When I was in high school I hated to read. I would have rather done anything else but read. “Reading is boring!” I would complain. So, every year, when the summer reading assignments would be released, I would be forced to go to the bookstore with my mom and buy some books. The thing is, though she bought them, I never read them. I would get online, and search for book summaries, and hope that I could complete the assignments without reading the book. And for the most part, it worked. I read only one book, cover to cover, throughout my entire high school career. Night by Elie Wiesel. Kids, please do not follow my example. Read your assigned books!
I’m not sure when my book neglect started. Must have been middle school. I was not always a book hater. As a child, I used to love to read Berenstain Bears books, Dr. Seuss, and the like. Then as I progressed, I loved reading The Boxcar Children and Goosebumps. And even still, as my interests changed, I loved reading a line of Sports Illustrated for Kids sports stars’ biographies. But then it all changed.
Thankfully, my love for reading returned. I’m not sure if it was maturity. Or maybe the rebellion just died down. Or maybe it was the six months that I worked as a custodian in a library. I don’t know, but I love books now. My favorite books are mainly written on the topics of theology and Christianity. But I also love a good fiction every now and again.
But the point of today’s blog is to mention a book I finished last week, Reading for the Common Good by C. Christopher Smith.
Reading for the Common Good is a book about books. A book about reading. But more than just reading. The book explores the concept than churches (individuals collectively) that read together will grow closer with one another, as they advance together. My absolute favorite quote, actually comes from the Epilogue: “God created us with an innate curiosity, which fuels our desire to learn and propels us into our calling as disciples. Self-improvement and self-fulfillment, however, are not the primary end toward which our desires to learn are driving us. Rather, God created us to learn in order to share our wisdom and be drawn into deeper connection with other.” (Page 145)
I forget where I heard the quote originally, but “leaders are learners” and one of the best ways to learn is to read. Because if you are a leader, you should always be seeking to learn more and grow more. Yourself, your church, your family, your company, and all the people around you. But same goes for those who don’t consider themselves to be leaders. For the church to grow together, in knowledge and relationship, reading can be the catalyst. Start with Scripture, and grow into a full range of books.
If you love reading, go buy this book, or come to my office and borrow it (please don’t dog-ear my pages, haha!). It’s an easy read, only 150 pages, with an included book list in the back. Also, take a moment to check out C. Christopher Smith’s church’s book review at http://englewoodreview.org/
What I’m currently reading:
Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren (Great book! Almost done)
My personal favorites:
Christian: The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
Fiction: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Commentary: The Gospel of Matthew (NICNT) by R.T. France