Rob Bell is coming out with a new book at the end of this month. There’s been quite the buzz over the past week. There are some who are concerned that Bell is now a universalist while others are concerned that labels are being applied without first reading the book.
I have a different problem….
.there are just too many books.
I like Rob Bell. I like his video series. I used to listen to his sermons via MP3s while driving in the car. But I’ve only read one book, Velvet Elvis. In fact, a friend and I did a podcast reviewing the book. The other books either didn’t interest me, or I thought they were too expensive for the content (that’s another issue however).
Anyway, I actually have a new problem now…I just not that interested. Over the past few years I have grown dissatisfied with types of books being published. I’m sure there are some very good books, but who has the time to read through them to discover which ones are good? I don’t. A lot of the books being published can be read through in a few hours. They are very ‘consumer’ oriented. They are meant to be consumed; read, marked up, discussed, and then put on a shelf. I’m tired of the consumer book.
It could just be me though. Perhaps it is how I approach reading. It seems, however, that books that were the ‘hit’ five or ten years ago aren’t that big of a hit now. We have moved on. But why? Why is the shelf life so short?
I find I am being drawn to books that have been around for a while. If a book that is over three hundred years old is still being published, there is probably a reason. I want to know why. Books by St. Augustine, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, John Wesley, John Cassian, etc. are not, in my opinion, easy reads. They are deep. They are thick. They have substance. Some I have read more than once and there are still depths left to explore.
Someone gave me the advice that for every new book you read make sure to read an old one. That is good advice. Be forewarned….you might find that as you read the old books you loose the desire for the new ones.