I’m currently fulfilling a goal to read an average of a-book-a-week for this entire year. It’s been fun so far. Really fun actually. I’d suggest this goal to anyone (unless you’re in seminary or law school or in some other situation where additional reading might make you lose your mind). At least a few of my reasons for setting the a-book-a-week goal are:
1) To better develop my mind and thus better love God with my mind (Mark 12:30).
2) To practice writing by briefly reviewing the books upon completion.
3) To be relevant. I think the whole “relevancy” thing can be pushed too far, but it’s still true that we need to understand the world in which we live. And, reading books may actually be a better way to pursue relevancy than watching tv or reading newspapers. I say this because the material in books has usually been mulled over for a longer period of time, and thus may contain more mature thought than other forms of media. In fact C. S. Lewis lamented the fact that boys in his day were encouraged to stay abreast of current news. As he says in Surprised by Joy, “I think those are very wrong who say that schoolboys should be encouraged to read the newspapers. Nearly all that a boy reads there in his teens will be known before he is twenty to have been false in emphasis and interpretation, if not in fact as well, and most of it will have lost all importance. Most of what he remembers he will therefore have to unlearn; and he will probably have acquired an incurable taste for vulgarity and sensationalism and the fatal habit of fluttering from paragraph to paragraph to learn how an actress has been divorced in California, a train derailed in France, and quadruplets born in New Zealand” (152-153). So I want to read a lot of books because with Lewis, I believe it is better learning.
However, the thought hit me today that, in addition to the reading, I also want to find at least one good quote from every book that I read. I want to take these quotes and catalogue them so that I have a readily accessible list of good quotes when I am preparing a sermon or writing an article or book. So this is goal #1.
Goal #2 is to try to witness to at least one person a week. This is what I was asked to do while in seminary at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. While I did not love everything about the way in which the seminary asked us to pursue this endeavor, I do think it was a great requirement. I know that the Bible plainly teaches that I’m to share the gospel regularly. I’ve never quit believing this, but I have not challenged myself to pursue evangelism (the first step in disciple-making) enough since seminary. So I’m setting a goal of witnessing to at least one person a week for the rest of the year. I’m going to reevaluate this goal at that time, see if I fulfilled it, and ask myself whether I should change it in any way.
So there you go. Two unrelated goals. We’ll see how I do.