In-Sight: The Art of Reading

     In a sound-byte world, speakers and writers “live and die” by segments. Excerpts from speeches and quotes from books are often all we have.  If we speak or write, the need to be word crafters increases when people base their judgments on isolated statements and sentences. The need to use language well is a priority in our time.
     But in reality, we should evaluate people not by their phrases, but by their philosophy.  I am reading a book now by a person who writes some sentences differently than I would, but I agree with his sentiments.  So, I will continue to read what he writes and benefit from doing so. 
     We must cultivate the “art” of reading, so that we do not confuse terminology with theology.  If we see the two as equal, “code language” will be mistaken for communication, leaving us most likely with a small group of influencers whom we like because they say and write things “right.” 
     The art of reading calls us to see words as windows, opening us to a larger world of meaning.  We must not mistake words for the wonder they represent.  Statements and sentences are only bridges to lead us into the sacred. Language is essentially metaphor, and it is metaphor that escorts us into the Mystery Who is God.  If we do not listen and read in this way, we will get the words but miss the message.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to In-Sight: The Art of Reading

  1. Ric Schopke says:

    I’d like to have this on a poster in every church! Thank you for a timely reminder.

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