This summer, the church I attend ran a reading initiative to encourage everyone to use the new online resources that the church library has, especially the review feature. Those of us who reviewed books received gift cards to Half Price Books and were asked to answer the question, "How does reading aid your spiritual growth?" This was my answer (kinda... this was what I meant to say, anyway. Not sure how many of these words actually came out in church on Sunday morning). (Also, I understand and respect that not everyone has the same belief in God that I do, and if that is the case for you I encourage you to likewise live a great story with your life in accordance with your own beliefs.)
God, the creator, the master storyteller, has invited us to collaborate with him in writing a great story with the lives that we live. Right now, I'm rereading Les Misérables, a story I'm sure most of you are familiar with. The book doesn't start on a barricade, it doesn't start with a sad little girl sweeping a floor, and it doesn't even start with Jean Valjean in prison. It starts with the bishop in a little town called Digne, and while the bishop may not have thought of his life in these terms, he absolutely embraced God's invitation to live out a great story with his life. And when he encountered Valjean, he invited Valjean to also enter into God's story. The bishop only gets 120 pages of the book (I had the book with me & held it up at this point to demonstrate what a small slice of the book that is), but his invitation to Valjean resonates throughout the rest of the book.
The story of Les Mis is one of forgiveness, of redemption, of second and third and fourth chances. Lots of characters in this book make poor decisions and squander their second chances, but Valjean doesn't, and that's why he's the main character of the 1400+ pages.
I don't necessarily recommend that you read Les Misérables, because it's a long and hard read and you have to really want it. Here's what I do recommend that you read: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller. It's all about living a great story with your life. If you're not a Donald Miller fan, well, neither am I, but you should read it anyway.
And that, my friends, is why I read.
What are we talking about today?
Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.
Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Friday: Green living.