Friday, January 10, 2014

Reading in the New Year

Here we are almost two weeks into the new year and I’m finally getting around to attempting a blog post. I remember when I first started blogging how addicting I found it and how I posted often and read a lot of other blogs and searched out blog forums and such. Fast forward to today, and I seldom write a blog post anymore and now that my Google Reader is gone, I find that I don’t read many blogs anymore, either. In fact, as I sit here typing this, I’m wondering how in the world I found the time and energy to interact with blogs as much as I did back then. I truly don’t have that kind of time right now, and certainly not the energy. I blame Facebook. Then again, for all two of you who may pity this poor blog and come back to read once in a while anymore, you already know about my love-hate relationship with Facebook, I guess. It’s an even bigger time waster and addiction than blogging was in the beginning for me. Though with this turn of the calendar page to 2014 (!!!) I find some of my attraction for it finally waning. Finally. 

Reading/Blogging Thoughts: I’ve been doing some thinking today about why I even write blog posts or post on Facebook, and I don’t think I’m liking what I’ve been pondering today. Back up and let me tell you that I am in the midst of reading a fascinating book. It’s called Popologetics : Popular Culture in Christian Perspective by Ted Turnau, and my brother and sister-in-law gave it to me for Christmas. It is the rare nonfiction book that captivates my attention and imagination well enough for me to find it hard to put it down, and usually I have a nonfiction and fiction book I will be reading at the same time for that reason. I tend to read nonfiction differently than I do fiction, and I need the escape for a few moments that fiction gives my brain. But this book is so interesting I find myself wanting to keep reading and reading and reading. I’m only about halfway through, so I don’t want to actually review the book here, but I will say that this author seems to be speaking my language about worldview as he first defines worldview and examines how popular culture influences our worldview and presuppositions (whether we recognize it or not) and how we interact with popular culture. It’s really something I am quite interested in, and I’m finding it a very thoughtful book. I’m also finding it a tad disturbing in that what I’m coming away truly pondering is how we Christians should be the kind of people who don’t just float along in the stream of the culture, but actively think about our presuppositions and what’s informing them and making sure we think biblically about how we interact with the culture and our neighbors around us, not knee-jerk pulling out, but thoughtfully interacting and engaging with the culture. 

And as I’m thinking through this, it got me to thinking (again) about how and why I use social media, and, as I said, I’m not sure I like some of the things I’m realizing. I wonder how many bloggers are like me, kind of introverted, but much better about expressing ourselves in written word than in person, and wanting to be known, but kind of shy face-to-face? So, do I blog and Facebook because it helps me to crawl out of my shell, or is it more of a narcissistic, please-someone-notice-me impulse? Food for thought, and not all that comfortable thought, either. I mean, as I think about what I typically write here, when I do write, which isn’t nearly so often anymore, is it anything that would actually benefit someone else, or is it just an avenue for me to vent pent up thoughts. And if that’s all it is, an outlet for pent up thoughts, is that a bad thing? I don’t know. I’m working through that right now. I suppose it depends on what I want from this blog. Do I just want a place to let out those thoughts I need to work out, or do I want to write for people to read? 

More Reading Thoughts: One of the things I really liked about those early days of blogging and the now days of Facebook was getting reading ideas from what other bloggers wrote about books they were reading. For that reason, and also because it’s an easy way for me to remember what I’ve read, I started keeping a list of books I’m reading here at the blog. I’ve updated that list today - I moved the 2013 list to the archive tab and started a 2014 list, if anyone is interested. As I note on that page, just because a book is listed doesn’t necessarily mean I recommend it. It just means I read it. I usually try to note cautions I have with certain books or note books I especially liked,  though. 

A friend of ours that we met when we lived in St. Louis is hosting a reading group on FB challenging us to read 25 books this year. I’ve joined in, and at first that number seemed a bit daunting until I realized it’s really only about 2 books a month, and when I looked back at my yearly book lists here, even last year which was one of my slowest book reading years in a long time, including the three months I took to finish Les Miserables, I still managed to read a solid 32 books. So maybe not as difficult as it might seem at first.

Here’s a look at some of what is on my stack of in process or to be read in the near future, pushing me toward that 25 goal: 

My mom and dad gave me several books for Christmas and I’m itching to dig into each of them. Of course, I’ve got my Bible there, that’s the most necessary and daily of all my reading. All other reading needs to be filtered through a biblical lens and it is the ultimate and final arbiter of what is true and right and good and holy. On top of the list is my Kindle, and it occurs to me that pictures like this one are going to become rarer as more and more of our reading is done on e-readers. Some of the books I have in the wings on my Kindle are: 

Another Jesus Calling: How False Christs Are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer (NF), by Warren B. Smith

Unintended Consequences (F), by Marti Green

Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue (NF), by Matthew C. Mitchell

Name Above All Names (NF), by Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson

Ender’s Game (F), by Orson Scott Card

Just to name a few. 

I had more I wanted to say, but it will better suit another post, so I’ll end this for now.

Feel free to share what you’re reading these days! I’m always looking for good reading material.


Lisa Spence said...

I'm wondering how I used to have the time and energy for blogs and blogging too! Those were the good old days :)

Veronica W said...

Funny. I started following your blog way back when (Lisa's too!)...perhaps I should say "when I used to blog." I don't follow nearly as many blogs as I did then...but yours and Lisa's have remained constant. :)
I've found I have so many of the same thoughts about blogs/social media... Love-Hate relationship, most definitely.
What am I reading? Ha! With 2 under 2, forget blogging, who has the energy for reading?! I do have a few books I hope to read this year...maybe I should write a blog post? My that would shock the 2 people who still check in on my little blog! :)

Rebekah said...

Hi, Lisa and Veronica! Thanks for sticking in here with me. ;-) They were the good old days, weren't they? And Lisa, I, too, still keep up with your blog. Veronica - I do imagine with 2 under 2 blogging is a very low priority! But I know you've always got a stack of interesting books you're reading through - just maybe not as many during this sweet season. :-)