Calvin vs Calvin
I have read some Calvin, the comics that is, not the Calvin that has contributed greatly to our understanding of biblical theology. And this made me think…What are we reading and does it really matter? First off I am going to acknowledge the irony that I am writing something because I hope someone out there will read it. I WANT you to read and even more so I want you to read MY stuff, and after all why wouldn’t you? It is fantastic stuff! So acknowledging the irony that I am writer who wants to be read I want to give you some food for thought on reading.
So like I was saying, I have read some Calvin, the one with the tiger that is. In fact I have read a good amount of comic’s and I check two sites almost weekly for new content and a good chuckle. XKCD and Dilbert are some of my favorites. Nothing wrong with that. But what I am trying to think through recently is what am I reading.
There are some areas that I am trying to wrestle with, the first of which is substance. When it comes to substance the question I am asking is. “Does what I am reading actually have substance to it or is it all superficial and fluffy?” Let’s face it, there is so much out there to read. So many of us (myself included) want you to gaze your eyes upon our words. We want to be read. We want you to be entertained and hooked into our words. So we need to learn to filter what we are consuming. What we consume matters. As we read I want to ask the question, how much of what I am reading actually matters? Did that article or story mean anything? Did the writer actually say anything of worth or was it just fluffy? What was the author trying to convey or teach? We can be, and we should be critical of what we are reading. The other question we should be asking is; “Am I reading more fluffy superficial stuff than I should? When was the last time I actually read something of substance?” Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying that you should only read things of substance. Substance is important, we should be reading things that teach us or stretch us. Superficial things matter likewise, our brains need some downtime from heavy reading. We need something to laugh at and enjoy. Our question is, “Does what I am reading have substance or is it all superficial?” The challenge for us is to be looking for substance and not to allow ourselves to just be consumed purely by fluff that will not grow us. Alongside this question I am also asking the question on content.
While I have already spoken about substance another question that needs to be thought through is, “What kind of content I am reading?”. By this I am speaking about what is actually contained in the material. Is what I am reading filled with content that is not appropriate? This question should stem beyond just what we read but we need to acknowledge that a lot of what is out there has some rough content. Now obviously this area is somewhat up to the personal convictions of each person but we must be filtering what we read. If I wouldn’t watch it on screen I don’t want to read it on paper. I don’t want to fill my mind with material that is filled with scenes that are overly explicit or that promote sin. Yes this threshold is different for everyone but I prefer to walk conservatively in this area. There is so much content out there to consume I don’t need to waste my time with things that push this boundary. So what if I have never read or watch the highly praised HBO’s series everyone is speaking about? I would much rather be entertained by the world of Narnia. I do not have FOMO (fear of missing out). I prefer a clean conscience and I encourage you to learn to filter your content in someway or another.
When it comes to reading I also recognize, as you have also done no doubt, that time is a limited resource. I will never be able to read all that is out there. I probably wont even make a dent. But I can make what I read count. Material is being turned out constantly. That material, lets be honest, is not always good. So I am asking these questions above as I read to help me make the most of how I spend my time reading. We need to be intentional in our consumption. How do you decide on what to spend your time reading? Are you reading purely Calvin and Hobbes or does it have more substance? What are you reading now?