Posted by: judy | February 1, 2010

The Virtues of Reading — Reading What????

Over at Living Jubilee, the blog for CCO/Jubilee there is an interesting post:

How to Fall In Love . . . One Book at a Time
by Derek Melleby  Derek is the Director of CPYU‘s College Transition Initiative and has a M.A. in Higher Education from Geneva College.

As I read the post, there were several statements which made me quite curious as to what did this author actually believe? After all this is a post on a website dedicated to Christian college ministry, he is used to questions and  ‘conversations’.

In fact the author, himself is past CCO staff and works for Center for Parent and Youth Understanding (for years I subscribed to their newsletter and found it quite helpful as they provided information/research on many components of youth culture — I particularly found the research on music/musicians very helpful to have conversations with our teens.) 

Walt Mueller, Founder and President of CPYU, is also a past CCO staff.

I left a comment for this post on Friday which has yet to be approved, so thought I would ask my questions here.

Reading requires sustained motivation. Not to take this analogy too far, but after my honeymoon period of reading, I needed a new reason to continue. The words of Jesus came to mind: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind.” Reading is one way to love God with our minds. There are other ways to love God with the minds we’ve been given, for sure, but there is something about reading that stretches our thinking. Or better, it gives our brain (a muscle, you know) a work out! Reading can be an act of worship and love toward God. Is there a higher motivation? [emphasis mine]

1.  What written word other than God’s Word “is one way to love God with our minds” ???

2.  What written word other than God’s Word “can be an act of worship and love toward God” ???

“As you know, our faith is based, to a large extent, on the written word. Discipleship requires reading. And reading, I believe, brings us closer to the word made flesh.”  [emphasis mine]

3.  What written word other than God’s Word “is our faith based” ???

I fully expected Derek to respond and tell me (and the many college students who might frequent this CCO/Jubilee sponsored blog) that of course he was speaking of only reading God’s Word — Scripture  . . .

 . . . but perhaps that isn’t his answer?

Certainly this verse in God’s Word does not align with Derek’s wisdom concerning reading books . . .

“But beyond this, my son, be warned:
the writing of many books is endless and excessive devotion to books is wearing to the body.” Ecclesiastes 12:12.






  1. Perfect scripture, Judy!
    Solomon was wise, indeed!

  2. I hope you can find a college for your daughter to attend that will only allow her to read the Bible for classroom assignments. Because if she can’t glorify God through her education and the reading and instruction she does there, why did you even let her go?

    • Welcome back, Alicia. Excellent question and one we have asked ourselves. Although it appears that perhaps her purpose at Geneva is to challenge staff and professors on the Biblical foundation for their teaching and learning to be a Berean. Sadly she cannot find any solid Bible studies amid the Nooma videos and monastic book studies. In spite of Geneva’s lack of discernment, God is taking care of her and shielding her from the heresy.

      Were you able to attend Jubilee? What a blessing that Chris Seay was not ‘permitted’ to speak at the conference! Hope you weren’t too disappointed.

      So what are you reading these days?

  3. I’m sorry your daughter isn’t getting much out of her college experience. In most students’ lives, that a time of immense growth. You should encourage her to begin her own Bible study if she’s not satisfied with what she’s found.

    I was able to attend Jubilee this past weekend. The thing that probably stuck out to me the most was one of the breakout sessions that addressed the question, “What is enough?” It was very thought-provoking and caused me to do some re-evaluating of my own life and habits.

    This thought happens to accompany one of the books I am reading, “Rediscovering Values” by Jim Wallis. Although I don’t agree with the entirety of his political leanings, I appreciate his challenge to our society. He analyzes the current economic state and argues that our values have become distorted. (Ex. Like needing to charge thousands of dollars on our credit cards because we HAVE to own that new television instead of just buying only what we can afford, etc.)

    I’ve also been exploring a new Hebrew-Greek study Bible. I have really been enjoying this because it allows you dig into Scripture a bit deeper by actually looking up the Hebrew/Greek word that was used in a certain verse.

    • Hi Alicia,

      Actually our daughter is getting quite a life lesson from her college experience — I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. Your idea of her starting her own study is an excellent idea and one we have suggested.

      What I did say is that her faith is not growing in ways we all expected. Her lessons have been in the ‘classroom’ of discernment, contending for truth, speaking boldly in love, listening carefully to what is being taught.

      After working with college students so much of their thoughts were wrapped up in the question, “What is God calling on my life”. Although an important question to ponder but it is also very self-serving becasue in the middle of the question is ME and DOING. It really isn’t that complicated. We watched students receive job offers out of state and when asked if they were going to take it — their reply was something like, ‘Well, I just don’t know what God is calling me to do”.

      God does not operate in secret, confusion, or chaos.

      It sounds like you you are being very critical (rightly so!) of the book by Jim Wallis. Although the question is a good one — What is enough? — Wallis’ propensity to interpreting Scripture through the narrow lens of social justice is the misguided answer.

      I used to do what you are doing — I love to read — picked up many a book from Byron’s table — years ago. At first I read and incorporated most of the ideas into my belief system — and a dear friend pointed out that I was looking at Scripture through the lens of those authors — not completely convinced, I read and just picked out the stuff I thought was true and in Scripture — that didn’t last very long — because then the authors seemed to contracdict themselves — their ideas were inconsistent and based on their experience with Scripture and not BEGINNING with Scripture. It weakens your faith not strengthens it as the deceptors would have you believe.

      I was truly astonished with what I believed! The deception melted away. So now I see thousands of college students at Jubilee and on college campuses deeply entrenched in all the latest ‘books’ and absorbing it all. It is like a gigantic cattle drive — students rush Byron’s table to speak to him, pick up his books, in conversations everyone wants to one-up the other by name dropping book titles and authors — and the drivers push the cattle on stirring up the blinding dust, pushing and running the cattle at wreckless speed so no one can catch their breath, pause to think about the accuracy of the author, compare to Scripture. and the cattle drivers push, push, push everyone over the cliff — no one saw it coming.

      Students used to be radical, wanting to be separate from culture — well the ‘Christian’ students just set up an alternative culture and they are entrenched and ruled by it. They think it is counter-culture but if you look really hard you will see it isn’t at all — just another ‘stream’ that broke off and headed in the same direction. Plenty of money is being spent in the ‘Christian Culture’, many should be still asking, ‘What is enough’ — marketing flourishes just the same — the labels and brands are all there they are just enviro-friendly, outdoor adventure savvy, and organically grown.

      Real strength is not found reading what is on Byron’s table — that is weak — everyone is doing it — real strength is taking a bold stand and refusing to be swept up into the cattle drive.

      Are you up for the challenge, Alicia?


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