I’ve shared in the past that I’m a bookworm. I love to read. I tend to read about 10 books a month. Yes, that’s a lot. I’m a fast reader. I usually have several books on the go at any given time. And I like talking about books, often engaging in conversation with friends about our preferences, our recommendations, our dislikes. I use stories from books in my sermons, I share books with people I think will enjoy them. I’m a member of an online bookclub, I’m playing a book-geek-BINGO game with some friends on Facebook. My shelves are full, there are stacks on the floor, one corner of my couch is covered with books.
Books are a significant part of my everyday life, so they are a significant part of my Christian life. The connection is easy to make when I’m reading theology or Christian literature. The connection isn’t always so easy in non-Christian books – I have to seek out ways in which the story or plot or argument fits with my faith. For example, when reading ecological books I am trying to better understand the created world so that I might try harder to care for God’s creation. When I’m reading general fiction, I seek out people’s interactions searching for Christian messages – of grace, love, peace, forgiveness, etc.
What about you, dear reader? Are you a reader? Do you have a favourite book that you want to share in this forum? Is there an unexpected gem waiting to be read by a wider audience? I’m always eager for new reads: what book do you recommend as a must-read for a Christian, and why?
I’ll start. I recently finished Jim Carroll’s “The Petting Zoo” – his final book, published posthumously. It’s a story of an artist losing his way. He’s plagued by a talking raven which encourages him to go back into his memories to discover how his past is influencing his present, and future. Needless to say, this reminds me of our present season of Lent and the invitation to examine our own lives. Billy, the main character, ends up going too deep into himself, however, and in the end this self-inflicted seclusion proves to be overwhelmingly detrimental. His last desperate attempt at self-expression leaves him popular in culture but empty inside. I found messages of the need for moderation in all things. There’s a theme of returning to the scriptures (the raven repeatedly references Biblical events). There’s a cautionary note of rejecting those who are meant to help us, of the helplessness we fall into without faith. While the book was nothing like what I was expecting, it was certainly a timely read during this Lenten season of self-reflection and self-awareness.
Now it’s your turn…