Mowing Weeds…will be released this March in ebook format for less than two bucks.
This was a fun and gratifying ebook to write. Like many ebooks, it is short at about 7,500 words. I believe it offers some needed perspective, especially for those who are in the business community.
My dear friend, John Freeman, sent me the idiotic reflections of someone commenting on a recent tragedy. The following words quickly congealed in my mind:
We presume, assume, and finally consume our pathetic speculations.
“Sometimes it’s nice to learn that a psychological phenomenon has a name, if only so I no longer have to think of it as Me Being Uniquely Irrational And Self-Defeating. So it is with the Diderot effect – which, I learned recently (via Lifehacker), is the term for when you buy something new, but then it makes your other possessions look timeworn by comparison, so you end up replacing them, too. The inspiration here is Denis Diderot’s 1769 essay Regrets For My Old Dressing Gown, in which he recounts being given a luxurious replacement. “My old robe was one with the other rags that surrounded me,” Diderot laments. But “all is now discordant”. Before long, he’s obliged to replace his furniture and paintings as well: “I was the absolute master of my old robe. I have become the slave of the new one.”