On reading Christian books…

Jim has been posting quotes from Organic Church, and Mark raised an interesting point in a comment he made there:

In our contemporary culture of fast-paced, attention-deficit, multi-tasking life, unfortunately a lot of people feel the need to cut corners. One of the ways I see people shortchanging themselves on a daily basis is in turning to a cheap summary of information instead of bothering to delve into the murky details of true experience…so often we settle for life’s Cliff Notes instead of taking in and enjoying the artistry of the epic adventure that life offers.

This quote supports a criticism I’ve often made about the so-called “Christian Living” books that flood the market. Reading them is like opting for Cliff Notes instead of diving into the actual “classic” book: the scriptures themselves. We can’t expect to really know and understand any book unless we have the vital experience that comes with sitting down and actually engaging it. This reminds me of that milk/meat metaphor…where was that again? ๐Ÿ™‚

This echoes the admonition given by the Puritan Richard Baxter:

Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy scriptures ever have the pre-eminence, and, next to them, those solid, lively, heavenly treatises which best expound and apply the scriptures, and next, credible histories, especially of the Church . . . but take heed of false teachers who would corrupt your understandings.

There is an excellent post over at challies.com titled, By Our Books Shall We Be Known that I encourage you to read.

So what are you reading?

On this day...


  1. Jim says:
    “Organic Church” – Neil Cole
    “Revolution” – George Barna

  2. Mark W. says:
    Jeff – Thanks for the link. Speaking of “Christian” books, I am now reading a doozy – The Conservative Mind, by Russell Kirk. The thing is, this book is not a “Christian” publication, it is a classic, influential book in general, but is “Christian” from a moral standpoint. In my opinion, more books like this should be written and published in the general (read “secular”) marketplace. A separate “Christian” publishing industry often serves only to insulate and dissociate Christian discourse from scoiety at large – and then we wonder why the secular world is so morally impoverished.

    BTW – I have wanted to peruse the recent book “Blue Like Jazz.” Does anyone have a handy copy I could borrow? I promise to give it back in a reasonable amount of time. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jeff says:
    Jim, I’ve read Revolution. Liked it at the time. Nothing major revealed – more of a big sigh that said, “Yep, that’s what’s going on.” (and Barna makes money off it!) Gotta read Organic Church

    Mark, I’ve got a copy. Will put it in my vehicle, so next time you see me, ask me about it!

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