This Year’s Gonna be Better

Preston Sprinkle

Last year I posted a blog about all of the books I was going to read. Well, I failed. Like,

miserably failed.

I set out to read through the New Testament four times. I only made it through once before I fell super far behind and couldn’t catch up and pretty much sucked at reading the Bible for my “quiet times” the rest of the year.

Miss Auras, by John Lavery, depicts a woman reading a book. Public Domain.

I was adamant about reading through Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics volume 4.1 “Reconciliation,” which is like 800 pages. Well, I think Karl could have made his point in less than 150 pages. Don’t get me wrong. It was good. Some parts were really good, while other parts were like “seriously, couldn’t you have said that in like 2 paragraphs instead of 10 pages?”

Anyway, I made it just past page 200 by May and didn’t pick it up since. I read enough to know that I think Karl Barth nails it. At least, 90% of the time he nails it. For the other 10%, he might have nailed it but I just couldn’t understand what this Swiss-German dude was saying.

I did get through some of the other books I had on my list, like Megan DeFranza’s Sex Difference in Christian Theology and Mark Yarhouse’s Understanding Gender Dysphoria. And I read a whole bunch of other books (or parts of them, at least) that I wasn’t planning on reading, like Gabe Lyons’s The Next Christians, Derwin Grey’s The High Definition Leader, and David Kinnaman’s You Lost Me, and many others.

I think I only read like the first 2 pages of Dostoevsky’s Brother’s Karamazov. I know I should read more fiction, but with so little free time on my hands, it’s hard to carve out space.

“Hey dad, can you play Uno with me?”

“Sorry, sweetie, I’m knee-deep in a 19th century Russian novel. Go find something else to do.”

Some guys live this way, I guess. But I can’t.

Anyway, having failed to read through the Bible in a year the past two years, I’m going to give it yet another whirl this year, following the reading program of the We Are Church schedule. We’ll see how it goes. If I can’t do it this third time around, I might just renounce my faith.

I’m also going to (finally) read through the Harry Potter series. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read them yet, despite their highly acclaimed literary brilliance. As a writer, I should pay attention to such phenomena. More importantly, one of my daughters is totally enraptured by the books and desperately wants to watch the movies (which, of course, I said she can’t until I read the books so that I can watch the movies with her). I thought I’d go for father-of-the-year and read along with her. So far, she’s 2 books ahead of me. She’s on book 3 and I haven’t cracked a page. But I will. I promise. Or…I mean…I’ll try to.

I’ve come to realize that I’m not a very good “goal oriented reader.” It’s too cumbersome and stifling. I tend to read books that strike me in the moment, meet a particular existential need, or contribute to a topic I’m currently researching—which I can’t always schedule in.

I think I’m done with the “goals approach” to blowing through books. I might need to be content with reading in the moment and letting the Spirit direct my ocular urges. Except for the Bible, of course. I’m definitely going to give this one the good old college try—One. More. Freaking. Time.

Because if a Christian doesn’t have time to read through the Bible in a year, which takes like 20 minutes a day, then can we really say we have our priorities straight? Seriously, I think I spend more time on Facebook and Twitter. Twenty minutes a day. Come on, soul! Get your act together!

Join me this year. Read through the Bible with me. And together, we can nurture our souls on that which is more delicious than fine food—the infallible nectar of heaven.

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