As you know, I like books. I like reading books and I like talking about books. Given this reality, a number of people from my church (Crossroads) have asked me various questions about my reading habits. Putting them in my own words, the main three are: 1) Have you always been a reader? 2) If not, when did you become a reader? 3) Do you do any recreational reading?
Since these questions were swirling around in my mind as I drove to the church this morning, I thought I’d write it down. Here’s what I came up with.
Have you always been a reader?
No, I have not. Throughout my childhood, adolescence, and the bulk of my teenage years I despised reading. My interests revolved around sports and carousing with my friends. I was headed nowhere fast.
When did you become a reader?
As soon as I became a Christian—literally. Since I wanted to know more about the God who changed my life, I immediately began reading the Bible. Like most people, I thought I would start from the book of Genesis and read through to Revelation. As you might expect, I arrived at Leviticus and didn’t know what to do. One of my pastors told me to start with the gospels and read through the New Testament. I’ve been hooked ever since. And I eventually began to understand Leviticus!
But there’s more to the story. Once I became a Christian, my interests spread into other areas as well. All of a sudden I wanted to pay attention in class in order to see how all things hold together in him (Col. 1:17).
Whereas prior to my conversion I hated math and history, following my conversion, I became interested in these subjects. Additionally, once my pastors informed me that I was to do all things for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17), I all of a sudden wanted to apply myself in school and respect my teachers.
So, I guess you could say God made me a reader.
Do you do any recreational reading?
The question is usually, “Do you read more than theology?” Yes, but it usually still involves reading up on ethics, politics, and cultural issues. But given that I’m pressed for time, I don’t devote a lot of it to recreational reading. I’ve tried novels, but can’t seem to bring myself to finish one. It’s very sad!
My recreational reading is spent enjoying poems in the morning. I take pleasure in seeing how poets pay attention to the world around them, soaking in the present moment, and then beautifully expressing it in words.
My favorite poets are George Herbert, Robert Frost, Jane Kenyon, and Mary Oliver.