Do you feel like a “bad christian” when you don’t read your Bible? I know a lot of people do – guilty and ‘what a bad person I am’ and ‘Jesus must be sad with me’ and all of that.
It’s never been something I have fallen under, to my memory. Rather, I get bummed with myself, because I am missing out on that form of connection with God. I know a lot of people find the Bible “boring” and “archaic”, “hard to read” and “irrelevant for today” but I really don’t. It is the one book I have been able to read again and again and still get fresh understanding and life out of it.
So it doesn’t make a lot of sense why I keep ending up at places where I am not reading my bible as regularly as I could be [like now] and often it is due to distraction, busyness and procrastination. So to help me avoid those recurring places of inevitable arrival I came up with two ideas to encourage me to read more.
The first was to start reading through the Psalms which is a part of the bible I don’t gravitate easily towards [there are other bits I enjoy more – Numbers is not one of them!] and so I began a series which I called ‘Psalmthing to Chew on’ with the idea that I will work through the Psalms at my own pace and draw one or two ideas or lines out of each Psalm that jump out at me and blog on them [so not an extensive exegesis of the whole Psalm at all] and then invite readers to jump in if they want and add their own reflections or comment on mine. And so I started that which you can find here and not a lot of people jumped in, but I have heard from time to time that people are enjoying them and so I continue, remembering that first and foremost the idea was for me to be reading the Bible more. I am on about Psalm 54 and the one that has been by far the most popular and visited [and I have no idea why – but five times any other post] is psalmthing to chew on: psalm 18 so if you were wanting to take a look and add your thoughts that might be an interesting one to begin with.
Secondly, I started making short video blogs [“vlogs”, apparently, but I’m not sure enough people know the name] on my walk through the book of Mark in the new testament which I really do enjoy and those have been a lot of fun. Also not hugely visited with an average of between 10 and 30 hits per clip [which are usually between 5 and 8 minutes long and which you can find here] and again there is one that stands head and shoulders above the others in terms of popularity. Jesus has a death wish [Mark 3.1-6] received 4 to 5 times the hits the other clips have. There is one distinct difference with this one though. It was like the material caught me unawares. I was busy chatting a little about the reading and suddenly I got hit by a wave of emotion which you can pick up if you watch carefully, but it is fairly subtle and while it may not seem particularly important to those watching, it was a real moment of connection and significance for me. So I enjoy that one. And for some reason others have too.
I have a friend called Kevin Smuts who reminds me that I am not doing these for the masses, but at the very least for myself, and for him. He enjoys them and his support of me has encouraged me again and again to continue on, remembering that this is clearly not for the crowds, but I am learning and growing and being challenged and there are some others along the way who are as well.
So if any of you were looking to get back into a more regular reading of your bibles, here is an option. Not the best or deepest or most theological or anything like that. But just a guy working through Psalms and Mark, sharing some thoughts and interested to hear yours. Anyone up for the journey?