Whenever people ask me what I am reading, my first reaction is a long pause. Yes, I do read a lot, but more and more, I am rereading a lot. I am reading again great classics of the Christian faith. I am reading Reinhold Niebuhr. I am reading Richard Niebuhr, A.W. Tozer and of course, there is always C.S. Lewis.
I am finding again the great depth of theology and biblical thinking that is hiding in these great texts. The reading isn’t easy. The words and phrasing is a little dated and sometimes frustrating, but still with all of that, the richness of the truth discovered is worth the slow pace through the book. I have grown tired of books that seem to have been written during lunch, books that tie Jesus to the latest fad of the culture (would Jesus wear jeans?), or books telling me about a new program to reach a different target group. These books seem to come out every hour. I understand the need to adapt the presentation of the gospel to the sub-culture that you might be addressing, but we have so bought into the marketing approach to church (18-35 year olds do it this way, 15-18 years olds do it another way) that we forget the commonness of our humanity. For all of our superficial differences, we are amazingly similar underneath it all. We are all broken and lonely and Jesus answers it all. I don’t mean to sound simplistic, but the genius of the gospel is its simplicity. We have made it way too complicated.
So I am simplifying my reading…and by the way, most of my reading is Scripture. The more time I spend with the Bible the more fascinating the Book becomes. I have been studying the Bible long enough now to begin to see the subtle textures of the writing and the brilliance of the way these writers were used by God to bring His truth to us. I have grown to love reading entire narratives in one sitting (David’s life story, the story of Joseph or Daniel) or entire books at one time. This is the most important reading I do. So, I guess I would suggest that all of us just start reading the Bible instead of all those books about the Bible.