Last night, I hung out with a bunch of Second Mile dads at Derek’s house to watch a bunch of Second Mile kids during the Iron & Iron Ladies’ Night. I noticed an interesting book on Derek’s bookshelf: The Message//REMIX: Solo. I’m all for interesting books, The Message, and Eugene Peterson, so I asked Derek if it was his.
Derek said, “No, it’s not mine! It’s pink!” The spine and the back cover, which are not visible in the above Amazon link, are indeed hot pink, and the book belongs to Jen, not Derek. I mumbled something about punk sometimes involving pink, smirked, then went to look up the book on my phone.
As Amazon is designed to do, looking up Solo brought up another interesting book: The Message//REMIX: Pause. This one divvies up the Bible into one Old Testament passage and one New Testament reading per day over the course of a year. My immediate thought was that it sounded like a great way to begin (OT!) and end (NT!) my days in a consistent, regular manner.
In my post about prayer journaling, I talked about needing to develop consistent habits in my spiritual life. For Persevering in the Second Mile, I just read the Discipline chapter in The Character of Leadership. Jeff Iorg suggests a year-long project aimed at developing discipline in a specific area of life that, well, needs discipline. I saw Pause as a way to develop this, so I told Janice about it when I got home—and we ordered a pair of the Pause versions.
Here’s why I’m enthusiastic about the idea of reading OT + NT passages every day for a year along with my wife:
I’m reading it with my wife. This is more than just a relationship development intention. I’m a team player. I do better at staying consistent when I’m staying consistent alongside someone else. If I’m going to develop consistent habits, I need Janice. One of her StrengthsFinder top five is Consistency. She’s the perfect partner for this little adventure, and not just because she lives in the same house as me. She’s good at something I need to get better at.
I’m reading it with my wife. Okay, it is a relationship development intention. I am anticipating great conversation with the woman I have committed to live alongside for the duration of my life on earth. I want to strengthen our marriage through strengthening our spiritual lives together. In The Character of Leadership, Iorg also says that we should invest in having a great marriage, which I wholeheartedly believe. By purchasing two copies of Pause, we are taking a specific step to invest in our marriage by studying God’s word together.
I do really well with arbitrary/artificial boundaries. I told Janice last night that I recently figured out a reason that I enjoy watching sports: they allow for creativity within a given framework of rules. I love that. It’s part of why I loved being a student and love teaching. Classes provide the skeleton on which ideas can be developed. I look at this year-long adventure of Scripture reading as a chance to think about the ideas and connections found throughout the Bible. I don’t have to plan the readings out; I can just wind it up and let it go.
Initially, I wondered if we would be wise to search around for other Bible-reading plans. I know they are out there. I know there are probably free ones that don’t require the purchase of two new books. However, I saw two directions: momentum and stagnation. If we went with Pause, we would be carrying forward the excitement of developing discipline in an interesting way. If we went to research reading plans, life would get in the way and we’d eventually have a conversation that was basically this:
“Remember when we thought about reading the Bible together everyday?”
“Yeah. We should do that.”
We talked about the plan last night. We ordered the books this morning.
I keep using the word “adventure”. “Discipline project” doesn’t sound all that exciting. “Adventure” does, and this is genuinely how I feel about it, not a way to rhetorically create motivation. Last week, Chad took a moment to focus on God’s word as compared to weapons that split bones. I posted a few images that popped into my head. Later, I drew pictures of those three swords in my prayer journal and asked God to help me connect those images with the experience of reading the Bible.
Let me pause and point out a couple of things. First, I’m not some brute of a man looking for a way to inject testosterone into my spiritual life. I do drink black coffee, but I’ve never shot a gun. I can’t grow a (decent) beard. I don’t wear flannel or watch UFC or brew my own beer, and I don’t need a war-based metaphor to convince myself that God is worth following. Second, the sword metaphor is God’s, not mine. I’m simply asking God to help me experience his word in the way that his language portrays it, not telling him how I would prefer to read the Bible.
His language feels adventurous, and that is setting the tone for this particular discipline project for me.
The first day’s reading, which you can view on Amazon, pairs the first chapters of Genesis and John. The adventure will begin with two perspectives of The Beginning, and I’m excited for where the journey will take us from there.