Porch reading, that’s what my friend Bill calls it. You know when you are settled in for a calm reading of a book, newspaper or magazine and your mind wanders as you read the words on the pages.
“Porch reading is slow, deliberately so, offering time to ruminate and reflect, or just let the mind meander in whatever paths the reading generates. In its most profound moments, it is silent,” he wrote on a Facebook post recently.
While assessing the final versions of the pages in this week’s issue, I found myself porch reading, literally and figuratively. Literally, because I sat outside on my balcony last Thursday evening and slowly poured over every headline, cutline and article. Figuratively, because each page steered my mind toward a memory, an idea or a prayer moment.
Page 1 features the team from First Baptist Church Florence that recently participated in the Alabama-Alaska partnership, and I immediately remembered the conversations our team has had with Randy Covington and Jae McKee from the Alaska Baptist Resource Network.
Scotty Goldman from the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions also popped in my mind because of all the work he does in global missions, and retired state missionary Jamie Baldwin surfaced too. He spent the first six months of the partnership in Alaska helping get it all going.
Pause to pray
Quick pause to pray for all of them and the work they are doing before I refocus on the story.
Coming to the bottom of page 1, I follow the jump to page 12 and am taken on a different path as I connect quickly with the FBC Florence team’s yard work, household chores and other projects while in Alaska.
It reminded me of a missions trip taken by a team from Mountain View Baptist Church in Phil Campbell, my home church, while I served as a short-term missionary with the International Mission Board.
Serving the Caribbean and housed in Hollywood, Florida, my assignment that week was to organize the various work assignments and projects for the team — and being the overachiever I am, I made sure they had plenty of work to do.
However, now that I think about it, I’m not sure many of them ever volunteered for a missions trip again.
Uh oh, but on a positive note, the team members were such an encouragement for the missionary families that week, and I’ve had the privilege of staying connected to many of those families for more than 25 years now. In fact, I’ve had conversations with four of the families in the past week — and some of those conversations included sharing updates related to The Alabama Baptist.
Oh yes, The Alabama Baptist, I’m supposed to be proofing pages for deadline. And off I go to the next page and another adventure.
How about you? What surfaces in your mind as you read the articles each week or engage with content produced online?
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