Once a day I have been working on reading the ‘Moravian Daily Texts’, (2013 kindle ed.) alongside ‘My utmost for His highest’ (Oswald Chambers). Since aligning my life with Jesus the Christ, Chambers’ devotional has been, by far, the only daily devotional that has been able to keep me pinned down over the years.
Today’s readings seemed relevant to blogging, and the art of being both a reader and a writer.
‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who publish peace, who bring news of happiness, who publish salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns” – (Is.52:7 ESV)
‘We proclaim Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ’ (Col.1:28 ESV)
Reflecting on these scripture verses earlier tonight reminded me of two things. Firstly, as both writers and readers we have a responsibility in what and how we communicate. Secondly, I was reminded of the concept ‘Lectio Divina’ – which is about applying the discipline of ‘spiritual reading’ when engaging with the biblical text. (A good book to read on this subject if you are interested is Eugene Peterson’s ‘Eat this Book’, 2006).
Oswald Chambers wrote that:
‘The teachings of Jesus hit us where we live. We cannot stand as imposters before Him for even a second. He instructs us down to the very last detail. The Spirit of God uncovers our spirit of self-justification and makes us sensitive to things we have never even thought of before…Examine the things you tend to simply shrug your shoulders about, and where you have refused to be obedient, and you will know why you are not growing spiritually’ (‘the way to knowledge)
There is a lot of depth to these few sentences, from which Chambers hints at the dichotomy between passive and active reading; going through the motions or really listening to the ‘form and content’ (Peterson, 2006) of the material which the author has placed before us. Here there is also a theological imperative, which says that somewhere in the midst of our obstinacy, we as Christians are graciously summoned by Father, Son and Spirit into participation as co-creators with Him. This is something which could be viewed as being part of an applied devotion in contradistinction to, well, an unapplied one, or service to an empty, (religious) lifeless routine/ritual.
This is something that has significant implications for moving the unmoved reader, and/or writer.
I am not sure about you, but I tend to have to force myself to read things sometimes. I just run out of time, get impatient, or wrestle with my anxiety disorder (all three are interrelated). I also tend to get distracted and then gratefully lost in the amazing adventures of being a dad to a tribe of five. So finding the time to not only write but read as well can be understandably short. Sure I have enough room to find all the excuses I can in order for me to keep ignoring, or procrastinating. Particularly when it comes to engaging with an authentic appreciation for the material that I need to properly hear, by devouring, unpacking and seeking to apply it to my life.
When I do make the effort to read whatever it is I find myself being unmoved to read, I discover that regretting having read it, is nearly always a rare occurrence.