“I can’t remember the last time I read a book…I’ve probably only read a few books in my life and those were all in school. I’m just not a reader.” I simply don’t get statements like these. Most I have heard are offered with a chuckle and sometimes even an air of boasting. I realize that certain seasons may be difficult to find time for reading, but those should be rare. Like anything worth doing, reading takes some effort and discipline on our part, but such struggle is not without its benefits. It gets easier and it gets much better. Not too mention it is a proven way to relax, to lower blood pressure, to learn, to develop your emotions, and to stimulate your imagination.
And if you’re a Christian, here’s the deal: not all readers are Christians. But I do think all Christians should be readers. The foundation of our faith is the Bible, which is a book that must be read. If we hate reading or if we just aren’t readers, what does that mean for our reading of the Bible? I’m fairly certain it’s not positive. And what about the wealth of teaching and encouragement that God has given to his people throughout the ages that have been written down for us? Now don’t feel like you must jump into the proverbial deep end of the reading pool, rather just start with a book a month. And if you’re going to take the time, make it worthwhile. Read something good.
So in my hopes of providing some aid in this area, I’m going to be posting a “Reading in the Pew” article at least every month, if not more often. Most of these posts will have a topic or author at its center and will include recommendations for the timid to the daring. Consider it the couch to 5k of the reading world. And of course, as a theology student, almost all of these will come out of my desire for us to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.
The Inaugural Post – Who Else? The One & Only Clive Staples Lewis
- The Lucky Charms of Lewis: Well, it is Lewis. He’s not necessarily known for his ease of reading. Thankfully, he wrote children’s books and they are brilliant for kids and adults alike. So, if you haven’t already (or at least not recently), it is time for you to dive deep into The Chronicles of Narnia. Read them all if you have time. Start with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and move on from there. Have kids? Read it out loud with them. You will not regret it.
- The Oatmeal Squares of Lewis: Time to move into the realm of Science Fiction and enjoy Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. A little more difficult, especially if this genre isn’t a familiar one, but once you dive into this other-worldly adventure, you will understand a great deal more about your this-worldly one.
- The Wheaties of Lewis: For those who are a little more daring, Mere Christianity is the quintessential piece of Lewis’ writing. It is a hard road at the beginning, as Lewis seeks to persuade his hearers of God’s existence. And though the road does not ease up much, similar to a good hike, the view at the end is simply spectacular. Lewis may not be the best theologian (see his chapter on the atonement), but his ability with language is masterful and his understanding of human nature superb. His chapter on pride has been one of the most beneficial pieces I have ever read outside of the scriptures for my life in Christ.
- An Honorable Mention: My CTC (trans: Cinnamon Toast Crunch) of Lewis: My all-time favorite work of Lewis is The Great Divorce. Much like my CTC, all of the best flavors of Lewis are brought together in this very manageable 160 page book. As C.S. imagines for us a trip through Hell to the outskirts of Heaven, he makes both a reality for his readers, while at the same time using these settings as the backdrop of discussions and conversations that we all desperately need to hear and grasp.