"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.
A Note to My Readers -
I've decided to remove my Sunday posts from the weekly cycle. Although I hope they've been of benefit to some of you, they are necessarily secondary to my regular work of sermon preparation each week. I've found that having that extra post to write simply added to the burden of my work. For those readers who would still like access to my weekly work in Scriptural exposition, I would ask them to access the podcasts of my sermons (available through a link in the sidebar), since that remains the primary form of my Bible teaching each week.