Thursday, August 8, 2013

Reading Changes People

"The Bible says, 'Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?' (James 2) If you have taken God's Word to heart and truly made it part of you, it will by its very nature change you."
~ Intro to SOLO: An Uncommon Devotional

Last year I did a lesson with my students where I asked them why reading matters. We have made a huge deal about reading through our adoption of Accelerated Reader. We have parties to celebrate students who meet their goals, we have one or two book fairs a year to get books into the hands of students, and I give silent reading time in almost every library class. Why? Why is this reading thing such a big deal?

The students gave a variety of answers and then we looked at my list where I reviewed what they said and filled in some of the gaps they didn't think of. I did this lesson in 13 or more classes last year. In all of those classes, I only had one student - ONE, at a Christian school - talk about reading as it relates to the Christian life.

Books change us. Whether they change us because they teach us new information or because they give us insight and empathy for others or because they inspire us to do something amazing or because they teach us what we DON'T want to do, they change us. We can read the same book year after year and get something new from it, or understand it with a different nuance because of our maturity or our life experiences. While this is true of books in general, it is true of the Bible in the extreme. How many Easter sermons have you heard? How many times have you read about the prodigal son?  Hopefully each time you catch something new, or it speaks to you in a new way because you are a different person than you were the last time you dug into that passage. Good material speaks to us as we change and grow. Reading changes people.

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