Sunday, November 27, 2016

2017 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge (Sign Up)

This will be the FIFTH year I'll be hosting the Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge. I hope you'll join me! I welcome back former participants! And I hope to see some new participants as well this year!  I'd love to show you that reading "from the Cloud" isn't intimidating and scary. The dates for the challenge are January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.

The title of this reading challenge comes from Hebrews 12:1-2, which reads "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (KJV) If the KJV isn't quite for you,

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (ESV)

For an author to qualify for this reading challenge, they must be among "the cloud of witnesses".... in other words, they must be dead. (They must also be Christian.)

What I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see is for people to share what they're reading. So I will be posting check-in posts every month on the 20th. Share what you're reading, what you've read, favorite quotes, favorite authors, favorite resources, talk to me, talk to others!

I will be sharing a LOT of quotes, more than likely, on twitter. If you want to follow me, I'm @operationbible. If you're also on twitter, you can tweet me quotes if you want, or let me know what you're reading!
I think it isn't always easy for readers to pick up Christian classics. Perhaps because it isn't always easy to know exactly where to start. Perhaps because people think that they will be difficult to understand--that the language will be too difficult, the style too complicated. Perhaps because people question if a book will still be relevant. 

I believe that there are some AMAZING, GREAT, WONDERFUL, MUST-MUST-MUST reads out there waiting to be discovered.

I would be open to hosting read-alongs for Christian classics if you are interested let me know.
The following list is NOT comprehensive by any means. It is just a small sampling of authors that count towards the challenge. 

  • Jerry Bridges (1929-2016)
  • Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015)
  • Brennan Manning (1934-2013)
  • John Stott (1921-2011)
  • D. James Kennedy (1930-2007)
  • James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000)
  • Phillip Keller (1920-1997)
  • Bilquis Sheikh (1912-1997)
  • Loraine Boettner (1901-1990)
  • J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988)
  • Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984)
  • Corrie Ten Boom (1892-1983)
  • Catherine Marshall (1914-1983)
  • Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)
  • William Barclay (1907-1978)
  • Watchman Nee (1903-1972)
  • C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)
  • A.W. Tozer (1897-1963)
  • Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957)
  • A.W. Pink (1886-1952)
  • Peter Marshall (1902-1949)
  • Charles Sheldon (1857-1946)
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
  • G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945)
  • G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
  • R.A. Torrey (1856-1928)
  • B.B. Warfield (1851-1921)
  • Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)
  • Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
  • A.B. Simpson (1843-1919)
  • Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
  • E.M. Bounds (1835-1913)
  • Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
  • Alexander Whyte (1836-1921)
  • Egerton Ryerson Young (1840-1909)
  • J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
  • Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899)
  • Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
  • Charles Hodge (1797-1878)
  • Thomas Guthrie (1803-1873)
  • J.W. Alexander (1804-1859)
  • John Newton (1725-1807)
  • Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
  • George Whitfield (1714-1770)
  • John Wesley (1703-1791)
  • William Law (1686-1761)
  • Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
  • John Owen (1616-1683)
  • John Bunyan (1628-1688)
  • Stephen Charnock (1628-1680)
  • John Flavel (1627-1691)
  • Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
  • Martin Luther (1483-1546)
  • John Calvin (1509-1564)
  • Brother Lawrence (1605-1691)
  • Thomas Watson (1620-1686)
  • Thomas Manton (1620-1677)
  • Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)
  • Saint Augustine (354-430)
So what "counts" for this challenge? Well, the goal is to get you acquainted with different authors. So any reading material will count: no matter the length. It can be an article of a few pages; an individual sermon or a collection of sermons; it can be a book of quotes by that person; it can be a biography or autobiography about the person; you might find full-length books available online, or individual sermons online. And of course it doesn't matter if it's a book-book, e-book, or audiobook.

So how do I find books? Some authors will still be in print. Others won't be. Plenty of qualifying books can be found at Amazon for Kindle or Barnes & Noble for Nooks. Plenty can be read online or downloaded as pdfs. 

A great place to begin might be Free Grace Broadcaster. They've got subject-themed newsletters with articles by various authors. Topics include "The Work of Christ," "Worship," "Heaven," "The Resurrection." I also recommend Christian Classics Ethereal Library

So how many books are required? 

If you're completely new to christian nonfiction (christian living, theology, bible commentaries, bible studies, etc.) then I'd like to challenge you to read ONE or TWO books. If your first attempt is too tough, or proving not-for-you, try again. Don't assume that just because one author isn't working for you, that no author will. 

If christian nonfiction is something you're comfortable reading, I'd like to challenge you to read four to six books for this challenge. 

Sign up for the challenge by leaving a comment on the blog. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

11 comments:

Risa said...

Hi there, Becky! I've signed up for this challenge, and am looking forward to it. I've already got a Paradise Lost read-along happening in 2017 should anyone be interested. :)

https://risathenextchapter.blogspot.in/2016/12/i-am-reading-entire-bible-and-some.html

Ruth said...

Well, I think I may be interested in committing to this bc I have some Christian non-fiction on my reading list for next year. Anyway, this will encourage me to read these works finally.

Carol said...

Hi Becky, I'd like to do this too. Will come back later when I've got a list.

Carol said...

I'll be reading C.S. Lewis to start with and hope to add others later:
https://journey-and-destination.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/a-reading-plan-for-2017.html

Carol said...

I've got one definite but will add others later :)

https://journey-and-destination.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/a-reading-plan-for-2017.html

Jenny said...

Thanks for hosting this challenge! http://upthehillgang.blogspot.com/2016/12/2017-reading-challenges.html

Jean Thrasher said...

Thanks for hosting this Reading Challenge. I don't have a Blog so is it alright if I leave my book(s) on Goodreads?

Jean Thrasher said...

Thanks for hosting this Reading Challenge. I don't have a Blog so is it alright if I leave my book(s) on Goodreads?

Becky said...

Yes, Jean, you can use GoodReads for this challenge.

Carol said...

Not quite sure if this qualifies: http://journey-and-destination.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/the-small-woman-by-alan-burgess-1957.html

It's a bio of Gladys Aylward.

Becky said...

Biographies count :)