Do You Wish You Could Read Faster? Four Reasons to Slow Down By David Mathis

Cut out all the time between plays, and you can watch all the action of a nine-inning baseball game in about 18 minutes. Do the same with the average football game, and your total viewing time is only 11 minutes.

Sounds efficient, but is it all just the same? Is “speed watching” anywhere close to experiencing the ups and downs of the contest over three hours? Would a real baseball enthusiast be satisfied to “speed watch” Game 7 of last year’s World Series, or an avid football fan Clemson’s last-second win over Alabama, or the Patriots’ historic come-from-behind victory in the last Super Bowl?

Collapse whole games into just wall-to-wall action, and you may quickly see what happened, and download the basic data, but you won’t experience the emotional significance of each moment. You will end up missing the vital tension and resolution of those critical plays where everything’s on the line. You’ll forfeit the fullest enjoyment of the game, and miss the heart of what has made the sport so popular and powerful.

Join the Slow Movement

I’m generally a slow reader, not because I couldn’t speed myself up in some measure, but because I want to enjoy reading, and genuinely profit from it. I want to be changed by what I read. I’m not typically looking just to run new data between my ears, but as a rule, I want to feel the emotional significance of each moment, and let it have its full effect.

I realize the Information Age isn’t slowing us down, but subtly and constantly pressuring us to speed up. As we browse, surf, and scroll, we’re training ourselves to quickly see new facts and then look for the next figures, rather than feel the weight of what we read.

So, consider slowing down with me. I’m not saying only read slow. It’s good to develop different speeds for different types of content and different goals. I’m simply waving a little flag for developing your slow gear, when all around you is saying, “Faster!” I won’t pretend every Christian should do it this way. I’m thankful others have different callings and capabilities. But here are four modest pieces of advice for Christian reading that doesn’t miss the heart.

1. Enjoy the benefits of reading slow.

Those of us who are simply slower readers may feel it as a weakness, but what if we realized that reading slowly isn’t necessarily a handicap, and that there are benefits? John Piper confesses his slowness as a reader, and does his level best to capitalize on it. This vision alone may be enough to make an able “speed-reader” take intentional steps to develop his slow gear:

I read slowly — about as fast as I speak. Many people read five or ten times faster than I do. I tried for years to overcome this weakness, with special classes and books and techniques. After about two decades of bemoaning this weakness (from age 17 to 37 or so), I saw there would be no change. This is one reason I left college teaching and the academic life. I knew I could never be what scholars ought to be: widely read.

What did it mean for me to identify and exploit this weakness? It meant first that I accept this as God’s design for my life. I will never read fast. It meant I stop complaining about it. It meant that I take my love for reading and do with it what I can for the glory of Christ. If I can only read slowly, I will do all I can to read deeply. I will exploit slowness. I will ask Jesus to show me more in reading little than many see in reading much. I will ask Jesus to magnify his power in making my slowness more fruitful than speed. (“Don’t Waste Your Weakness”)

Read deeply, and exploit your weakness.

2. Feel the freedom not to finish.

Some of us feel a kind of unspoken (and unexamined) pressure to finish any book we start. As if we’ve failed, and all our reading was in vain, if we don’t make it till the end. That is emphatically not the case. If the book’s bad, don’t waste any further time trudging through it. And even if it’s a good, helpful book, you do not have to finish to benefit. In fact, you may be squandering time if you’re finishing every book you start.

Call it the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of what most non-fiction books have to offer can be found in about 20 percent of their pages. So I feel no obligation to finish a book just because I started it. Without apology, I ransack books for as much as I can get in the time I have. I do a lot of dipping in, not a lot of cover-to-cover reading. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m reading fast. But I am on the lookout for the 20 percent.

3. Beware the losses of “speed-reading.”

I do wonder how much “speed-reading” really is a mirage. It sounds great, on the surface, to get more information in less time. But is reading really just about information? Is that our great need today — more data? Is “reading” a whole book in a stressful two hours really a better investment than truly enjoying a fifth of it in the same amount of time?

I have found that I typically get out of reading what I put into it. When I read quick and thin, I access more information, but I suspect it makes me a thin thinker. I may have a lot of facts and figures in my head, but will I know how they relate to each other, what they mean in the real world, and what wise applications to make? If I read slow and deeply, I won’t avail myself of all the data a speed-reader can take in, but I will learn, I hope, to think and feel deeply. I may have less information at my fingertips, but I’ll be better equipped to handle what I do have.

4. Read to be transformed, not just informed.

I’ve already said as much; now let the counsel be clear: learn to read for more than just information. Sure, there are times where we’re tackling a new subject, and we need to get our bearings in a lot of new data. Again, developing some ability to move quickly through text on occasion can be a helpful skill to have. But for me, I do not want this to be my habit or typical pace when I read.

I want my default to be slow and steady and engaged. Retention is one thing; transformation is another. Typically, I don’t read for mere data, and I don’t even read just to retain. I read to be changed for the better, for mine and for others’. Fast food may meet the need at times, but I don’t want to build a diet on it. When you read — whatever you read — seek to have it shape you in some new way, large or small, for Christ, whether the author intended it, or even despite the author’s designs.

Read Without Rushing

Whatever your regular reading pace, don’t jump in so quickly that you neglect to ask for God’s help. This is paramount when coming to Scripture, but even as we pause to open a book or read an article for spiritual nourishment, how much better might we be for it to explicitly ask our gracious heavenly Father to smile upon our efforts to be not only informed but transformed?

The heart that asks for God’s help in our reading — whether the content is Christian or not — is a heart he loves to bless. Such a posture will go a long way in finding the right pace for productive reading.

 

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Grammar For Beginners: All About Adjectives By Amanda Patterson

Over the next few months, I will be writing a Grammar For Beginners series. I am starting with parts of speech.

What Are Parts Of Speech?

Language is made up of different words with different functions. These words are are known as parts of speech.

“In the English language, words can be considered as the smallest elements that have distinctive meanings. Based on their use and functions, words are categorised into several types or parts of speech.” (From Parts of Speech)

These categories are:

  1. Nouns
  2. Adjectives
  3. Conjunctions
  4. Verbs
  5. Articles
  6. Adverbs
  7. Prepositions
  8. Pronouns

A part of speech is also sometimes known as a word class.

Today, I will discuss adjectives.

All About Adjectives

An adjective is a word that describes a noun. There are two kinds of adjectives: attributive and predicative.

Attributive

The attributive stands next to a noun and describes it.  The usual place of the adjective is in front of the noun.

Example: The black cat climbed a tree.
Sometimes, for dramatic effect, the adjective can come after the noun.
Example: This is the jungle dark.

Predicative

The predicative is when a verb separates it from the noun or pronoun it describes.

Examples:

  1. The crowd was happy.
  2. The driver was furious.
  3. This bread tastes stale.

Types Of Adjectives

  1. qualitative: good, French
  2. possessive: my, your, their
  3. relative and interrogative: which, what, whatever
  4. numeral: one, two, second
  5. indefinite: some, any, much
  6. demonstrative: this, that, the

What Is An Adjectival Phrase?

‘An adjective phrase is a group of words that describe a noun or pronoun in a sentence. The adjective in an adjective phrase can appear at the start, end, or in the middle of the phrase. The adjective phrase can be placed before, or after, the noun or pronoun in the sentence.’ Source

Examples:

  1. We were so poor we became used to living on the streets.
  2. The trials for the games were unbelievably difficult.
  3. The overly enthusiastic students tried to impress the teacher.

The Correct Order for Multiple Adjectives

If you need to use a few adjectives in a row, they should be written or spoken in a specific order. Most English speaker do this naturally, but if English is your second language, this is the order to use:

  1. Opinion: amazing, charming
  2. Size: tiny, huge
  3. Age: youthful, elderly
  4. Shape: oval, square
  5. Colour: red, gold
  6. Origin: French, Japanese
  7. Material: linen, glass
  8. Purpose: dressing, as in a dressing room; sewing, as in a sewing machine

Top Tip: Do not use too many adjectives in your writing. Choose nouns that do most of the work for you.

Look out for next week’s post on verbs.

 

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Off The Wall: We Decide Who & What Gets Our Attention– Mike Rowe

Returning the Favor - Operation Combat Bikesaver

Hey Mike – I know you avoid politics, (thanks!) and I remember your rant on the Colt’s leaving Baltimore. (As a former Brown’s fan, I feel your pain.) But I gotta ask – what’s happening to professional football, and what do you make of Trump’s comments about those who refuse to stand during the national anthem?

Robert Amon

Hi Robert

In democracies, we the people get the government we deserve. We also get the celebrities we deserve, the artists we deserve, and the athletes we deserve. Because ultimately, we the people get to decide who and what gets our attention, and who and what does not.

Right now, The NFL, the players who choose to kneel, the networks who choose to broadcast their protest, the advertisers who sponsor the games, and the President of the United States, are all eager for our attention. And they are all using football to get it. That’s all well and good, right up to the point where it isn’t. In my view, the real controversy here isn’t about patriotism, social justice, racial inequality, or free speech. It’s not even about the flag or the national anthem. It’s really only about one thing – what we will tolerate, and what we won’t.

I was disappointed last night, to hear President Trump encourage owners to fire players who refuse to stand for the anthem. Not because I dispute the owners right to do so, or the players right to protest. I was disappointed because the President’s comments presuppose that the owners are in charge of the game. They’re not. We are. We decide what to watch, and that decision – far more than any other consideration – will determine the what the owners choose to do. And that in turn will affect what the players choose to do.

As the leader of the country, the President had an opportunity to remind us that The NFL, the networks who broadcast their games, and all of the players – standers and kneelers alike – work for us. He might have also used the occasion to remind us that he too, serves at our pleasure.

I felt a similar bemusement when the Commissioner issued his response, followed by the President of the Player’s Union. Their comments – along with the comments of many of the players themselves – were perfectly reasonable, perfectly understandable, and perfectly in keeping with their first amendment rights. But they were also perfectly arrogant. Because they too, presuppose that millions of fans will continue to watch them play a game – no matter what.

Perhaps they’re right. Historically, football fans have shown a collective willingness to ignore and enable all sorts of dubious behavior. The players have agents and unions, the owners have money and power, and the fans are always caught in the middle. The resulting strikes and the constant uprooting of teams from broken-hearted towns proves beyond all question the overall lack of regard for fans in general.

But here’s the thing, Rob. The fans of professional football are not powerless – they’re just not yet offended enough to turn the channel. Should that ever change in a meaningful way – if for instance, a percentage of football fans relative to those players who chose to kneel during today’s games, chose to watch something else next Sunday – I can assure you…the matter would be resolved by Monday.

Mike

 

 

PS. If you’d like to spend a few minutes with some actual heroes – combat veterans who made sure today’s athletes have the right to kneel for our flag, or honor it – might I suggest the first episode of Returning the Favor? Twenty-five million people have already approved of this segment, and my hope, is that you will, too.
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Review of The Legacy of Luther

The Legacy of Luther

 

In their book, The Legacy of Luther, Editors R.C. Sproul and Stephen Nichols examine the life and work of the conflicted German monk who sparked the Reformation. In this new volume published 500 years after the pivotal event in church history, Sproul, Nichols, and thirteen other theologians and scholars look at different aspects of Martin Luther’s biography, work and ministry, and bring new light on a man known for his intellect, passion and, yes, imperfection.

The Legacy of Luther is not extensive, but its three-part structure, including Luther’s life, thought, and legacy, allows the reader an in-depth perspective on the man’s impact, both in his own time and in ours today. This is without separating Luther’s theological positions from the biographical or historical context, or air brushing his personal flaws. The book is informative, accessible, and readable without burdening the prose with technical and scholarly language.

If you would like a comprehensive look at this giant of church history, I cannot recommend The Legacy of Luther more highly.

 

 

 

I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

 

 

 

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Review of A Rendezvous in Haiti

a rendevous in Haiti

 

In Steven Becker’s A Rendezvous in Haiti, Lt. Robert Macalister is in the country shortly after World War One to quell an uprising. When the rebel leader kidnaps the General’s daughter, Macalister’s love interest, the Lieutenant must go to extraordinary lengths and make unthinkable choices to get his lover out alive.

 

A Rendezvous in Haiti is exquisitely set in post-World War One. Becker expertly describes the squalid conditions in the island and weaves rich, historical, detail into the narrative. The storyline has potential, and there are some attractive elements. However, the plot has an uneven feel to it, and the dialogue is crass at times, giving the book a heavy feel. The climax of the novel feels flat because the love-interest aspect does not end sufficiently. In addition, readers may find the coarse language as well as some subject matter objectionable.  As a result, it is difficult to recommend A Rendezvous in Haiti.

 

 

 

I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

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Review of 7

In 7s book, 7, language expert Cloe Lejune is translating an ancient language when she realizes she must warn the Pope that the world is facing cataclysmic destruction. Meanwhile, a message is delivered to seven random people whose only link is a common destination—New Orleans. Will the world succumb to evil unleashed? Or will Cloe and the seven strangers be able to stop it?

 

7 is the third book in a line of fast-paced thrillers. Mayhall Jr. infuses the novel with supernatural elements where the past meets future, making a unique plot. Events are taken from the biblical book of Revelation and the characters’ actions are determined by forces beyond their control, providing a riveting read for most.

 

However, this plot-driven story leaves the characters under-developed and the dialogue unrealistic. In addition, the interpretation of Revelation, extra-biblical sources, and the elevation of a man to divinity is troubling. If one is interested in one author’s interpretation on the last days, 7 is an intriguing look, however, the theology implied should be taken lightly.

 

I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

 

 

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Review of Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall

murderous mayhem at honeychurch hall

In Hannah Dennison’Review of Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Halls Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall, Iris Stanford’s novel manuscript has gone missing from the local post office. In response, she commissions her daughter, Kat, to recover it along with her mother’s anonymity. Iris insists that her identity as an author should remain a secret. Kat suspects the local postmistress, who is also the local gossip. But when the postmistress ends up dead, everyone in town becomes a suspect. Will Kat find out who the culprit is? Or will she become the next victim?

 

Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall is the fourth installment of the Honeychurch Hall Series. The novel has a delightful setting in a quaint little English village. It has the perfect start to a cozy murder mystery, and the climax has a surprising twist, which makes the end satisfactory. However, I found the plot confusing and uninteresting, the characters annoyingly shallow and the book far too long. I wanted to like Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall, but I cannot recommend it.

 

 

 

I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

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