Thursday, January 9, 2014

Missional Reading

On my FAQ list of things people can do to be more Missional, one of the higher positions is reserved for, “What should I be reading as a ‘missional believer’?”

Here are three types of reading material one should (or shouldn’t) be reading:

1. The Bible (duh)

It seems obvious that a Bible believer should read the Bible. Unfortunately that is not the case. If it were, more Christians would be reading. Instead, Christians tend to read “Christian” fiction, self-help books, or conservative political pundits. Even when they say they are reading their Bibles, what they are really reading are devotional books. (Books collecting the thoughts of other Christians who used to read the Bible.) Or, if they are really serious, academic works. (Books that tell Christians what a secular study and deconstruction of the text means.)

2. What the Culture is Reading

If you want to impact a culture, you have to know what it is thinking. Once again, obvious. However, most Christians avoid the “world” like the plague. They prefer to read sanitized, poor imitations of the popular art of their day. Preferable with sermons introduced in the ill-conceived hope that some non-Christian will accidentally read it and get saved. Actually, this is probably better since so many Christians are not reading the first item on this list. Without a clear understanding of what they believe, they are likely to mistake something like “The Hunger Games” as inspirational pre-teen literature instead of the cultural gauge that it is.

3. Christian Profession How-To’s by current Christian Celebrity Pastors.

We read the material that the people we want to talk to are reading. If you want more than anything else to interact with pastors, missionaries and other Christian professionals; then read the stuff they are reading. If you want to BE Missional and interact with non-believers, then don’t. (At least not until such a book has been around for a couple of decades and people are still singing its praises. Anything more recent than that is likely already yesterday’s news.)

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