Monday, June 8, 2009

Heavy Reading

Some may think I goofed when I picked one of our summer reading selections for our women's ministry's Breakfast & Books club this summer. I'm thinking I picked a really hard read but I'm counting on it being worth it.

I've often heard other Bible study teachers and writers say they enjoy reading biographies about Christians who have paved such a road of godliness ahead of us. They've lauded the drive, commitment, zeal, fervor, and sacrifices of such godly heros and heroines as Jim Elliot, William Carey, Eric Liddel, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, Corrie Ten Boom, Gladys Aylward and George Muller. And while I am vaguely familiar with some of these people and the lives they lived, I've rarely read an entire book about a hero of the faith. So I decided we should read a biography this summer - me and anyone who chose to join me.

Our summer reading list also includes a fiction book (The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser) and a devotional book (A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss), but I am reading the biography selection. I've chosen Elizabeth Elliot's A Chance to Die about Amy Carmichael. I began the book yesterday and realized immediately that it is not an easy book to read. While it is beautifully written, the vocabulary is rather old-fashioned and reflects the time of Miss Carmichael's life. And because the author is talking about a different place and time, contemporary readers may struggle to understand what she's talking about at times - I know I'm struggling! But I've decided it is worth the struggle.

Perhaps I have become spoiled by easy reading, contemporary lingo, and simplistic storylines. This book will definitely be a stretch for me, but isn't that what I'm after? To be stretched? Indeed it is. I fear we've all become a little complacent in our personal and spiritual growth, depending on video driven Bible studies, study helps found on Internet web sites, and 30-minute sermons to feed us our "daily bread." But enough of the milk toast already! I'm ready to flex my study muscles a little and read something that isn't necessarily going to entertain me. The ideas and concepts may not jump off the page at me; instead I may have to read a few paragraphs over and over in order to really follow the author. Yes, I'm determined to read this book and enjoy it for what it is - the life story of a godly woman who left her comfortable world to live for Christ and others. I'm not going to demand twist and turns, wrenching love stories, superb character development or a dramatic ending. Instead I'm going to learn from a simple woman who chose to live a simple, yet extraordinary life.

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