Don’t Read Nice Books

It is always somewhat exciting to start a new book, especially one you have good reason to believe will be good. Clean, stiff, untouched…soon it will be bent, written on, underlined, stained. I’m not nice to my books. And a good book will not be nice to me. There is a place, I guess, for nice books, but the best books are never nice. Good books are rude, pushy, and inconsiderate of your feelings and comforts. A good book, unlike a nice book, confronts, challenges thought, forces one to think, reconsider, change. A good book will take you where you’ve never been before; often times kicking and screaming.

Most pastors read, but they read nice books. It’s a shame that with the little amount of time they do have to read that they bother to read the stuff they do: commentaries, church growth/management, books that develop their skills or give them new ways of doing the same old thing all the while ignoring the pastor’s true self, his center, his soul.

So really there are a few problems: 1) pastors don’t have or don’t take the time to read, 2) when they read they read nice books…not good books.

If you’re looking for a book that’s not nice try Seeds, by Thomas Merton, selected and edited by Robert Inchausti, Shambhala Press. I had to go through it twice. I can’t remember ever marking up a book like I did this one. Get it, read it, let it challenge you. And then, write me and we can talk about it.

What “not nice” book would you recommend?

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