Aliteracy – Pt1
Mark Twain once famously quipped, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.” Twain concisely describes perhaps one of the greatest endemics of our time—aliteracy.
Heralded as one of the marks of a primitive culture, illiteracy still may not be as grave a threat as its counterpart, aliteracy. One who is alliterate is able to read; he simply does not.
Today, we live in a culture where reading has, in many instances, fallen by the wayside. One telling statistic claims that only 5% of the North American continent reads non-fiction. And yet, perhaps never before have we been presented with so many options to read. Newspapers, magazines, eBooks, Kindles, iPhones, Facebook, and the nano-second “tweets” all vie for us to read. While the myriad of reading venues has steadily increased, the worthiness of our reading is decreasing.
Not too many centuries ago, the printing press revolutionized the world by handing knowledge to begging souls. Facilitating even the great reformation itself, this providential gift from God was a blessing of immeasurable consequence.
But today, we have forgotten the legacy of the past—we have forgotten that “leaders are readers.” But such words are no mere epithet for an emptied and hollow self-sufficiency that can be derived from self-exertion and an unexamined pursuit of reading. Rather, Scripture itself commands that leaders read; in the book of Deuteronomy Moses writes:
“And [the king] sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law…. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children…”
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