This morning I attended what I imagine is only the first of many school concerts I will attend as my boys grow up and work their way through the schooling system. I was as proud as any parent in the room (every seat was taken) as I sat beside my wife and younger boy Thomas and watched Oliver sing and try to do the actions on time (especially proud that he wasn’t the kid in the front row center picking his nose, though I am sure his parents were proud too).
Anyways, Thomas was quickly bored; this wasn’t (to his eyes) nearly as interesting as the Raffi concert we attended a few days earlier. It wasn’t long before he was watching the concert through the lens of the smartphone belonging to the woman in front of us. She was recording the whole show (I think my wife did too, I’m not knocking this). The recording was also “playing live” on the screen of her phone. Thomas was mesmerized.
It was predictable.
It was fine. He’s 3.
It got me thinking about how many parts of life we choose to experience as if from a distance via television, Facebook, Netflix, newspapers, etc. and I started to think about my reading patterns. Like many ministers I read the bible regularly but feel guilty that I don’t read it more. Also like many ministers I spend a strange amount of time reading Christian Living and Theology books. I often pass them along or recommend particularly helpful ones to people and I think that the congregants and I here at St. Andrew’s Duncan benefit from this reading.
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books…. This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology.” I confess, I read much more contemporary Christian works than ancient, even if you include the bible as ancient.
I can’t say I will change in this regard anytime soon, I am fascinated with how the Christian life if being lived and understood by people today, especially by people with the patience to sit and write about their lives of faith. And it’s not that I expect many to read heavy theology or the patristic fathers, but I suspect many of us read more Christian Living than live as Christians. I don’t want to be puritanical about any of this, we all live by and in a state of grace, but it strikes me that I may read more about the Christian Life and how to live it, and tricks that have helped others, and insights people have culled from spiritual experiences, than I do actually trying to live these out, gathering experiences of my own, which I may one day (ahem) write about.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. Let no one read the bible for you. Let no one do this work for you, no one can. Reading scripture (daily or otherwise, bible-a-year or otherwise) is about each individual person’s walk of faith. No one can do it for anyone else, no matter how much we can help one another out.
While there are times and seasons for everything, don’t experience the bible second or third hand, at least not most of the time.
Crack open a bible (or bible app) and hear what God has to say to you today.