Learning Is More Fun When It Isn’t Required

I didn’t necessarily want to, but now I’m going to.

I’m going to read The Shack, by William P. Young.

The reason I didn’t want to read it is for the same reasons I tend to shy away from movies, music, television, fiction and the like written by and produced expressly for Christians: It’s usually sub-par art. For example, I don’t like “Christian” bands. However, I really like bands of Christians. Think Switchfoot. Or U2. I don’t like Christian authors. I like authors who happen to be Christians. Get my drift?

Anyway, this book has been taking off in my circles. Apparently, it’s been taking off in a lot of other circles, too. It’s a self-published book (which, that alone, ALWAYS sets my alarms off–there’s usually a reason no publisher wanted it) that has sold 500,000 copies…so it’s got a lot of grass-roots stuff going on (which, grass-roots usually means there’s a reason it’s got a lot of buzz despite no publisher picking it up).

But the reason I’m reading it isn’t for fun, or even interest.

It’s because some folks in my circles want to do a Bible study on it. Hence, lots of folks are wanting my opinion regarding it.

I guess I’m not excited because it reminds me of my seminary days when I had to read stuff I didn’t want to read because I had a paper to write or some class discussion on it or whatever. Side note to Family Christian Stores: It’s annoying when the other bookstores in town are sold out of the book and you have a copy, but your copy is double the cost the other bookstore had it for. And you wonder why I don’t shop Christian retail?

I have no idea why, but it’s so much fun learning when you can read what you want when you want, rather than having to read a book for a class. The hope is that, much like seminary, you’d find there was a good reason the professor had that book in the syllabus and you got exposed to a great author or good book while you were learning for credit.

I’m supposed to go see the movie Expelled for the same reason. The reviews have given it an “F” but my circles tell me that it’s a “must see.” Hard to argue with them, though, because there’s been stuff the reviews give a “B” to that’s been an “F” in my book.

Hopefully, I’ll be pleasantly surprised…

…and me setting the bar of expectation really low for both might help me do just that.