Do you read with intentionality?
For most of my life I certainly didn’t. When I actually did read, it was, one, whatever was required of me, or two, whatever looked good enough to justify turning off the tv. Still yet, I hoarded books, filling up the shelves of my office with volumes that I would read “someday”. At least it looked like I was reading a lot.
While in seminary I read more than ever before. Ok, I skimmed. Ok, sure, sometimes I only bought the books. But the desire to read them all was strong! Among fellow students I heard mythical tales of the reading habits of Southern Seminary president, Al Mohler. It was said that he only slept two hours each night just to maintain his daily intake of multiple entire books.
Though I didn’t always believe the hype, I did learn a thing or two from Dr. Mohler’s approach to reading. I came across one of his articles in which he shared a few simple thoughts on reading with intentionality. In it he referred to the categories of books that guide his reading. “This helps to discipline my reading,” he noted, “and it also keeps me working across several disciplines.”
This sparked a thought in me. What if I created my own list of categories? So I did. But then the question became How will I actually read from all these categories? I needed some sort of rhythm, so I wouldn’t end up on a kick of reading within the same topic over and over.
So I decided to try having three books going at a time, one from each category of ministry, formation, and leisure. Within the big categories, the topics would then rotate through the sub-categories to make sure I was reading broadly. I have outlined my “reading rhythm” below. I hope it can be encouraging if, like me, you find yourself needing a little more intentionality in your reading.