"If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it?...A book must be like an ice axe to break the frozen sea within us." - Franz Kafka
Here we have a poignant exhortation to read good books. I might not go quite as far as Kafka in discounting the worth of a good "pleasure read," but his point is well taken--books have the potential to change our lives (far more potential than most other media, like TV or the Internet), so choose your books well. Read something that is time-tested and full of wisdom. (And, of course, the best choice of all is the Bible itself, the one book that has changed more lives than any other. It is the book that always wakes us, that always shatters our frozen seas, because it is God himself doing the hammering.) Here are just a few authors who have been "ice axes" for me (in no particular order): C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, Thomas a Kempis, Julian of Norwich, Francois Fenelon, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Plato, Oswald Chambers, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, just to name a few. There are others, too. My own passions and interests tend towards devotional spirituality and ethics (moral philosophy), which is where most of these authors fall. And while I enjoy studying theology and history and culture and ministry technique, these areas don't seize my attention and captivate my imagination in quite the same way as devotional spirituality and ethics. But whatever your passions are, there are good "ice axe" books out there for you. Seek them out, and start hammering away.
* Note to My Readers: Due to the busyness of the next month and a half, I'm making a few minor changes to my schedule of posting. All posts will continue to be made daily and will consist of material that has not appeared before on this blog. However, because my time will be taken up by my final thesis defense for my Master of Church History degree and by a trip to the Holy Land, several of my ongoing series will be on hold until May.
- On Wednesdays, I'll be posting some of my original poems from my college years, and then in May my "Evangeliad" poems will resume.
- On Thursdays, my series on "How to Be Miserable in Your Christian Life" will wrap up by the end of March. That will conclude that series for now; however, if you enjoyed it, please let me know, because I may add more to it at some later point.
- And on Fridays, my "Glimpses of Grace" series will be on hiatus until May. In the meantime, it will be replaced with a serialized, unpublished novella that I wrote back in 2005, "Worth It All." Beginning in the first week of May, "Glimpses of Grace" will return, this time in the Thursday slot, and a newly-composed adventure novel will be posted on Fridays.