Friday, May 25, 2007

Pompous and Anal

I’m cataloging the books I’m reading this year. I know how pompous and anal that sounds. So, I’m pompous and anal. Shoot me.

Some say that reading is going the way of the Betamax. Some days, heck MOST days, I agree. Grammar and coherent thoughts are in shorter supply than hamburgers at a Hindu Temple. Not that I want everyone to talk like Rex Murphy (I don’t even want Rex Murphy to talk like Rex Murphy).

But talking to some folks and reading some blogs, the English is so bad that I’m wondering if some teachers should start taking out malpractice insurance.

Other folks I encounter BRAG about how much they don’t read. I call this the George W Bush (or Don Cherry) Syndrome. Sadly, many of my fellow preachers crow about not reading a book since seminary. “I don’t need all that book learnin,’ I’m too busy doin’ stuff.”

Donna Karlin, in a Fast Company article says,

“I maintain that those who can read and don’t are functional illiterates; don’t as in never, by choice, not sporadically as time allows. There’s a difference. There is so much richness to books, all literature in various forms, that our world would be very mundane without the concepts, mental images and perspectives that come out of books of any kind.”

Tim Sanders is much more direct, “Knowledge…is consequential. Knowledge currency is social currency on steroids. Thus it is value currency,” (Love is the Killer App, p.67).

Of course, reading is a big part of my job. I don’t just pull sermons out of my pocket. I like to get a variety of perspectives on the bible reading before I sit down to write my Sunday diatribe.

But also, I hope that my sermons are an intersection – or dare I say collision - between the bible, the lives my congregation lead, and the world around us. I try to paint with broad strokes but also use thin brushes to colour in the details.

Most books I read are not church books, but business books. I find many business books are the best sources of cultural criticism because it’s in business peoples’ best (read: financial) interest to understand how the world works.

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