I recently came across this article on reading, and the importance of it, for Pastors. You can read the whole thing here:


It begins with a short lament of sorts, but one I resonate with completely. Here it is:

The Rev. Mr. Ingham was a studious New England minister sorely beset with demands upon his schedule. He at tended so many public gatherings that he found himself unable to devote due time to sermons and pastoral work, let alone systematic reading. In desperation he hired a double an ignorant, irascible Irishman who resembled him closely in form and feature. This double he sent in his stead to all the inconsequential and time-consuming meetings he had heretofore felt it advisable to attend.

For a short while all went well. Ingham now had time to prepare his sermons carefully, enjoy his pastoral calls, and even resume his scholarly studies. But alas, one day the Irishman’s fiery temper got the better of him. He resorted to most unclerical language, forcing Ingham to leave town promptly and in disgrace.

Edward Everett Hale’s satirical tale of more than a century ago, “My Double, and How He Undid Me,” illustrates how the image of the pastor has changed. Once the most scholarly and best-read members of the community, nowadays pastors are so burdened with administrative and promotional work that they have little time for intensive reading. Their labor is chiefly with people and programs rather than with books and periodicals. As John Stott reflected: “Many are essentially administrators, whose symbols of ministry are the office rather than the study, and the telephone rather than the Bible.” (John Stott, Between Two Worlds (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), p. 124)

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