Healthy Reading in America

Healthy Reading in America « Reading Acts.


I appreciated the comments made about reading in this post by Phillip J. Long over a week ago. Thought it was worth sharing with you. If his remarks hurt a bit, good; take it to heart. We can all learn to read more and read better. Read the full post at the link above; here are a few of his thoughts:


I think the rumors of the illiteracy of the American public are exaggerated, but I am also confident that the reading material for most Americans is lightweight at best.  In fact the report goes on to say that about half of the New York Times best sellers are ghostwritten.  While this does not mean they are bad books, it likely does mean they are autobiographies of pop stars and the like.  I really cannot call someone that reads the Snooki bio an “avid reader.”  But Americans still buy a huge number of books every year and seem to value reading, whether via a Kindle or a Real Book.

Perhaps I am more concerned with the state of Christian recreational reading.  Browse the shelves of any local church library, likely as not you will find quite a selection of Christian Fiction, some Christian living books (how to raise godly children, etc), a stack of donated Purpose Driven Life books, maybe some Lee Strobel style apologetic books, etc. If there is anything serious, it was left behind by a former pastor who didn’t feel like packing his whole library when the church fired him. A new book from Rob Bell will sell because the haters what to have fodder for their blogs.  The major Christian publishers seem to publish two or three controversial books a year, and another twenty books answering these “heretical” views.


I am not advocating an elitist view that Christians ought to only read “Classic Christian Doctrine.”  If you feel the need to read the Snooki bio or the latest Stephen King novel, it is OK.  But know that there are better things out there.  Reading ought to be a bit like eating.  Everyone knows that junk food isn’t good for you, but we eat it anyway.   Some people need a  “Reading Diet”  — for every sugary junk-food book you read, read something that is good for you.  Read a Christian Classic, read a serious Christian biography, read a book which stretches your mind a bit. Try reading a good novel even if it is not Christian.

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