While surfing the web for resources for my temporary job as a substitute teacher, I ran into Scholastic’s You Are What You Read campaign. It encourages people all over the world to choose the fives books that have influenced their lives the most, and interact with a global community that shares their bookprint. After all, the books you read and the information that you gather from them can help shape who you are and what you think.
I would also say that the books you read shape who people think you are–people’s perception of you.
Recently, a friend invited me to spend a relaxing weekend at a hotel in Punta Cana. I plunged into the pool water and looked around at people [foreigners: mostly Europeans and Americans at the hotel]–I like to do that sometimes. I noticed that most of the people were either swimming and drinking at the pool bar, or they were resting in their chaise lounges while reading a book. Actually, most of the people who were not swimming were reading a book.
One woman was reading a book about dogs. The title went something like this: “If your Dog Could Talk…”
Many other women were reading those cheap romantic novels with the face of a hunky guy on the cover.
But there was this older man, lying in his chair beside the woman I assume was his wife, who was reading a book titled: “Worth Dying For” by Lee Child.
I remember that book caught my eye. I made a mental note of the book title, making sure I would remember to google it when I got home. In the midst of all the weird books the tourists were reading, I found a book that seemed to be worth reading. And based on what I assumed the book talked about because of the title, I had what I thought was a very accurate idea of who that man was. [Maybe you would’ve had the same idea I did if you’re used to church lingo].
But this idea crumbled to pieces when I finally googled the book.
It so happens that Worth Dying For is actually a thriller novel about a man [Jack Reacher] who tries to bring justice to a little Nebraska town–or something of the sort. Somehow, all the pieces that fit perfectly in my head and that screamed that the aforementioned man was a Christian might not have been so certain after all.
Obviously,the title Worth Dying For was not speaking about Jesus’ sacrifice and the name of the author was not Lee Strobel. But had I not googled it, my perception of that man–based on the book he was reading–would’ve remained unchanged. It’s not that other people’s opinions should dictate what we should and shouldn’t do. It’s not that our book collection should be limited to “spiritual” matters only. But is the book we’re reading a testimony of Christ in our lives? Are we using our book covers and titles as a subtle way of proclaiming Christ?
Have you had experiences like this? Thoughts? Please comment below.