News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Religion

June 27, 2014

THE JOY LADY: Lewis, Dumas, Bonhoeffer: The words we read feed our souls

TERRE HAUTE — I work in a public library. It’s a perfect job for a bibliophile like me. (Don’t worry, that’s not a dirty word!)

I feel there’s something almost mystical about words on a printed page. Spoken words journey through the quagmire of voice inflection, facial expression and body language before reaching their listener.

A writer’s words last forever. They sit there, on the page (or computer or e-reader screen) for all time, waiting to be read and examined over and over again. Writers seldom know what impact their words may have, but knowing their printed words can/will be read is what inspires (and terrifies) most writers, this columnist included.

So what about the book you are reading right now? Is it a romance, mystery, thriller, true crime, courtroom thriller, science fiction or maybe a classic piece of literature?

While there is nothing wrong with books of that type — I have read a few, myself — have you read anything by C. S. Lewis, J. I. Packer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Henry Blackaby, Billy Graham, Max Lucado, Oswald Chambers, Richard Foster or Philip Yancey?

Have you read any biographies of people of faith like Alexander Campbell, Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot, John Wesley, Martin Luther, C. S. Lewis, Fanny Crosby or Corrie Ten Boom?

Are you reading philosophies, theologies or works of literature that change your thinking or challenge your values?

Alexander Dumas wrote “The Count of Monte Cristo” in 1845. Over a century later, a 15 year old struggling with dyslexia named Michael Card discovered that the novel’s main character, Edmond Dantes, learned that revenge ultimately brings despair and regret. Card learned that Dantes’ only hope was in a personal relationship with God. He never forgot that lesson, and using Hebrew names for God, he wrote the words for “El Shaddai.” A year later, it was recorded by Amy Grant, and the rest is history. Reading this book changed at least one teenage boy. Have you read “The Count of Monte Cristo”?

“Mere Christianity,” by C. S. Lewis was first published in 1942, and is a collection of radio addresses that presents a relentless, forceful, logical and flawless defense of Christianity. In the book, Lewis explains that Christianity is not just a set of ancient principles for living a good life: It is relationship with the Savior of mankind.

Both Charles Colson and Liz Curtis Higgs read “Mere Christianity” and were led to understand their need to submit their lives to Christ. When Stephen Arterburn read it, he said that it showed him that most of what he had been taught about what a Christian is and is not was simply not true. Colson, Higgs and Arterburn — contemporary Christian writers with more than 75 books between them — were all influenced by this little book. Have you read “Mere Christianity”?

In “Your Mind Matters,” John R. W. Stott wrote, “The kind of food our minds devour will determine the kind of person we become.”

What book is your mind devouring right now?

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at vrdspeaks@ yahoo.com.

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