You Can’t Just Read It Once

Ryan Holliday is a modern Stoic. The American Founding Fathers were well versed in Stoic philosophy, for example, so an American Stoic isn’t that far afield.

I recently heard an interview where he was promoting his new book, Stillness. That’s on my “to-read” list. He’s a good writer and the topic fits my direction, but I can’t recommend the book, yet.

If you are not familiar with the Stoics (and it is worth picking up Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations or something by Lucretius), they pondered a philosophy. Not a religion. As always, some people tried to make it into a religion of sorts, but that would not be in the spirit of the philosophy. They tried to figure out the best way of living.

Back to the interview, Holliday made an interesting statement worth thinking about in your quiet time. “Philosophy is something you do. It’s a practice. You need to read the same thing many times to bring it into your daily practice.”

Immediately, I thought about reading something like Paul’s Letter to the Romans. You could read it once. Check it off the list. Pick up a couple of sentences that reinforce your beliefs. And go on.

But really, Paul laid out a justification for his philosophy and then he left us with a practical guide to living the good life with-God.

I look at it like there are two parts to Jesus. And many, if not most, people pick one side or the other. There is the resurrection side–the belief side. And many people stop there.

On the other hand, there is the teaching side where Jesus taught how to live the good life walking with-God. There are actually many people who stop there, forgetting about that resurrection thing.

My recommendation–pick something, maybe Matthew 5-7 or the last few chapters of Romans. Read it. Then read it again. Read it until your life resembles the teaching.

There is faith AND there is practice. Let balance be your guide.

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