“Are You a Reformed Reader?”

The above was the title to a speech I gave to the PR Young Calvinist group Saturday night at Grandville PRC. One of the activities they have started is called “Talking Points”, where they bring in a speaker who gives a talk on a chosen topic followed by a discussion. I was asked to speak on a subject dear to my heart, and though the group was small (20 plus), we had a great evening together. At least that’s the way I felt. Anytime someone gives me the opportunity to talk about books and reading, I have a great time. And from my side, I want the “YC” to know that I thoroughly enoyed myself and appreciated the fellowship and feedback of the young people.

The purpose of my talk  was simply to encourage young Calvinists to read. But I also wanted them to remember that they must be distinctive readers, viz., “Reformed” readers! I didn’t get to everything in my speech (surprise!), but I did present the heart of it (I understand that the audio will soon be posted on the “Young Calvinists” website). I thought for the benefit of all I would post my outline here (ReformedReaderTalk-YgCalvinists-June2013). The references to the name “Reinke” in my outline are to Tony Reinke’s book Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (Crossway, 2011), a book I reviewed at length on this blog last year (A simple search will give you plenty of taste of this excellent book on reading!).

I also did a little “survey” with the group at the beginning of my talk. I asked them to respond in writing to four (4) things:

  1. List the last 2 books you have read and 2 more you plan to read.
  2. What comes to mind when you hear the words “Reformed reader”?
  3. Give 2 reasons why reading is important.
  4. Give 2 things you can do to improve your reading.

We used these responses as I talked, but I also collected them and enjoyed going over them later that evening. I told them not to sign their surveys but to submit them anonymously. For the most part I was pleased with and encouraged by what they put down. Here are a few answers to #3 (about why reading is important) – in no particular order. I hope they will serve to encourage you too – to “read more and read better”.

  • “makes you think deeply/concentrate”
  • “deeper knowledge of Scripture”
  • “know about the world in which we live through literature”
  • “gain knowledge about our Lord and about His control in every part of the world”
  • “It’s the key to learning. We want to learn as much as we can about God so that we can grow in friendship.”
  • “It makes us better writers.”
  • “helps you have a better vocabulary”
  • “it helps you grow spiritually.”
  • “gives basic foundation to reformed instruction.”
  • “reading is a chief means of obtaining knowledge and, over time, wisdom.”
  • “reading causes us to become more discipline.”
  • “gives one more reason and foundation of what you believe” and “to be more Christlike”
  • “advance critical thinking skills”

And my favorite under #4 – things you can do to improve reading: “take a sledge hammer to the TV”. That brought a huge smile to my face 🙂

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  1. […] posted some kind comments as well as an outline for his speech on his blog. You can find that here. Also, we are putting the audio up for those who could not make it and for those out of state and […]


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