Monday, December 28, 2009

Reading in 2010

So many books, so little time!  

I'm compiling my 2010 Reading List. I usually do this at the beginning of the year in some form or another...but I'm usually not quite as intentional about it as I am being this year. I tend to stack books "to be read." The larger the stack of unread books, the better I feel, because I know they are there waiting for me at any given moment.  

When I get the time.  

The trouble is, there is so little time.  

And when you stack my spare time next to my stack of unread books, it appears the stack of unread books has already far surpassed the stack of spare time I will have in my life ever again. Hence, the intentionality. My goal for 2010 is to read one book a week. Because, as my friend Scott Jones tweeted yesterday, "Men can live w/out air a few minutes, w/out water for 2 weeks, w/out food for 2 months - and w/out a new thought for years on end." -K Ruth (LOVED that!)  

However...(and herein lies the catch!) my determination and intentionality to consume at least 52 books in 2010, I am more focused than ever before on consuming the Word. It would be interesting as well as scary and horrifying to know how many well-meaning people with an intense hunger to know God were led off the path into the the side roads of humanism, self-adulation, and dependence on abilities and marketing instead of the Spirit, all because of what they fed their mind on a daily basis.  

Every book must be processed through the filter of the Word.  

Every innovative idea must be processed through the filter of the Word.  

Every emphatic re-discovered "truth" must be processed through the filter of the Word.  

Otherwise, our souls will soon become a product of of our culture, and the eternal will be swallowed up in the slick, and our lives will become worthless, empty, clanging bells. But there is no way to process all the new books and ideas through the filter of the Word if we don't KNOW the Word. If it isn't hidden in our hearts. If we don't read it over and over and over again to allow the layers of revelation it contains to overwhelm us fresh and new every morning.  

I don't agree a lot of Eugene Peterson's doctrinal positions. But there are a few things he is so right on about until it makes me want to hug him. And he can express it so much more succinctly than I. So, I'll just let him sum up my little out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new-year thoughts I am having this crisp, cold morning.  

He says, "The blunt reality is that for all our sophistication, learning, and self-study we don't know enough to run our lives. The sorry state of the lives of the many who have taken their own experience as the text for their lives is a damning refutation of the pretensions of the sovereignty of the self. We require a text that reveals what we cannot know by simply pooling the acquired knowledge of the ages. The book, the Bible, reveals the self-revealing God and along with that the way the world is, the way life is, the way we are. We need to know the lay of the land that we are living in.  

...Without this text, [the Bible], firmly established at the authoritative center of our communal and personal lives, we will founder. We will sink into a swamp of well-meaning but ineffectual men and women who are mired unmercifully in our needs and wants and feelings."  

Exactly right, Rev. Mr. Peterson. I couldn't have said it better myself!

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