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What I’m Reading: For Self and Others

I’ve been an avid reader ever since I caught the “reading bug” in Mrs. George’s fifth-grade class. At first, I read a little of everything, but gradually I narrowed my focus to historical nonfiction. But “history” includes just about anything and everything. After all, everything has a history!

As I began first my teaching and later my writing careers, my reading material reflected not only my personal interests but also the demands of my job–whether teaching (I read what I would soon be teaching to broaden my knowledge) or writing (doing research reading for the topics about which I was writing). As I’ve aged, my reading material has changed a bit, too. My reading has been less for personal fulfillment and more for the edification of others, sharing what I’ve been learning with others who also might find the topics of interest.

For those reasons, people quite often ask me, “So, what are you reading now?” This post is a way of answering that question–at least for the moment. The answer will undoubtedly change in the next week or so!

Right now, I am reading two different books for two different purposes. First, for both my own enjoyment and for a writing project on which I’m working (killing two birds with one stone, so to speak), I’m reading a biography of old-time baseball pitcher Christy Mathewson: Christy Mathewson, Christian Gentleman: How One Man’s Faith and Fastball Forever Changed Baseball. So far, it’s been quite interesting. The subject of the book was a remarkable exemplar for young, Christian athletes and for adults of all ages. And his accomplishments in the field of baseball were only one side of the man. Second, as part of my preparations for teaching Sunday school, I’m reading a commentary on the epistles of John. Deep stuff. But necessary for a full understanding of what the Christian life was meant to be as lived out in practical ways by every believer.

I think those two books’ messages are interrelated, although that was not my intent when I set out to read them. Christy Mathewson apparently both believed and lived his Christian faith, and others noticed. And that’s precisely what John communicated in his epistles. Believers are to live out their faith, not just to profess it but also to demonstrate it, to be exemplars of it played out in real life.

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