Daily Riches: Transformation, Transcendence and Reading (E. B. White, C. S. Lewis, Rebecca Solnit and Franz Kafka)

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.” Franz Kafka

“…doubt has been raised as to the future of reading – whether the printed word is on its last legs. One college president has remarked that in fifty years ‘only five percent of the people will be reading.’ For this, of course, one must be prepared. But how prepare? To us it would seem that even if only one person out of a hundred and fifty million should continue as a reader, he would be the one worth saving, the nucleus around which to found a university. We think this not impossible person, this Last Reader, might very well stand in the same relation to the community as the queen bee to the colony of bees, and that the others would quite properly dedicate themselves wholly to his welfare, serving special food and building special accommodations. From his nuptial, or intellectual, flight would come the new race of men, linked perfectly with the long past by the unbroken chain of the intellect, to carry on the community.” E. B. White

“Like many others who turned into writers, I disappeared into books when I was very young, disappeared into them like someone running into the woods. What surprised and still surprises me is that there was another side to the forest of stories and the solitude, that I came out that other side and met people there.” Rebecca Solnit

“…My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. …in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like a night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.” C. S. Lewis

“in reading this you will be able to understand my insight” Ephesians 3:4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you read broadly enough to “transcend” yourself (your experience, perspective, biases, prejudices and assumptions)?
  • Have you run into the woods (like entering Narnia through the wardrobe), met unexpected people there, and been forever changed by that?
  • Do you position yourself for personal transformation by attempting to “understand the insight” of Others?

Abba, as I’m exposed to the voices of Others, may I transcend my tiny self.

For More: How to Read Slowly by James Sire


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)


Daily Riches: Spiritual Formation and the Love of Books (Henry Ward Beecher and Charles H. Spurgeon)

“Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore?” Henry Ward Beecher

“He was inspired, and yet he wants books!
He had been preaching for thirty years, and yet he wants books!
He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books!
He had a wider experience than most men do, and yet he wants books!
He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things that it was not lawful for a man to utter, and yet he wants books!
He had written a major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!” Charles Haddon Spurgeon on the Apostle Paul

“Give yourself to reading. …Master those books you have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they saturate you. Read and reread them…digest them. Let them go into your very self. Peruse a good book several times and make notes and analyses of it. A student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books he has merely skimmed. Little learning and much pride comes from hasty reading. Some men are disabled from thinking by their putting meditation away for the sake of much reading. In reading let your motto be ‘much not many.’” Spurgeon

 “When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus,
and the books, especially the parchments.”
2 Timothy 4:13

“But beyond this, my son, be warned:
the writing of many books is endless,
and excessive devotion to books
is wearying to the body.”
Ecclesiastes 12:12

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do agree that both reading too little or reading too much can be a problem?
  • Do you carve out time to read regularly and deeply? Do you also read widely – e.g., interacting with authors from other times, other continents, other cultures – people’s whose temperament, race, gender, economic status, politics or religion is very different from yours?
  • Can you relate to the danger of “putting meditation away for the sake of much reading?” If this is a temptation for you, what is behind it? What exactly is the danger for you?

Abba, thank you for all the men and women whose books I turn to again and again. Their words help me to hear your Words. Draw me closer to you through them.

For More:  Lectures to My Students by Charles H. Spurgeon

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”