I Read Old Books and Works of Fiction

First, I felt like I needed to post something. I’ve actually been writing a lot. Finding the motivation to organize what I have written into something intelligible has kept me from posting. It will come, sometime. Here is something I though about this morning, though.

Lately when I have been discussing the books I am reading with other people I feel slightly embarrassed. Just this week I met an old acquaintance and he asked about the book I had in my hands. The conversation went approximately like this:
“What’ya reading.”
“Place of the Lion, by Charles Williams.”
“Oh…whose he.”
“A friend of C.S. Lewis.”
“Oh…did he write theology or fiction mostly.”
“Fiction mostly, a little theology.”
“I just finished Mere Christianity. Now I am reading a book about preaching. John Piper wrote part of it…”

Seems like whenever I talk to other Christians about what they are reading the names, Piper, MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, and Francis Chan are common. What makes me feel uncomfortable is that I’ve read very little by these people. What I have read was interesting, but not enough to spend the time reading what they have written. Instead I find myself reading stuff written mostly by authors who are now dead. They aren’t that popular among evangelicals either, except for C.S. Lewis. Furthermore I read fiction.

A few weeks ago I was at meeting with the people involved in Children’s Ministry at my church. They non-intern staff were preparing for a weekly meeting with one of the pastors. Part of this required them to write down the books they were reading. First came the books that were their “serious reading.” I think a theological books and some books on children were mentioned. Second came the books they were reading for fun. Only one was reading a book for fun. I believe it was about a Bible story from the perspective of one of the animals involved. Sitting there I again felt awkward. I had just read Wind in the Willows (a magnificent book). At the time I was in the middle of Dante’s Purgatorio and a Lewis book. If I mentioned them I would surely get puzzled looks. “Dante? Didn’t he write about hell or something?”

Is it strange that I read books that no one has heard of? Is it also strange that when I read I feel no difference between “serious” and “fun” reading? That often times fiction books can contain much more truth than non-fiction books. Perhaps I am alone except for a few literature students (C.S. Lewis being one). Well I tend to like it. Through it I am allowed to see beauties and truths others only glimpse among “serious” works of modern Christianity. My spiritual journey to Christ-likeness finds its path among hobbits and orcs. There could be more boring companions to travel with.


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