“I do not like to read.” That was me, twenty-five years ago. I must say, a lot has changed in the last twenty-five years. I have gone from never desiring to read, to reading because I must, to reading in order to educate myself, to where I am today. The today me says, “I enjoy reading, however, I do not read fiction.” It is very true. I really enjoy reading. It has become more than a pleasure for me. And it is also true that I do not read fiction, for a multitude of reasons. I am not anti-fiction, I just don’t have time for it. That’s what movies are for. But I do struggle with the premise behind my love of reading that has developed over the last two decades. I find myself wondering if I am reading because my ministry calling demands it or because I truly enjoy it. It seems my default is to select readings that are almost always in the genre of church history, theology, or biographies of faithful saints. I tend to ask myself, “Self, would you enjoy reading these genres if you were NOT in ministry?” Albeit, I usually do not address myself as “self” but I do have those thoughts. Should I read something else, something economic, political, industrial, philosophical, or maybe even fiction? Yuck. I mean, its not that economy and politics are not interesting to me, but to read those genres is a bit, well, lacking for me.
Truth be told, I am quite at peace with my reading preferences. I find that as I read biographies, books on theology and church history I always receive a tremendous education on economics, philosophy, and even some historical politics along the way. Those never tend to be the primary context of the writings but they are typically covered in the academic efforts of the author in a variety of ways. So, I am not worried about the genres I stick closely to, I find them to be helpful in my ministry calling and satisfying to my mind. I truly believe that this love for reading lands in both the professional category as well as pleasure. They can be synonymous.
I would also like to believe that I would enjoy reading these genres even if the Lord had not called me to ministry. Why? Because I believe reading these types of books is beneficial to the spiritual well-being of every Christian. The constant remembrance of church history and the faithful men and women who have plowed the spiritual road before us can only help ground us and give us joy. Readings on theology and doctrine help keep us firmly planted with the timeless truths that God the Father has graciously revealed to us in His Word. If every Christian found joy in reading books on doctrine, theology, church history, and faithful saints it might be said that we would not find ourselves in quite as many messes when we wrestle with what the church is, who Christians are, and what we believe. So, in light of that, my aim is to keep a running list of books that I am reading during different seasons. I do this in hopes that maybe some of you will join me. Some of these books may be of interest, others may not, but to not partake in the generous writings of so many faithful Christians today would seem to me a missed opportunity for the church. So, join me. Maybe reading is not your interest right now, or it is of little interest. All I can say is this, the more I read, the more I enjoy reading.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Spring/Summer Reading List:
R. Albert Mohler Jr., The Apostles’ Creed.
Edmund P. Clowney, The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament.
C.H. Spurgeon’s Sermons, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Volume 10, 1864.
Stephen J. Nichols, A Time For Confidence: Trusting God in a Post-Christian Society.
Matt Boswell, Doxology & Theology: How the Gospel Forms the Worship Leader.
Gerald Bay, Augustine: on the Christian Life.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors.
Timothy George, Reading Scripture with the Reformers.
Robert H. Thune, Gospel Eldership: Equipping A New Generation of Servant Leaders.