Reading

I recently read the following quote from Gene Edward Veith on Josh Sowin’s blog “Fire and Knowledge”

(http://www.fireandknowledge.org/archives/category/books/)

“The habit of reading is absolutely critical today, particularly for Christians. As television turns our society into an increasingly image-dominated culture, Christians must continue to be people of the Word. When we read, we cultivate a sustained attention span, an active imagination, a capacity for logical analysis and critical thinking, and a rich inner life. Each of these qualities, which have proven themselves essential to a free people, is under assault in our TV-dominated culture. Christians, to maintain their Word-centered perspective in an image-driven world, must become readers.” - Gene Edward Veith, Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), p. xiv

On my mind today are all of the books I haven’t read, but should have. I’m a fairly well-read person, but there some gaping holes in my education – including knowledge of the classics and philosophy. I’d be interested in hearing about your personal reading program. Do you plan to read books and follow through? Do you intentionally read more and more broadly? How do you decide what to read? Your comments are welcome

7 comments:

MattFowler said...

Piper. McArthur. Whitefield's journals. Edward's works. I love to read but do not do it enough. At times, I probably read to many books and not enough of THE book. Also, do you think it is better to master a few books, or read broadly over several different books?

Brian G. Hedges said...

I feel a contant tension between the need to read broadly and the need to master a few. The books I've most benefited from are the ones I've read at least twice and maybe three times.

But I started realizing a couple of years ago that most of what I was reading (I could almost duplicate your list) I already agreed with and already knew. I wasn't being stretched in my thinking. So, I've started reading much more widely the last couple of years - including lots that I don't agree with. New authors have been Dallas Willard, N. T. Wright, Brian MacLaren, Eugene Peterson, and G. K. Chesterton. All of them have challenged me in some helpful ways and all of them have said things that I would radically disagree with.

Lately, I'm wishing I had a classical education. We're going to homeschool our kids and want to give them a classical education, but I myself have never read Homer, Plato, Virgil, etc. (or not with any depth). Plus, there are several major theological topics that I feel the need to read multiple books on (from both sides of the fence) in order to be well-informed and not just parrot the opinions of my heroes.

With all of that said, I concur, that there is a danger of reading so many books that we neglect THE book. So, another goal for me is to read the Bible through yearly. I did last year, but am way behind on the Old Testament this year (already finished the new). . .

Brian G. Hedges said...

I feel a contant tension between the need to read broadly and the need to master a few. The books I've most benefited from are the ones I've read at least twice and maybe three times.

But I started realizing a couple of years ago that most of what I was reading (I could almost duplicate your list) I already agreed with and already knew. I wasn't being stretched in my thinking. So, I've started reading much more widely the last couple of years - including lots that I don't agree with. New authors have been Dallas Willard, N. T. Wright, Brian MacLaren, Eugene Peterson, and G. K. Chesterton. All of them have challenged me in some helpful ways and all of them have said things that I would radically disagree with.

Lately, I'm wishing I had a classical education. We're going to homeschool our kids and want to give them a classical education, but I myself have never read Homer, Plato, Virgil, etc. (or not with any depth). Plus, there are several major theological topics that I feel the need to read multiple books on (from both sides of the fence) in order to be well-informed and not just parrot the opinions of my heroes.

With all of that said, I concur, that there is a danger of reading so many books that we neglect THE book. So, another goal for me is to read the Bible through yearly. I did last year, but am way behind on the Old Testament this year (already finished the new). . .

MattFowler said...

I will tell you who is great at being read on both sides of the fences. It is Al Mohler of Southern Seminary. I think that guy reads everything under the sun. But, he is sharp in battling the enemy by using the Scriptures to dissect whatever argument they may be holding to on a particular subject. Oswald Sanders has a good chapter on reading in his book on spiritual leadership. He quotes John Wesley as telling a group of young guys in the ministry to "read or get out of the ministry." What a great encouragement to those guys and to myself. He also makes the point that reading is the key to connecting with some of the great saints of old and learning from them in a way that is no longer available since they have gone on to be with Christ. I was wondering if you might have a top five list of books that have impacted your life? Let me know!

Joshua Sowin said...

Brian: If you want a "classical education", you can always purchase the fantastic set Great Books of the Western Civilization and dig in! It might take you 5-10 years, but you still have time! Of course, there is more to it than just reading, but that is certainly a start.

Blessings on your future homeschool endeavor!

Brian G. Hedges said...

Josh,

You know I actually saw that recommendation on your blog a couple of days ago and have been thinking of purchasing that set.

Have you read through it? Did you get it through homeschooling or do it on your own as an adult?

Joshua Sowin said...

One of my majors in my (incomplete) college education was History of Ideas, where we read through the "great books." I only had one class left, so I almost finished them. I only bought the set after, but plan on going through many of them again. I'm looking forward to homeschooling my own children (when God gives them to us!) and will read through them again when them.