Less Reading, More Thinking

Back when I was a student in Europe in the 70s (yes, I’m that old), I visited the Museum of Science and Technology in Munich, Germany. The place is huge. I remember going from display case to display case in the physics wing, pushing a button here to show how a pulley works, pushing a button there to show how a lever works. After about an hour of this, I stopped and had to laugh at myself. I realized that I was going from case to case, pushing the buttons without even looking to see what was happening in the case.

That’s the trouble with our life in this fast-paced society. Too often we go through the motions without taking time to consider the implications. I speak against it in my classes, but am no less of a victim, and am no less guilty. I ask my students to consider a weekend away in the mountains, all alone, without TV, cell phone, or wi-fi. And most have a hard time even considering it. We wrap ourselves in entertainment, often so we don’t have to think.

My vices are a bit different. I love to read. I mean, I loooove it. I can read an entire book at one sitting, no problem, and I often do it. I signed up for Goodreads’ challenge of declaring how many books I would read in 2015, and I stated 30. I will probably read closer to 50, and this with a full-time job and writing commitments of my own.

But this morning I got up early and started to pick up my latest book and then paused. What was I getting out of all this reading? Was I finishing one title and starting another, simply because they are in my private library? Or do I stop to think about what I had just read?

As a Christian, this is especially important. Whether I am reading Christian fiction, a devotional book, or the Bible itself, the reward is not in the eyes running over words. It is in what happens afterward.

Someone on Facebook today equated our time each day to dollars we spend. For every minute we live, say, we spend a dollar. That’s a lot of dollars at the end of each day, week or year. What is that money buying us? That might suggest that we need to get more done in less time, including reading. But it also might suggest that who we are, and what kind of person our reading makes us, is more important.

That’s something to think about.