Today you get another guest post from my sister Amy, who blogs at Ita Vita: Such is Life in Africa.
On Tuesday, she treated us to a recipe of how to make Bierocks, a German savory pastry. Today, she will share her thoughts about books and reading. We all love books in our family.
First I want to share a couple of my Thankful Thoughts:
51. I’m thankful for my sister, Amy. I am 7 1/2 years older than her, and I would read her books by the hour and french braid her hair. When I got older and came back home after I was done with college and before I got married, she was still home. We became very good friends as we were on an equal intellectual plane then (22 and 15 instead of 11 and 4). We would laugh at each other’s jokes and just have fun together. When my husband became her youth pastor, she was supportive of us and would play the piano for us in our teen services. I am so proud of her and am so happy to see how the Lord is working in her life.
52. I am thankful I am with my grandma this week. She is 92. I do not know how much time she has left, so we treasure the time we have. I have said before how I went to stay with her for over a month when I was eleven years old as my grandpa died unexpectedly. Because of that time, we have a very strong bond. I do not want her to suffer, and she is ready to meet her Maker; but I am glad for the time we have and that my children have been able to know their Great-Grandma.
And now, here is Amy’s guest post!
If you want to hide money from a black man, hide it in a book,” our African neighbor told us one day. “It’s a Tsonga proverb!”
This proverb was laughingly confirmed to be true by others of our African friends and church members over the years that we have spent with them. They are often baffled at the amount of books on our shelves. “What do you do with them?” they wonder.
Contrast that proverb with Western thought, expressed beautifully by Emily Dickinson:
There is no Frigate like a BookTo take us Lands awayNor any Coursers like a PageOf prancing Poetry –This Traverse may the poorest takeWithout oppress of Toll –How frugal is the ChariotThat bears the Human Soul –
What is the difference between these two philosophies of books?
Christians are essentially “People of a Book”–THE Book.
We have a book with immortal, captivating stories, tear-inducing poetry, words of wit and wisdom, pithy proverbs, powerful sermons, logical arguments, and even revelations of the future. What book could be better? Every book thereafter can only add or subtract from It.
Our love and hunger for this Book increases our appreciation for other books. So, Christian, are you growing in your knowledge of The Book? Did you meet with God today by reading that Book and “making your soul happy in God,” as George Mueller made his practice?
Further, as inheritors of a culture blessed with more common grace because of Christian influence, are you seeking to “subdue the earth” in your self-education? What books are you reading right now? School shouldn’t end, you know–not if you love to learn.
Two quick tips as you further your studies. These are compiled from my husband and from two books on self-education, How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. (You know someone is serious about books when they read a book on how to read a book!)
- Understand what the author is saying. Can you summarize the main point of each chapter, or of the book? Don’t try to respond to it or express yourself about it until you know you have understood their bottom line. If you can’t put the main point into words, you haven’t understood it yet. You know, there’s a verse about that! (Proverbs 18:13 “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”)
- When you’ve understood, then you may begin to respond to the thought of the book, to enter into the Great Conversation begun in the classics from the beginning of time. What do you agree or disagree with? Why? Wheredoes the author’s logic break down? If it is fiction, also ask yourself, how does the book make you feel? Are they right feelings? (Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”)
Will you join me on a journey of never-ending learning? Here’s my reading list for the year. What are you reading right now?
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