Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Book addiction?

Is there such a thing called – book addiction? I have never heard of it. Many of us have been writing about modern worship practices, the addiction people can fall into due to the emotional element in songs, music etc. People look for some ‘high’ in music and feel their dry spiritual realm is being nurtured by listening to the hyping/downing effect of music. During the death of Anna Nicole Smith and the surrounding controversies, I learned a new thing – her favorite pills were the ‘downers’, but apparently there are the ‘hypers’ as well. Interesting… Well, I think it doesn’t have to be drugs, people can look for some ‘high’ or ‘down’ in anything such as music, TV, movie, books.

Books? After all, Bible is a book and it may be a good thing to be addicted to that. I wasn’t a good reader during most of my life. I could concentrate on one book not more than 10 minutes at a stretch, then my mind would start wandering into the areas totally unrelated to what I am reading. That is history now. Grace captured my mind and surprisingly grace comes with creativity and artistic thoughts. For example, I have a great admiration towards the beauty of creation around me. The trees, flowers, mountains, animals, sky and stars were always been there, but now I am like I have never seen them before. I used to glance at these things, but now I can be totally lost in watching them. I forgot one thing in the list – books! Today, I am at a point where I can’t even sleep without reading a book. I look forward for that one hour after putting the kids to sleep. My question is, is this a problem? Can any of you relate to what I am saying?

Few days ago, I wrote a blog about approval addiction and quoted a scripture where Paul says, though everything is permissible, he wouldn't let anything to take control over him. Well, I don't think, books control my life, but it has a huge impact, especially the books which talks about the love of God. I never get tired of reading them. Now I am wondering if I am addicted...


Matthew said...

I'm a lot like you, Bino, when it comes to reading books on God's love. I love reading them. I love reading books period. Though sometimes it's hard for me to be quiet enough to sit down to read a book. I always have trouble with my "highs." I'm constantly looking for something to satisfy my need for entertainment. Simply being quiet is very difficult for me to do. So I really understand the need for a high lol.

Joel Brueseke said...

As I read this post, the very same verse came to mind that you ended up mentioning. :)

I think you're right... people can become addicted to 'religious' or 'spiritual' things, such as reading the Bible, church activities, praise and worship, approval of others, etc. People are "brought under the power" of some of these things.

I think one of the 'keys' is simply remaining humble before the Lord and learning to let His life express itself through us. I don't mean keeping "short accounts" with Him. :) I just mean that He is our life and the only way we live in the victory that He has already given us is to let it be His overcoming life in us, and not our own attempts at trying to stop addictions from beginning, or overcoming them.

One of my own personal possible 'stumbling blocks' is blogs. I'm subscribed to over 50 blogs. I went through a short period in which I was simply overwhelmed by keeping up with all of the blog updates and comments. There was so much that I enjoyed reading and so much that I wanted to say to participate in them. Well, I had to weed through my subscriptions and delete a few of them, and there are other ones that I simply skim through and don't even attempt to comment on.

I was being 'brought under the power' of the blogging world. :) But I realized it, and I simply had to humble myself and say that God doesn't need me to read all these blogs, and He doesn't need me to comment on all of them!

In the end it was actually quite a good learning experience.

Bino Manjasseril said...

I am glad I have company in this matter:) I always had great admirations for people who read. I have seen people reading in airports and other public places, in the midst of all kind of distractions. I have often wondered how they do it. Getting inspired by those readers, once I took a book with me to read in the airplane when I went to India (more than 18 hrs of journey), but I couldn't even read a single page due to the distractions in the flight. One of my reading characteristic is that I don't like to miss the meaning of even one sentence on the page. But today I think, I could read, even in the midst of all the commotion.
Anyways, I don't want this thing to be a substitute for Jesus. At the same time, I am convinced that God can amazingly use books to reveal Himself in our lives. My life was changed by by reading 'Classic Christianity' and 'Grace Walk'.

It is interesting you mentioned the keeping up with blogs. Oh Boy! In the Google reader, I have subscribed to 20 blogs/devotions (still far behind you!), and now my starred items folder is growing day by day (I first star the items which I want to read in the future). My perfectionist spirit wouldn't let me leave the unread items there, which to him is like a 'incomplete' task. Well, I think I too need to remove some subscriptions as part of the 'Spring cleanup' :)