Something that I’ve noticed around Church world is that we tend to limit our reading to only things that are exclusively Christian in label. If it isn’t sold by Lifeway or another Christian bookstore then we shouldn’t be reading it. Granted, this isn’t a blanket truth; not all Christians have this mindset but quite a few of us do, which is what I’ve noticed. One of the greatest practices we could adopt as believers is to read books and articles that will stretch us, mentally and spiritually.
When I was in college one of my professors required us to read The Da Vinci Code for one of our theology classes. Yes, Dan Brown’s book is filled with heretical ideas and claims but I wouldn’t have known that unless I had read it. I might have come to that conclusion from someone else’s review of it but I wouldn’t have been challenged to confirm my beliefs in certain parts of Christ’s nature and story from reading it.
In another theology class we were required to read Communist Manifesto to see an example of a well-written explanation of beliefs that weren’t a doctrinal statement. Some people might flip at the idea of reading a Communist writing but it stretched us and I learned about the strength of logical ordering from reading it.
As you read to stretch yourself remember two things:
- Eat the meat, spit out the bones. Consume what is good food for thought and don’t adopt what fails to resonate with you.
- Never fully adopt everything that a writer says. The only one whose words are worthy of our absolute acceptance is Christ. Period. Even if they’re you’re favorite writer, they’re human and they are capable of being wrong.
How much of what you read is also important. It’s hard to maintain a solid grasp on what God has called us to embrace and believe if we aren’t spending quality regular time in His Word. It’s hard to be stretched if you’re not anchored someplace first.
Read to stretch yourself and keep from being shrunk into a pigeon-hole of opinions and ideas. As believers we are called to engage our minds and our hearts for the sake of Christ. Give your brain a workout. Read something that will stretch you.