The Lost Art of Reading

Reading as a lost art may sound strange. After all, you’re reading this article, and nearly every adult you know can wield the reading wrench from their skills tool kit.

In reality, thoughtful reading is becoming a lost art. Even if we’re reading more, it’s primarily on screens. We scroll through social media and scan online text, barely processing one thought before a hyperlink jerks us to the next. Artful reading is dying. Many people believe it’s drawing a final breath on its deathbed.

But recovery is possible! When we recognize our manifold losses and why they matter, we can implement ways to recover artful reading.

Is Reading Lost?

Most people believe reading is worthwhile and they should read more. But nearly a quarter of adults cannot name one author or haven’t read a single book in the previous year. Retirees read more than other age groups in America, but even they don’t average as much as an hour per day. Compare that to the average of five to six hours spent daily on digital media. Many people believe technology has detrimental effects on reading.

Recovering the Lost Art of Reading

Leland Ryken, Glenda Faye Mathes

In today’s technology-driven culture, reading has become a lost art. Recovering the Lost Art of Reading explores the importance of reading generally and of studying the Bible as literature, while giving practical suggestions on how to read well.

In The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr supports his claim that Internet use causes negative brain changes. Online reading impedes analytical thought and fractures focus.

In Carr’s article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid,”1he grieves his own loss: “The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.” His mind now expects to receive information as the Internet “distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles.” He writes, “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

Michael Harris goes even farther to confess, “I have forgotten how to read.”2Unable to complete one chapter in a book, he found other people shared his problem. “This doesn’t mean we’re reading less” in our “text-gorged society,” he writes. “What’s at stake is not whether we read. It’s how we read.” He states: “In a very real way, to lose old styles of reading is to lose a part of ourselves.”

What Are We Losing?

Failures to read or read well cause us to lose life’s balance and multiple means of sharpening minds and shaping character. We may even lose crucial aspects of our spiritual lives.

A primary casualty is the loss of meaningful leisure. Finite humans need rhythms of work and rest, both of which God ordained for our good. Reading refreshes more deeply than leisure activities that fail to engage the mind and imagination.

A related loss is self-transcendence. Immersing ourselves in the reading experience lifts our minds above self-centered thoughts and concerns to focus on other people, or large themes, or God.

If we neglect reading, we lose contact with the wisdom and enrichment from the past. The voice of the past speaks with a stabilizing influence into the tyranny of the secular and politically-correct present. A weighty consideration for Christians is that their sacred book and salvation’s redemptive acts are rooted in the past.

Another loss is our failure to connect with essential human experience. A disconnection with biblical and bedrock aspects of humanity thwarts our understanding of enduring values, norms for living, and self-identity concepts. Rejecting connections with the past and essential human experience prevents our participation in civilization’s ongoing conversation.

These disconnections contribute to our loss of an enlarged vision. C. S. Lewis writes that “we seek an enlargement of our being. We want to be more than ourselves. . . . We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as our own.” 3Dismissing literature’s vast sweep of viewpoints and experiences limits our outlook and stunts our spirits.

Not reading also results in the loss of a primary means of edification. Some literature affirms the Christian faith, while a larger body embodies truth congruent with it. Even literature contradicting Christianity can edify the believer who sees through its despairing unbelief to our joyful hope in Christ. Failing to read prevents new avenues of edification.

The decline of reading has impoverished our culture and individual lives. In the process, we lose our capacity to discern the true, the good, and the beautiful.

Why Should We Care?

These losses are important for everyone, but particularly Christians. As children of The Book, we should passionately seek the true, the good, and the beautiful in every book.

If we—like Michael Harris—have forgotten how to read, we’ve lost more than delight in literary treasures. We’ve lost the ability to read the Bible consistently and attentively. What then happens to the way we live and to our relationship with God? We lose part of ourselves in ways infinitely worse than Harris imagines.

Philip Yancey conveys the extent of this risk in the title of his article, “The death of reading is threatening the soul.” 4He views a commitment to reading as a continuing battle, advocating protection against temptation and an environment that nourishes reading and meditation.

Artfully reading the Good Book and other good books is a treasure we dare not lose.

Christians are called to quiet our souls and commune with God through an open Bible. What keeps us from meditating on God regularly, receptively, and thoughtfully? Artfully reading the Good Book and other good books is a treasure we dare not lose.

Is Reading an Art?

We begin to consider reading as an art when we think about what we read and how we read. Informational reading and online skimming require only simple decoding. Imaginative literature involves complex thinking. But artful reading involves more than this basic differentiation.

Receptively and thoughtfully reading a novel or a memoir or a poem makes us an active participant in its art. An imaginative current flows between the written words and the mind’s eye. An author creates a work of literature. A reader receives and responds to it, empowering participation in its art.

In The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers identifies a book’s threefold aspect. The book as Thought (the idea in the writer’s mind), as Written (the image of the idea), and as Read (its power on the responsive mind). We participate in literature’s artistic experience by pondering the author’s idea, receiving the energy in the words, and responding to the work’s power. Such participation propels reading into the realm of art.

We discover the power of creativity with the context of a biblical aesthetic, which can be defined as a perspective steeped in scriptural knowledge and informed by artistic awareness. A foundational concept in developing a biblical aesthetic is looking for the true, the good, and the beautiful.

This triad, usually credited to ancient Greek philosophy, is actually rooted in God and his word. Philippians 4:8 urges readers to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent—a list encompassing the true, the good, and the beautiful.

The Bible teaches that God is truth and his word is truth. Because truth is integral to God’s character, Christians must search for it and walk in it. Christians prize all that is true, wherever we find it and whatever its secondary source.

As God values what is true, he equally values what is good. God is good and the origin of goodness. The Bible is our ultimate sourcebook for morality. But literature influences readers with moral (or immoral) prompts. When Christians accurately assess these prompts, we share God’s love for the good.

In addition to the true and the good, a biblical aesthetic includes the beautiful. The Bible teems with depictions of God’s beauty, details for beautiful worship items, and the beauties of creation. Beauty in our world reflects God’s beauty and his love for it. We glorify God when we delight in his good gift of beauty.

Reading is an art that we cannot afford to lose. And recovery is within our reach.

How Can We Recover Reading?

When we acknowledge the problem and its importance, we begin to recover reading by nurturing positive perspectives. Rather than view ourselves as unliterary people, we can think of ourselves as readers. Instead of stressing about not having time to read, we can exercise our freedom to choose reading’s pleasure and refreshment.

An obvious step toward recovery is to read. The more we read, the better readers we become. We learn to read carefully, immersing ourselves in the story before us. Attentive reading increases awareness of the work’s artistry, which generates joy.

Many people enjoy repeatedly reading favorites, but community with other readers through book clubs or discussion groups can introduce us to new genres and authors. Part of discovering a good book includes asking how it is true, good, and beautiful. Such evaluation helps artful reading surpass mere enlightened humanism to move into the realm of the spiritual life.

The Spiritual Component

Although the Bible is God’s authoritative and inspired word, he can work through human words to bring spiritual renewal or even conversion. Christians frequently notice ways literature resonates with our faith or nurtures our spiritual lives. This makes perfect sense because the Bible conveys its truth predominately through literary form. Obviously, spiritual growth can flow through literature. The Bible proves it.

Artful reading enriches our corporate and personal lives in countless ways. It often brings the reader closer to God. We lose it at our very great peril.

Original Article by Glenda Faye Mathew

Make St. Paddy’s Great Again

March 17.

A day where many are VIP’s (Very Irish People). So many celebrating and getting sham-rocked. But do you know anything about this holiday?

Or is it holy day?

Saint Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Blue is his favorite color. Not green. Did you know we celebrate his death not his birth? Why are there no female leprechauns? Wondering, “Where is a St. Patrick’s Day parade near me,” here are your answers by state.

Find your Guinness Gang, press your luck, and join us on this whiskey business of a podcast.

Curiosity + Love (Part II)

This is part II of Curiosity & Love. Listen to Part I first. This podcast originally aired in January 2021. Love is an incredible thing. And we don’t know love like we should. This curious conversation is a follow up to Episode #011 | Curiosity + Love. We asked supporters for their input, chatted again with the Captain of Project Falkor, and tried to make it fun. Pour your favorite cocktail and enjoi. The intro song is called Hey Mr by Mr. Sebastian. Listening time: 43 minutes

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Curiosity + Love (Part I)

This podcast originally aired in January 2021. Who doesn’t want a human diary to do life with? In this episode, we dive into love and curiosity, today’s ‘swipe life’ culture and mutual values, and how you cannot ‘unfuck’ someone. Three questions asked: How are curiosity and validation related? Is curiosity good for relationships? Why do The Curious have better relationships? The intro music is from Mr.Gnome; an alternative are rock married duo from Cleveland, Ohio. Listen to The Wild Child. Listening time: 45 minutes Resources for Podcast: Listen to Modern Romance by Aziz Anzari. Read Modern Romance by Aziz Anzari.

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What’s Under the Grundle? (podcast draft)

(draft 1/31/24)

Welcome back to staycurious.org Podcast.

The only podcast dedicated to help you kungfu your curiosity. This show is dedicated to the topic of curiosity itself.

Not the topics you doom scroll through, or the headlines you parrot while one of your friends are talking to you, nor endless ways of how you stay ignorant, distracted and misinformed.

We’re dedicated to the topic of curiosity itself. Is it a trait or a state? Innate behavior or emotion?

This show will dive into the various kinds of curiosity with the hopes to help you foster your curiosity in a way you can get a better understanding of your Self, the others you engage with and whatever fuckery life throws at you.

Think of this podcast as your Orange Theory for mental fitness or whatever trending exercise class you joined and will give up on like your upcoming New Year’s resolutions.

Or if you prefer to draw your line in the sand with a more taboo metaphor, consider this your PorhHub for your mind? MIndporn is real.

If you need a reference that relates to UFC styles or whatever Krav Maga, martial art, Joe Rogan’s guest’s are rambling about, humble yourself and embrace kung fu.

For the Incurious, in its original meaning, kung fu can refer to any discipline or skill achieved through hard work and practice, not necessarily martial arts.

With that PSA complete….sit back, relax and listen up as we see what’s under the grundle of curiosity itself.

We humans share 3 basic drives in life with most of our primate cousins and beings: food, sex, and shelter (food, fucking and finding a place to keep us safe)

Yet, humans have a 4th drive: Curiosity.

In short, your curiosity is straight up a deviant.

If left unchecked, untrained, or left to run amok, curiosity can cause mayhem for you, your life, and society as a whole.

Now, before anyone stops listening to retort, refute or add their own two cents talking about how Koko the ASL signing gorilla, or how they saw some viral video of some cat, crow or, new puppy being curious….

Just stop, try to handle your inability to listen and open up your gray matter.

Humans are different. We’re the only ones asking questions, stopping to look up to the sky and wonder what the fuck we are, when we are, where are we going, or why is my Door Dasher bringing me another bag of shame today?

Mastering your curiosity is impossible, so they say. As the shows unravel, we’re gonna learn that your curiosity is often a mystery and not a puzzle to be solved. You have two choices: fuck around, find out, and learn, OR stay a Simple Jack. The old “learn or die” metaphor.

Most of the old stories of curiosity are sometimes warnings on how chaotic & confusing curiosity can be. Ever heard of Adam & Eve & the apple of knowledge? Icarus trying to chase the sun? and Pandora’s Box? This story is actually pretty interesting, it’s the perfect idiom of riding a unicycle down a two-lane expressway: on one side is a curse, the other value.

Curiosity and the Early Christian theologians did not get along either; with one of those delusional dipshits going as far as to say “God fashioned hell for the inquisitive. Some philosophers have even gone so far to suggest curiosity is just greed by a different name.

Even the Western societies are skewed on what curiosity is and can be, often calling it a distraction and often destructive to society and the soul. And for most of modern day society, they’re right.

However, curiosity will not die nor go away. And it’s one of, if not the main ingredient for ‘the happening’, of whatever you call this existence. Need proof?

During medieval times, inquiring minds were often stigmatized, especially by the commandment of the church.

Then the Renaissance and Reformation started to interrogate curiosity like it was Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. And just like the movie, Curiosity opened up mens’ minds and showed everyone how wonderful the unknown is.

The result? The Enlightenment. Ideas exploded, big ideas were shared, encouraging questions were exchanged. Curiosity was unbarred which resulted into a wave of prosperity for the European nations and other societies that precipitated it.

Fast forward to now, and look at us. Doom scrolling and trolling each other with information from your stepmoms facebook without even questioning the source, the topic, or anything. While some say the internet has brought forward a great innovation and exchange of ideas, others disagree. Some call this the end. The Great Stagnation. Curiosity has been put back into its box, or hidden behind the black mirror, or reduced to the basic form, much like a child pointing at something not knowing what it is.

The lust for knowledge, yearn to learn, and make people hungry to question and create outside the box thinking, without getting your feelings hurt or complaining to the internets is a real problem.

We’re creating a world of cognitive misers. We all want shortcuts, the easy way, and answers. Well, if that’s you and you’re still listening. This podcast may not be for you. Battles, wars and bar stool philosophizing are happening with most of us just loading up biases, shitty headlines, or romanticizing what your overpriced degree taught you. Don’t get it twisted, we’re all cognitive misers.

The future belongs to the Curious. Embrace the future. Don’t like where you’re at? Fuck around and find out and make a new blueprint. Challenge your Self. Find the cognitive misers and challenge them. The Incurious are everywhere and making pet sperm faster than Nick Canon multiplies.

CLOSER

 

Simple Silicone Better Than Apple Watch?

In a recent study, people are reverting back to simple silicone wristbands to inspire self-directed learning; and help disconnect from the copious amounts of information bombarding their daily lives. Further findings suggest this analog technology will also increase one’s conversational skills; the working theory is based on being less distracted by digital notifications and refocused and stronger curiosity. Get your Original staycurious.org Simple Silicone here. Check out staycurious.org Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, & Amazon.

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Fuck Finding Your Passion

This podcast originally aired in January 2021. 2021 has arrived with the ‘new year, new me’ mantra everywhere. Millions of souls are inspired with resolutions and  following advice like ‘find your passion.’ Unfortunately, it’s kind of shitty advice. In short, telling people to find their passion could suggest that passion is within you, just waiting to be revealed. It. Is. Not. Telling people to follow their passion suggests that passion will do the lion’s share of the work for you. It. Will. Not. We look at the effects of both fixed and growth mindsets and their impact on learning, curiosity,

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