Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Move your reading and writing from functional and predictable to refreshing, expanding, contemplative with these 5 daily practices

So, here is my summer reading challenge. It's what I'm personally undertaking and bringing into a daily discipline during these months. 

This is the Springdale Tree in the Springdale neighborhood
on Indianapolis' Near Eastside. It is along Brookside Drive
South.  To me, this is the grandest tree in Indiana.
I'm doing this not so much because I'm not reading and writing enough, but because I tend to read and write in a rut. Also, because I tend to read and write mostly related to my work and out of necessity.  These are fine, but they don't register as spiritual formation, soul food, contemplation, or mindfulness (apart from the spirituality of work, that is).  I'm attempting to move from predictable reading and writing to something a bit more expansive and refreshing. 

Care to join me in this summer exercise?

Here are the daily practices:

1. Read four newspaper or news magazine articles daily.  Online editions are fine.  Focus: news.  Op-ed pieces don't count.  Sports pieces don't count.  Celeb stuff doesn't count.  Read the whole article.

2. Read one chapter in a novel or nonfiction book daily.  A whole chapter.  Like it or not.

3. Read in your Scriptures daily.

4. Write at least a page-length of something or to someone daily.  Not work-related.  Not texting.  Not basic emailing.

5. Spend an hour alone and unplugged daily.  No reading.  No electronic media.  No music.  Just you, alone.

At the end of August, let me know your response to this exercise.  I'll blog my experience here, too.


  1. Wow, John. I was just getting ready to post a note on FB asking for summer reading suggestions, and there was your post. Gosh, I think I might be able to do 4 out of 5. Which I think might be a really good move in the right direction. I mean, unless for number 5 I can count part of my reading. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure it would be 4 out of 5. But I do like the sound of this. What do you think?

  2. So, #5 is a stretch. What if 15 minutes, not an hour? Or, include writing in the hour. Non-assignment writing is reflective and contemplative by nature. Not sure if I should include riding my bike in silence in this. I typically have my ipod cranked to music or an audiobook. I just want to set up an untypical experience of taking in information and grace and processing it.

  3. Wow John, that's a great challenge. I don't know if I can do all of those, butI'm already implementing some of your list. The biggest one for me willbe spending an hour alone and unplugged. A great challenge. I'm looking forward to checking back and seeing how the challenge is working as you are processing it here. Thanks for spurring us on brother.


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