Welcome to African Reading Glass.
Typical Christian book reviews look at the aim of the book, the authority of the author, the key points in the book, clarity, and organization, and if the arguments in the book are biblical. But they all make one dangerous assumption:
The core message and sub-points in the Christian book are valid across all cultures.
Is this true?
Can an African reading a particular Christian book really benefit from it? Are there assumptions in the book that stem from a cultural veneer that might be problematic or beneficial to an African reader? Are Africans going to read the book the way the author envisioned?
I started the African Reading Glass to answer these questions.
Why You Probably Should Read Like an African
Christian books should not be a luxury or a passport to a theological clique. They are a handy guide for following Christ in the 21st Century. This is what most Africans believe. Hence, they do not read to gain head knowledge, they read to find practical answers to everyday problems.
Reading like an African means seeking after wisdom, not mere information. It means carefully looking at a book, weighing its biblical soundness, and applying what the author teaches in your everyday life. It means living out what has been taught and demanding a high standard from the authors.
5 Reasons I Started African Reading Glass
Every author writes from their cultural standpoint. If not careful, that cultural bias might cloud the core message God gave them. My goal in African Reading Glass is to reveal the cultural assumptions and establish the application of the book to an African setting.
1. Most Christian books were not written with Africans in mind
Most Christian books were not written with the African Christian in mind. Christian publishers know that there’s in the big market of Christian books in Africa. So, it is not surprising that the primary audience of most Christian books is Western Christians. Africans are left out in the cold.
2. Most Christian writers do not know the needs of African Christians
Every year, several Christian organization ship thousands of books to Africa. This is good and commendable. But none of the books are written by Africans. In most cases, the authors know nothing about following Jesus Christ in Africa. The cultural assumptions of reading the Bible using a Western lens limits the effectiveness of these otherwise wonderful books.
3. Every author has cultural bias and the good ones know it
Culture, traditions, beliefs, values and economic and political backgrounds offer daring complexities in a Christian life. Following Jesus Christ in the 21st-century demands, we wield the wisdom to navigate these complexities. Fortunately, the simplicity of the gospel is the answer.
4. The simple message of the Cross is not bound by culture
This means a Christian book that emphasizes the simplicity of the gospel should not be limited by cultural boundaries. The goal of the African Reading Glass is to find the simple message of the gospel in Christian books.
5. I love reading and talking about books
I am an African. I love asking why people do what they do. And I also love books. I believe God calls some people to write for a reason and books have a rightful place in a believer’s life. You can become fruitful and effective in the knowledge through reading good Christian books.
What can you benefit from African Reading Glass?
If you’re an African, African Reading Glass is meant for you. You’re going to learn how to benefit from books that were not written with you in mind. You’re also going to learn the most important lesson about books:
[bctt tweet=”Reading a book is like eating fish, eat the flesh and throw away the bones.” username=”VaSanganyado”]
After reading more than 60 books in less than 4 months, I have learned that even books by highly revered authors can be full of chaff. That doesn’t mean the authors have evil intentions. It only means we have to be careful when reading Christian books.
African Reading Glass is not about exposing Christian books as evil, it’s about sharing what we can learn from them graciously and for the glory of God. It’s about building each other up in love and kindness grounded in the simple message of the Cross.
So, if you are not an African, African Reading Glass will help you become aware of some of the cultural assumptions that could be complicating your faith in God. You can only become aware of your cultural biases when you encounter a different culture.
I would like to offer you a different perspective on Christian books. We’re a family of God coming from different backgrounds. And I believe God made us diverse for a reason. One of that reason is to challenge our inherent biases.
If this is something you want to be part of, join me every Friday as I navigate the complexities in the Christian life, as expressed in books, through the simplicity of faith in Jesus Christ.
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