Whelp, we’re a third of the way into March, and I’m just now getting to my Reading Challenge post. It’s been a busy month, y’all.
First, my brilliant husband scored his first job post-doctorate life, so we know we’ll be staying put for a few more years (huzzah!). We’re keeping an eye on our local housing market for a house with a bit more elbow room for the growing kiddos. We celebrated a birthday milestone for my madre. Yadda yadda yadda.
I have, however, checked out my March book and cracked it open. March’s challenge asks us to read a book that intimidates us. My first thought was War and Peace or some similar tome. Since I struggled last month to finish a non-fiction book, I decided to take an angle different than “Wow, this book is really, really long, and that intimidates me!”.
I’ve chosen to read Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. If you’re a Democrat, you won’t see this as very challenging. I, however, grew up in a conservative, Republican family, and my husband and I are continuing down this path. I tend to shy away from books written by people who believe differently than myself. Yes, this isn’t a very brave way to live. I have this innate worry that tells me immersing myself in different beliefs may alter my core beliefs, which I do believe to be true. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stretch ourselves.
This didn’t really strike me until I was in a biblical perspectives class at my Southern Baptist college. I finally realized that I couldn’t simply swallow what people tried to feed me (like people do when they claim they “read an article” about some topic. If you read a blog post on Facebook, please don’t necessarily take it as fact!). I was allowed to disagree with someone with a doctorate and a full resume of experience.
Honestly, I tend to shy away from the “Christians need to be in the world, but not of the world” idea. First, Christians tend to toss this phrase around as if it’s a scriptural truth. Second, I feel like Christians use the phrase to give themselves permission to flirt with the world.
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. – Matthew 10:16 NASB
To be as shrewd as serpents, do we really need to have intimate knowledge of the world? I don’t buy it. Yes, let’s avoid living in isolated bubbles in our stained-glass aquariums, as we’d have zero impact on the world for Christ, but we don’t need to toe the line in terms of moral compromise either.
OK, all that said…I’m reading a book written by a former president I disagreed with throughout his entire presidency. I have this irrational fear that reading his thoughts could cause me to cave in my own conservative beliefs of how our government and society should be run. However, I’m stepping a little bit out of that bubble to get a glimpse from the other side. We all know things would get accomplished more harmoniously and effectively if we’d take a breather and do this in so many circumstances.
Plus, maybe some of my beliefs could use a bit of a challenge. I try to believe in the truths of the Bible, but I’m incredibly fallible and easily could hold fast to some ideals that are better left behind.
And so, this book is a personal challenge to me, and that can be intimidating. I hope you pick a book that intimidates you in some way, as well. Keep me posted on what you’ve chosen and why. We can all do with a little stretching every now and then.
In other news, if you have readers in your life who you think would enjoy this reading challenge, why not share this post with them? I’d love to have others follow along and share the journey.