Monday, October 01, 2007

For the Love of Reading

I love reading (or at least I used to). Recently though, a sad realization has slowly been dominating my horizon. I will never read all the stuff I want to read. It's even sadder than that. I will never even read all the books I have in my library. And still sadder? I will continue to buy books.

I am an inspiration style reader. What style is that you may ask? I read when I am inspired to read. And I read for inspiration. The first statement means that when I see a book that captures my attention or even just piques my interest, I want to read it because I believe it will help me in some way or i just want to satisfy my curiosity. So I buy it and read it until my curiosity is satisfied (or until I figure out what the author is trying to convey enough to think I understand the concept). Then I do that with the next book. Sometimes I will finish the book (especially if it is required reading for a course). Most times I won't.

I usually have five or six books on the go at once. I used to be fairly content with this style of reading. I was inspired. I was reasonably well informed. I read parts of a lot of books. My library looked impressive. I gave myself the impression that I was a voracious reader.

That all changed when I started reading for my DMin studies. Now I feel like I have to fully digest and comprehend all the stuff I read. I feel like I have to be able to regurgitate it, chapter, page and publisher at the drop of a hat - or at the request for a two page summary. I feel like I'm not nearly as well read as I used to be. There are so many books and authors and papers and blogs and websites, that my head is in a spin. No, I have not read the latest, most significant book on Paul, or leadership, or New Testament theology, or the atonement. To be honest, with all this reading, sometimes I just feel really stupid.

I am not keeping up and I have realized that I never will. That's hard for someone with perfectionistic tendencies to admit. I think my expectations need a slight adjustment in order for reading to become fun again. Part of the adjustment is to pretend I'm reading the required text of my course for fun - just for inspiration and enjoyment. I know lying to myself is never a good thing in the long run - but for now it might just help me keep the inspiration flowing and the reading going.

Maybe the love will return. Or maybe I just need counselling.

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