I’ve been spending some time considering my reading habits over the course of 2011. A challenge I gave myself in 2011 was to read 100 books in the year (I completed the goal in mid-November). A lot were books on theology and Christian living for reviews—but as much as possible, I tried to include some material to break it up with a few biographies, a bit of history, some marketing books and the odd bit of sociology. Because I live increasingly in a Christian bubble—I work with Christians, I minister to Christians in a variety of ways, I primarily review books written for Christians—this is not only helpful, but necessary for me in order to have some sense of what’s going on “out there” as it were.
This coming year, I’m giving myself a new reading challenge—to branch out and make sure I’m intentionally reading at least one good book a month that’s not written for a Christian audience. Here are three reasons why I think you should do the same:
1. Escaping the “Bubble.” As I pointed out above, it’s really easy for Christians to get caught in the so-called Christian bubble (in fact, studies indicate that the longer we’re Christians the less likely we are to have non-Christian friends). Reading a little more broadly
2. Opportunities to Engage Others in Meaningful Discussion. Reading more broadly allows you to have another connection point with non-Christians that helps you to have meaningful discussions (whether at work, the gym, traditional or online book clubs or Starbucks) that can also lead to opportunities to share the gospel.
3. Enjoying God’s Common Grace. God has not reserved all the “good” ideas for Christian authors. Indeed, in His common grace, He has allowed many non-Christians to have amazing insights into the human condition, given them tremendous literary gifts and fantastic storytelling abilities. If you’re not reading a little more broadly, you might be missing out on something really interesting.
Those are just a few reasons that I’m going to be very intentional about reading more broadly next year—feel like joining me?