In his book, Slow Reading in a Hurried Age, David Mikics writes, “The digital world offers us many advantages, but if we yield to that world too completely we may lose the privacy we need to develop a self. Activities that require time and careful attention, like serious reading, are at risk; we read less and skim more as the Internet occupies more of our lives.”
No doubt, we all feel this constant tug-of-war between purposeful consumption of content (i.e., books, audio resources, etc.) and meaningless consumption of media. Each day we live in what Mikics calls a “digital hurricane” — a constant swirl of information beckoning for our attention and focus.
How do we fight this hurricane? Through intentional, directed consumption of meaningful content that contributes to the building of self (for more on this topic, I suggest Andy Crouch’s excellent book).
"We all feel the constant tug-of-war between purposeful consumption of content and meaningless consumption of media."
I do this, in part, by choosing specific categories to learn in. I then find content in these areas and consume written, audio, and video content based on my predetermined plan. The categories I use are the following:
Once again, this isn’t limited to books. I listen to podcasts, audiobooks, and videos about these topics on a weekly basis. I have found time and time again that categorical content consumption helps me live intentionally about my learning and whole-self-development. I recommend it to you.
I recently finished a stack of books I had been reading through over the past several weeks. I hope you'll find something helpful in this list of recent reads.
On April 20-21, Bethlehem College & Seminary and Crossway cohosted the Theologians on the Christian Life Conference.
John Piper kicked off the conference by answering questions given to him by Justin Taylor. I found the interaction both inspiring and enjoyable as Piper helps listeners understand the important role of biography in the Christian life.
Piper addresses a similar struggle many people have in reading biography—it can be hard to persevere. I'm convinced this is because many biographies are just poorly written. Therefore, choosing a well written biography is actually more important than choosing any biography of your favorite historical figure at random.
Here is a short list of biographies I have read and recommend:
If you are just beginning to read Christian biography, I recommend you start with the Theologians on the Christian Life series. I have found each of the books to be helpful in understanding the personal life & ministry of the theologian while also offering insights into how their view of the Christian life can impact our own. Tolle lege!
I recently received an advanced copy of Matt Perman's forthcoming book How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity. The book releases on Amazon May 1, 2018.
Here is an endorsement from Todd Wilson, Senior Pastor at Calvary Memorial Church:
I'm a big fan of Matt Perman's work. If you can imagine a cross between theologian Jonathan Edwards and Getting Things Done guru David Allen, then you have in your head a picture of Matt Perman. No one combines theological substance with practical and transformative self-management insights like Matt. His What's Best Next was hugely helpful--and I couldn't be more excited about his thoughtful and imminently practical new book How to Get Unstuck. Nothing faddish or superficial here. This is God-centered and gospel-driven wisdom--the best of self-management insights set within a genuinely Christian framework of flourishing in Christ. Highly recommended!
Every year I have some sort of plan for reading through the Bible. Last year I took it slow and digested particular books of the Bible through inductive study and meditation (Philippians, John, Psalms). A few years ago I read through the entire Bible accompanied with a reading plan for Jim Hamilton's God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment (highly recommend) and really enjoyed it.
This year I am reading through the entire Bible accompanied by Tom Schreiner's The King in His Beauty. Schreiner is one of my favorite theologians for the reason being that he does Biblical Theology so well in all of his writings (E.g. His book on covenants). The King in His Beauty is a beautiful culmination of deep theological reflection coupled with a cohesive thread Schreiner masterfully weaves through each book of the Bible.
The book is broken into nine parts:
Each "part" groups books of the Bible together to give the reader a well-rounded, cohesive view of the entire canon. Schreiner's goal is that the reader would leave the book with a greater understanding of the "major themes in the narrative" (p. xii, TKIHB). I believe that a careful reading of Schreiner's book, accompanied with focused Bible reading, will help you see the broader story line of the Bible in each book of the Old and New Testament.
I commend you to read through the Bible this year with TKIHB as an aid for helping you grow in your knowledge and love of God. You can find one-year and two-year reading plans here. May the Lord bless you and keep you as you read His Word this year!