Do you read for the fun? Is that even a statement that you hear very often?
Some are seasoned readers who would say, “Reading is always fun!” I am not there. Reading is enjoyable (most of the time) but my problem is not enjoying reading, it is finding the time to read.
As a pastor, reading should be high on the list of things to do. I should always be challenging myself to learn more in theology, studying for messages, church life, christian living, etc. There are books I have to read, books I should read, and books that I want to read, but I don’t have the time at this moment to get to. I love receiving recommended books to read but those go to a long list of books that I may get to, one day.
To be honest, not everything I read is fun. The process of learning and being challenged is good but I don’t know if I would categorize it as always fun. There are times that I am really challenged with a book, and that’s not fun at times. Reading books that may convict me of sin and pointing me to the grace of God would not be considered always fun but needed.
As a college student I would spend most of my time reading what I needed to read for the different classes. Trying to fit in leisure reading was not possible. Even after college I stuck to the books that I had to read for ministry (books I would be going through with other people) or books I needed to read to grow in ministry.
I realized that I can throw in books to read that are just for fun and that is ok. At first, I struggled with this. I felt like I couldn’t spend my time that way. But, I changed my ways. Here is are three reasons why we should read for fun.
1) It’s not Bad to Read Something for Fun
We all have different tastes and definitions when it comes to reading something “fun”. For me, I can say reading a biography is fun while another person would say that would be torture.
I have learned that if I throw in a novel to read every now and then it helps me with reading and it is fairly easy for me to get through. I remember talking to one pastor who said, I never read fiction. When I asked him why, he just said he didn’t have the time to read them. I get what he was saying in regards to wanting to spend his time but I would disagree with him. It is ok to be able to read fiction. It can be fun and relaxing way to read. (I would use discretion, just like any book you pick up. Just like any form of entertainment, novels can help you and some can hurt you. Be wise in picking healthy novels).
God has given us the ability to tell a story and some people are really good at telling a story. There is nothing wrong with you enjoying these gifts that God has given to others. Stories help our creativity and imagination. C. S. Lewis said,
“For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.”
Reading a novel or fiction helps my creativity. I do find myself imagining the different characters in the book, the settings, and what it would look like. As I grow in my imagination, it helps me to be creative in communicating truth to others.
2) It Changes the Pace for Your Reading.
I can get caught up reading some challenging and weighty books but I know it is good to just pick up a fun novel now and then. I throw a novel in my reading list after a few books that are heavy or deep. It is nice to give my brain a little change. I can usually fly through a novel faster than a theology book, which helps me to be encouraged that I accomplished a book quickly.
The other danger can be only reading fictional books. I know some people who love reading fiction. They devour the pages of each book and for them it is a way of entertainment and relaxation. We should challenge ourselves to read different genre of books and ones that will help us grow. It is like going to gym, you do not work out the same muscle groups every time, you change it up. With reading different types of books, you are helping exercise your brain.
Just like resting is important for your body, reading something that is “light” can be refreshing for your mind. At this current moment, I am wrapping up The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joel Rosenberg. I always appreciate Joel’s approach to his novels being apocolyptic themed. They are intriguing stories which he always intertwines the Gospel in them.
3) Just Because it is Fun doesn’t Mean it Can’t Be Inspiring
Not every book that is big is always inspiring. Sometimes the smaller the book, the more well- written it can be and you can be inspired. Same is true with the genre of books. Fiction books can be inspiring. For example, books like The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis or even J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series. You can be inspired from Joel Rosenberg’s fiction where his stories focus on the end times. I have friends who like reading Francine Rivers and are impacted from her novels. Reading something that is fun can and should inspire you in some way.
Since I am new to the fiction genre, do you have any that you would recommend?