The Need To Read

What should we do with the gift of literacy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We just got back from taking my wife to see the rheumatologist. On the wall in the office was a notice about measles and being on guard against it. As I saw it, I pondered that in the ancient world, the large majority of people could not read and/or write. Today, it is practically assumed that everyone can do so.

When the first Final Fantasy game came to the Playstation 2, it was Final Fantasy X and it did have voice acting, but it also had lines across the screen. This is still common in many games. Players don’t listen to many of the things being said. They read them instead.

Let’s not forget how many of us actually do spend our time reading. Facebook. I know we have Facebook live and gifs and videos on there, but a lot of it is reading. It’s really taken for granted.

It’s easy to say many of us are not readers, but it’s just not true. We just don’t read the things that we often should be reading. For those of us who are Christians, that should definitely include good books.

When you read, you learn and you are informed with what you talk about. Without that, you are often trapped in your own thoughts. If I think about something, I don’t just have my own thoughts. Naturally, I have Scripture in my own head. I also have people like Augustine, Aquinas, Lewis, Chesterton, and many many other scholars and apologists past and present.

So if you’re reading, why not read something good that will build you up and you can enjoy? I’m not saying you can never do anything else, but much of the time we spend doing other things we could spend actually enriching our minds and learning about the world we live in and also enjoying it.

That also means it’s okay to read purely for the enjoyment that it gives you. When I started reading the Harry Potter books, it was to learn what all the fuss was about from my fellow Christians. Were the books really what people said they were? Before too long, probably before I finished the first book even, I was reading for my own enjoyment.

C.S. Lewis said the same kind of things. He used to read fairy tales in secret, then as an adult, he found he read them out in public and enjoyed them. There was no fear of being childish for that fear of being childish is itself childish.

Reading is a gift. We are blessed that we live in a culture that reading material is so abundant. We have more access to it than ever. You can easily go to the library and get most any book that you want. Not only that, you can get books in a digital format on Kindle or some tool like that. Many libraries have programs where you can order Kindle books from your own home. If you must, you can get a book on Audible or some service like that and read it in the car or if you’re doing something else.

I often take a book with me if I just have to go to the grocery store. Want something to do waiting in the checkout lane? Read it some. Get in a paragraph or two or however much I can. It’s even better if I put it down and it becomes a conversation piece.

Also, read something you disagree with if you’re a debater. It pays to know both sides. That also means if you’re an atheist or a Muslim or a JW or Mormon or any other position, read the other side. See what they have to say. Don’t settle for just Facebook debates. Read the best.

Now go get in some reading.

In Christ,
Nick Peters