Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When Bookishness is Bad

A few day ago I realized that my insatiable appetite for reading may be a bad thing. So I’m in the early days of a month's fast from discretionary reading (other than the Bible and one book I’m almost finished with) to see if my relationship with Jesus improves any.

May be tough, I have a couple of juicy books waiting for me. (Stop laughing.)

But I found a few reasons why I love reading so much.  Books are like ideal friends, so much more appealing to me than people.  I like books in the same way that some people like dogs or cats.  Books are quiet when you are busy, and talk when you need their comfort or advice.  They are available to help 24x7.  Books stay the same, and you can come back as many times as needed to the passages that you want to remember. Worst case, if a book is unhelpful or just plain wrong, you just close it and move on. It cannot hurt you in the way a person can.  Books are normally more organized and less messy than people. You can extract the information you want quickly from a book. Books give, people take.

A book also offer the promise of a better life. Its dust jacket tells me that it will give me the key I’ve been missing to better interpersonal skills, or a better walk with the Lord, or better evangelism skills. 

But somehow books still leave me thirsty.  They never make my life as exciting or satisfying as the dust jacket makes it sound.
And books can be more misleading. The author can present his best side, and fool you into believing his words in a way that would evaporate if you could observe him in real life for five minutes. The theologian might be a jerk to his wife, and the evangelism expert might be neglecting his kids.

So, pray that I persist during this 30 days, and emerge from it different, and more balanced.

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