No, this is not a post encouraging you to change your drinking habits. What I want to challenge us all to do today is examine what information you are taking in (books, podcasts, music, blogs, news, etc.)

We all have our favorites. I know for myself, when I’m searching for a new book to read, I have a list of authors I seek out immediately. The same goes for everything else I just listed, although I will admit finding reliable news outlets is difficult as they all seem to be more editorial and not journalistic. (Why can’t they just report the story and let me decide what I think about it?)

The question for me, is do I stop challenging my mind by constantly reverting to familiar authors, artists, etc.? Up until a few years ago, I would have answered a resounding ‘No’ to that question. Now I’m not so sure.

Think about it. If I’m reading books on theology or even Christian living, and I only read authors that I agree with completely, how am I ‘working out my salvation’ as scripture instructs me to do?  I like to be challenged and so now I find myself diving into authors who challenge me to not only work out my faith, but defend my theology.

This principle can carry over into other forms of media as well. If I refused to listen to anything other than the music I grew up on (southern gospel), I would miss the enjoyment of hearing so many talented artists across the spectrum because I closed myself off to anything not familiar. 

I specifically actually find myself enjoying this process with news outlets. I have a political ideology. What it is doesn’t matter for the sake of this discussion. I want to know what the other side thinks. I don’t pretend for a second to have all of the answers to solve this country’s problems. I have my thoughts, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be willing to listen to the other side. My mind may not change, then again, on some issues it might. The point is if we are not willing to engage in a meaningful dialogue with those holding different views, how dare we expect them to listen to our thoughts?

Back to books. Read something that makes you uncomfortable. Being challenged in your beliefs doesn’t weaken your faith, it actually strengthens it. When you know not only what you believe, but why you believe it, you become a much more effective communicator of those beliefs. (It also helps if you actually live out those beliefs.)

Today’s challenge. Stretch yourself. Listen to a different musical genre. Read a new author. Check out new podcasts or blogs. In short, make yourself think!

Thoughts? Feel free to comment below.