Ahhh… books. Summer’s here, and for a lot of people, that means a stack of paperbacks and a beach towel. As always, I used my summer birthday to get a small pile of wanna-read, need-to-read, and gotta-read titles; the only problem is deciding what to tackle first! Tim Challies’ blog has a fantastic 2016 reading challenge (I know, I know, I’m a little late). But I actually did list out a dozen books I wanted to get to this year, and slowly, I’m working my way through them. On my list? Les Misérables (thought it would be tough but I’m loving it!), Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard (started it and lost steam), Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry (really great — now I’m reading some of his poetry, which is even better), The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King (it is staring at me from the bookshelf), Tim Keller’s book on prayer.
One on my list I’ve been chipping away at on and off for a few years. It’s called Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups, edited by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith — two guys from one of those little Quaker colleges in the midwest. Michael assigned it for a class, and I’ve been meandering through it ever since.
I LOVE this book. When I finish it I’m going to have to go back to the beginning and do it again. Here’s the thing. When you find an author or a style that you like, you tend to go back again and again, and maybe, after some time, you find yourself kind of stuck in a rut. You read people who think like you. You start to hear all of the same conversations repeated by new voices. Yeah? You can relate, right? But this book is a survey of some pretty stinking amazing people over the span of 2,000 years of history. It’s devotional, so you can dip a toe in without committing to the diving board (hello, 1,200 pages of Les Mis). It’s a perfect kick-start to reading the Bible, just the right length for a cup of coffee.
Some of these folks are deep end of the pool thinkers (OK, most of them are.) Some are mystics. Some are poets. Some are missionaries, scholars, monks, people the world was not worthy of (and yet the world has forgotten.) There are folks in here who strike me as flat-out crazy and others who make me weep, people who challenge my assumptions and my complacency. I could crank through this book in a short time, but I’d rather keep going my lazy way through, because there are words in this book that float around in my mind for a week or two if I don’t rush past.
Hmm… let me give you a few quotes to chew on.
What if a few pages a day could change your life? What are you reading?