I have four books sitting on my desk that are ready to be read. Some of them have been on my desk for a while. They have not gathered dust (because they keep getting moved around to make space). But they have not been opened in anger or engaged with in a meaningful way.
It seems a bit rude. Like inviting some people around for a meal and then not listening to anything that they have to say. The four books are quite different in content and subject matter:
- Real Scientists Real Faith – 18 esteemed scientists talk about the difference their faith makes to their scientific practice and their science makes to their faith
- God on Mute (Pete Greig) – engaging the silence of unanswered prayer
- Love Wins (Rob Bell) – looking at big questions of life and death
- The Fourfold Leadership of Jesus (Andrew Watson) – leading as Jesus led
My only problem is that I have not got the time I need to sit down and read them. I reckon that if I read book 4 there may be some guidance about taking time out to refresh. I reckon that if I read book 1 there may be some inspiration about how research supports and strengthens science and faith. I reckon if I read book 2 there may be something there for me about asking God for answers. I reckon if I read book 3 there may be something there about needing to dig deeper.
I know I need to read more than my Bible and books I use to prepare sermons. I want to. But there are so many other things going on that this is one of the things that gets squeezed out. I have tried putting it in my diary but then it can get pushed out by the need to visit someone.
I have tried putting them beside my bed and reading them at night but that is not a good idea if I want to think about what I am reading when I am trying to calm my brain down, or if I want to remember what I have read the next day.
I have tried leaving the pile next to my computer so I see them whenever I log on to write this blog, but they have turned into a handy-sized pile on which to rest my Bible. Somehow it seems self-indulgent to spend time reading.
If I am not being fed as a Pastor how can I expect to feed others? That was a lesson we had drummed into us as trainee ministers and I know the truth of this. So this is by way of a New Day’s Resolution. I am going to spend more time reading to bless, edify, encourage, inspire, challenge and expand my soul.
One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the monkey was reading two books – the Bible and Darwin’s The Origin of Species. In surprise he asked the ape, “Why are you reading both those books”?
“Well,” said the monkey, “I just wanted to know if I was my brother’s keeper or my keeper’s brother.”