In 1925 an American media circus descended on the small town of Dayton, Tn. when the town attempted to prosecute a schoolteacher for the use of Charles Darwin’s Origen of Species, that functioned as an important catalyst for the theory of evolution. Newspapers presented the spectacle as reason v. religion. Since that time many Christians have hunkered down in an anti-intellectual posture that leaves many to assume that Christianity is a “faith-thing” and walks a path void of reason and thought.
God is the author and designer of our minds. He made us to be thinking people. When Christians fail to think, our faith is not strengthened but weakened. I remember when I was writing my doctoral dissertation, we moved to a new church. My predecessor had retired and had no children at home. He did all of his study at home, which made for a nice and clean church office. I came to the church with 3 children and writing the last few chapters of my dissertation. On a given day I had articles, books, and drafts all over the desk and occasionally even on the office floor. This drove the precious lady tasked with cleaning the church close to hysteria. One day she rebuked me, “A cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind!” In a moment of clarity, weakness, and sarcasm, I responded, “Then what do you think an empty desk signals?” She was not impressed, but I stand by my observation.
Too many believers have empty minds because we refuse to engage life at the fundamental level of thought. In order to do this we must read, think, and write and do these at times in different orders. It seems, however, that reading is the step that gets the whole process moving best. We need to read. Of course we need to read the Bible. This is basic to who we are and how we think. I have heard of people who will read nothing but the Bible. I appreciate their devotion, but I humbly believe that they are missing the point. Our faith can grow from the aid of good books. Here are 10 reasons I think we Christians should read good books.
We should read because when we read…
- We learn things that challenge our thinking.
- We learn things that confirm our thoughts.
- We learn things that expand our thoughts.
- We learn things we never knew.
- We read inspiring stories.
- We learn about dangers in life.
- We learn new ways to express old truths.
- We learn about bad thought patterns that must be challenged.
- We learn about the details of God, faith, and history.
- We learn how to articulate truth in ways that penetrate into the heart of our culture.
Our decisions about what to read, when to read, and how much to read may vary, but the decision that we read should be consistent.
David Outlaw, Pastor