I love to read. Besides books there are journals, magazines, as well as on line journals, blogs, newspapers. As they say, so much to read—so little time!
One of my perpetual temptations is to get so enamored with words, that I neglect the Word. The beginning of a new year is a great time to think about reading priorities for the days ahead.
Some time ago, while making a family road trip from Illinois to Colorado, we stopped with our small children somewhere in Iowa, at a roadside tourist spot called The Sod House. It was a replica of a prairie home from mid 19th century. This “Little House on the Prairie” home was made of sod bricks for walls. It was not unlike those crofts on the Isle of Skye in Scotland that I visited recently, where some of my great, great, great grand parents lived. It was not that different from the mud huts of Piswa, Uganda where our church has done recent mission work. There was no running water, no central heating, no Direct TV or wireless. It was raw, basic, early America. Everyone lived in one room. That room served as bedroom, kitchen, living room, utility room, family room, dining room and home theater.
Central to the room, which was not much bigger than the study I am sitting in, was a bio ethanol fireplace. On the fire place mantel were three books. That’s it. There was a hymn book, a dictionary, and a Bible. If there was a fourth book, there was also a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress.
We sometimes praise the courage, simplicity and wisdom of that adventurous generation. After all, most of us wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the American pioneer. We forget that much of their wisdom came from the Bible. Many of them were people of the Book.
As we begin 2009, there is much news that unsettles us. Culture is shifting. Economic realities are changing. The political scene looks different. Globalization continues apace. Amidst all this we are bombarded daily with gobs of information. Around 4000 books are published a day worldwide. It is estimated that 1.5 exabytes (1.5×10 to the 18th power) of new information will be generated world wide this year.
All this reminds me of some lines from poet T.S. Eliot in his Choruses from the Rock. He said that in the contemporary world we have “Knowledge of words and ignorance of the Word.” Then he asked “where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” Amidst great change and an information deluge, we desperately need to get our bearings.
This January, almost 600 of us at our church are embarking on the spiritual journey of reading through the Bible in 90 days. The journey starts the first week of 2009 and ends at Easter. It will take discipline and encouragement. It will raise questions and probe us spiritually. But in such a turbulent season of history, there is probably no more important spiritual exercise we could engage in. My hope and prayer is that this reading of Scripture would be a spark that ignites a spiritual fire in us and brings us back to deep wisdom—God’s wisdom.
We are finding that many Christians have never read the Bible from cover to cover. We are even encouraging non-Christian friends to join us and to read it with an open mind. Above all, read it asking God to speak to you.
You can use the special Bible put out by The Bible in 90 Days (available at Barnes and Amazon). Or you can use your own Bible. I am reading Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible (New Living Translation).
If you join us, let us know. If you fall behind, then read it in 95 days, or 100 days. The exact time frame does not matter. Although if you read it in 90, you will finish right at Easter!
To learn more about The Bible in 90 Days, check out their website at www.biblein90days.org
May God bless you as you read the Word in 2009.