Podcast | Leading the Way In Bible Reading (feat. Mary Demuth)

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In today’s podcast, Executive Search Consultant Kristin Fry talks with Mary DeMuth. Mary DeMuth is an international speaker, podcaster, and author of nearly 50 books, fiction, and nonfiction, including her latest book, 90-Day Bible Reading Challenge. As an avid Bible reader, she has guided many people into the Scriptures to supercharge their faith.

In this conversation, Mary DeMuth discusses her 90-Day Bible Reading Challenge, explaining why she decided to create it, plus the benefits of reading the entire Bible in a shorter timeframe. She provides tips for finding time to read and suggests using audio versions of the Bible. Mary also discusses the impact of reading the Bible in its entirety and shares her passion for teaching and speaking. She emphasizes the importance of knowing the Bible and the power of redemption.

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Resources:

To connect with Mary DeMuth: marydemuth.com

Follow Mary on Twitter, Thread, and Instagram: @MaryDeMuth

Join the 90-Day Challenge: MaryDeMuth.com/Bible

Mary DeMuth Podcast (1)

Listen Here.

Transcript:

Kristin Fry: Welcome back to our Vanderbloemen Leadership Podcast. My name is Kristin Fry. I’m one of the executive consultants on our team. And today I get to have a conversation with Mary DeMuth, who is actually the author of close to 50 books. Is that right? Did I read that right? You’ve authored nearly 50 books.

Mary DeMuth: Yes. I just turned in book number 50. So yes. Oh 

Kristin Fry: my gosh, and so most recent is, is the book number 50, your most recent book, what we’re going to be talking about today, which is the 90 day Bible reading challenge. Is that number 50? 

Mary DeMuth: No, that’s number 48. I’ve got a couple in the pipeline. Oh my gosh. 

Kristin Fry: Okay, so, I, I’m really curious about that number because that’s a very aggressive number of books.

So how did you even, like, how did that even start? How did that even come to fruition? Like, sort of go back, which we will talk about. It’s the 90 day Bible reading challenge, but I’m so curious, like what even launched you into this writing career? 

Mary DeMuth: I’d always been writing. I did major in English in college and then I spent a decade just working on it.

By myself alone, no one knowing about it. And so I kind of did that Malcolm Gladwell, 10, 000 hours thing through the decade of the nineties. And then I started publishing in oh four and because I’d been working so hard on it, I’m a very fast writer. And so then I ended up writing three books a year from that point on.

And that kind of helped me get to that number. 

Kristin Fry: Oh, my gosh. So you actually said something really interesting because I, you know, so many of our listeners are leaders and or and or aspiring writers. So the fact that you just said you worked on it on your own for 10 years, that speaks to the fact that becoming a writer is not necessarily some overnight.

Success story that I think a lot of people imagine that it is like, what did that even tenure process look like for you? 

Mary DeMuth: Yeah. So I, I didn’t really know the industry at all. So I just, I went to the library a lot and did a lot of research. I talked to a lot of authors and then I knew that I had to be really good at meeting deadlines.

And so I would create an article, like I’d say, okay, you got to write a 1500 word article Thursday, and I would just make sure and train myself to hand it into myself on Wednesday. So I hand in all of my manuscripts for my books really early. I try to endear myself to my editors because I know they have a hard job.

That’s kind of how I went about it. 

Kristin Fry: Wow. That’s really impressive. That’s a really good tip. Thank you. for going on that little tangent. Okay. So the 90 day Bible reading challenge. Okay. Number one, a lot of people struggle, which I’m sure you get this question all of the time. Struggle enough with reading the Bible in 365 days.

So, talk to us about why, why 90 days, why that number, why did you decide to write that? 

Mary DeMuth: Yeah, I started this as a practice, a spiritual practice about five years ago. My friend, Keith Farrin had been doing it for a while and I, he’s an author as well. And I thought, I’m going to try that. And the first time I did it, I did it in two months, which was kind of excessive, but amazing.

And what I learned was. I finally grasped the whole story of scripture. Am I making these beautiful, surprising connections? And I honestly, I’m leading three groups through it right now. And I am finding what people are saying is I actually like reading it this rapidly more than reading it in a year. And that’s because By the time you’re in the book of Revelation in December, you can’t remember what you read in Genesis.

But if you’re doing it in three months, and plus the other thing I’ve found is to add to that is that it’s kind of weirdly addictive. So once, once I kind of settle on the fact that I’m going to sit down and read for 45 minutes a day, I, I find myself reading forward and a lot of the people in the challenge are doing the same thing.

My husband’s like two weeks ahead of me. He’s doing is like, I just can’t stop reading. It just becomes like really exciting because you do get the whole story of scripture. It’s just, it’s amazing. I, I can’t recommend it enough. 

Kristin Fry: Okay. So I just heard you say 45 minutes. Is that. Is that the time commitment that someone needs to make if they want to take the 90 day challenge or what, what, like, what is that time commitment?

I’m sitting here, all of us are probably sitting here thinking through our schedules going, where the heck are we going to find time to do this in 90 days? 

Mary DeMuth: Yeah. So there’s a, a lot of great hacks for this, and one is the way I wrote it is I wrote it in three parts. So you can read something in the morning, something in the middle of day and something at night.

But I’m not built that way. I’m more like, I got to get it all done. You might notice that I might be an achiever on the StrengthsFinder. You might have deduced this already. But what I have found in a lot of people are getting a lot of joy from this is they’re listening to the Bible in the middle margins of their lives.

So if they’re taking a walk, they’re listening to it. They’re dropping kids off in the carpool line. They’re listening to it. If they’re running errands or they’re commuting to work, they’re listening to it. And usually on 1. 5 speed, because I find that a lot of. translations are very deep and slow. [00:06:00] And so if you want to get it within, you know, a better amount of time, you can listen to it.

And that has been like the most grace that people have gotten. Cause they, you know, the title of the book is reading challenge, but I tell people, you don’t have to read it in 90 days, but you can tuck it into the corners of your life. And a lot of us have that time where we’re listening to podcasts or whatever.

And then you just replace that. With a good Bible, you know, reader and it’s, it’s so beautiful. 

Kristin Fry: Yeah, that’s so interesting. Okay. So I wanted to spell a myth. So I’m going to ask, cause I still feel like there might be some skeptics listening that are going to say, ah, I hear you say I could read, I hear you say I can break it up into three.

Parts during the day, but I don’t think you really understand how busy I am. So just to level the playing field across the board, paint the picture, describe your life a little bit. Let’s communicate to everyone that you actually have things that are going on in your life too. And you and your husband both have managed.

So just paint, just give us a little color about. Who you are, what, what does a week look like, or even what does a day look like? So that way we all know you’re not just sitting around your house, you know, reading your Bible all day long. 

Mary DeMuth: No, because I’m an achiever, I do wear a lot of hats. So I am a literary agent.

So I manage 40 authors. I write three books a year. I am a speaker. I am a podcaster. That is a daily podcaster, 365 days a year. And I am an artist and I sell art. So I have, I do not have a lot of time. And so the thing that I have found that has helped me, actually, this is really profound. found and surprising and really simple.

And it’s that if you’re going to add something to your plate, you have to take something off. And I found what was not serving me was doom scrolling on Instagram. And what was not serving me was mindlessly watching television at night. And so the, what I actually haven’t had to give up much of the mindless television, because by the end of the day, my mind is kind of, but I have had to give up doom scrolling.

And it freed up the appropriate amount of time that I needed. I, I realized that I was throwing away 45 minutes to an hour by scrolling through social media. And my, not only has that freed up the time, but my mental health has been so much better. And so I would just challenge people to look at their lives and see if they have one of those things that might be addictive.

That might be taking some of their time that they could just give it up for 90 days and they’re going to get a double bonus. Not only are they going to be set free from that thing, but they’re going to be saturated with scripture and they’re going to make these amazing connotations and connections between different passages of the word of God.

Kristin Fry: Hmm, that’s really good. That is a good point. Saying yes to something usually involves saying no to something else, but we Automatically assume when we say no to something it’s going to be this huge Detrimental loss in our lives that we is this major sacrifice when is it’s really not that bad. So that’s a really good point Okay So is there anything that has surprised you or anything that surprised you reading through the Bible in three months?

versus Reading through the Bible in a year or a couple of years. 

Mary DeMuth: Well, as a Bible teacher, it’s just been the best practice that I’ve ever done. Because it does help me become a better teacher. I, I know the whole council of scripture and I now have this as a practice that I go through maybe once or twice a year now.

So this is just something I’ve done. I, I’m not saying that this is a substitute for deep study. In fact, the, one of the little hacks that I tell people is if you tend to be like my husband who is a deep studier and he is loving this, he’s never done this before. He is loving it. He’s a theologian and he’s not done it and he loves it.

And I’m surprised because he’s Mr. I need to study this deeper. So what I say is to have a little notebook or a wide margin Bible that has lots of space and just write all your questions down either there or in the little notebook and tell yourself it’s okay. You can come back to this. You can study it later, but right now your goal is to get through this and to get a big picture of the whole Bible.

 Hmm. 

Kristin Fry: That’s really good. Is there anything I’m trying to think of how to ask this question? Is there anything in reading the Bible? In its entirety that has maybe changed how you view who God is or I mean, and that could be reading through the Bible in any time frame. Of course, this conversation is 90 days, but that could be any time frame, but is that how his I guess that shaped how you view who.

God is an informed, maybe your relationship with Christ. 

Mary DeMuth: Yeah, devotionally. It’s had an incredible impact and because I’m reading it quickly, some of the things that stand out to me are, Oh my goodness, the nation of Israel drives me crazy. They’re failing all the time. And then I have to put the mirror on my face and be like, Oh, this must be how the Lord deals with me.

And so when I, last time I read through it That was what stood out to me, this relentless pursuit of our God against a broken and stubborn people. Because when you read it in that truncated period of time, it’s like every chapter is like, Oh, they did it again. Oops. They did it again and again and again and again.

And God’s like, I’ll forgive you. And even when he sends him into exile, he preserves a remnant. He just is continually pursuing. The creation that he created. And so that to me has been really interesting. One time I did a rapid read through and I was like, okay, I’m struggling with body image. I’m going to just see what the Bible says about it in this rapid read through.

And I just learned so much because I kind of came at it with a perspective of, Oh, uh, this isn’t really talked about so much. And I mean, oh, that’s a good point. No beauty is. Usually in scripture talked about your soul more than your body. And you know, then we go to the new Testament, you see Levitical food rules, and then you go new Testament food rules and we’re not supposed to have them.

And it just was really powerful to me to realize, oh, I have been so discipled by Instagram and the world. That I have begun to believe false narratives about who I am in Christ, especially in my body. And so having that rapid read with a perspective in mind before I read it just changed everything. 

Kristin Fry: Gosh, that I love that phrase discipled.

I’m going to remember that discipled by Instagram and discipled by Instagram, because there is something. I don’t know that any of us would ever admit to that or probably, or use that phrase by, in relation to ourselves, but there is so much truth, um, in the fact that we probably are unintentionally discipled by things that we are.

Being given our attention to and in like in in in large, I guess doses Maybe I don’t know how else to word that but got but continually giving our attention over to something multiple times a day has the effect of well, we’re actually kind of being discipled by that and At what point do we make a decision?

About well, who do we actually want to be discipling our minds and our souls and our hearts and our emotions in the way We relate to God and people gosh. I really love that phrase. Okay, so what? What encouragement or what advice what encouragement what advice? Why would you challenge someone to read the Bible days. They’re thinking I’ve never done that. 

Mary DeMuth: Why? I mean, it is a challenge. That’s why it’s called the 90 day Bible reading challenge. But the subtitle is read the whole Bible, change your whole life. And honestly, this has been the best spiritual practice I have ever done of all the disciplines that I’ve tried throughout my entire Christian life, which has been many decades now.

And so my heart in writing the book is just an invitation to people. To actually know what their Bible says when we read it in little chunks, we cannot make the connections between what is consistently said here. And what is consistently said there. I have a lot of people that are joining me on this challenge right now.

One whole church is doing it. Another group of people in a ministry are doing it. And then this, People, a bunch of people I curated about 1, 200 people are doing it with me. And it’s just been a hoot to see people’s lives changing and having them really understand scripture. And a lot of them are saying things like, I was really scared to try this.

I didn’t think I could do it. I quit all the time, but having to read it in a small period of time, weirdly, even though it’s more time, it causes you to want to keep going and. And then, you know, you never have to do it again. It’s not like I’m your mom and I’m going to say, well, you have to do it all the time.

But I think just having that one foundation to say, I’ve read the Bible, not only that, but I understand it better than I ever had before, because I have read it in such a short period of time. 

Kristin Fry: Hmm. That’s really cool. I like that. What I realized that this is a leadership podcast, but I still believe that there’s, there’s plenty of people on this podcast who have just sort of walked away from the habit of any sort of regular rhythm of reading scripture for whatever, whatever reason.

And. We all, we all, not probably, but we all interact with plenty of people all the time who are, who love Jesus, but having any kind of regular rhythm for reading the Bible has just never been part of their life, ever. So what gosh, what advice or encouragement would you Give to someone who has just never had the practice like I just don’t have time.

I don’t see the need. I don’t necessarily understand the value. And I don’t say when we’re speaking to people who sort of fall into that category, we’re not going to say, okay, now go from step a to step. It’s so maybe for them, the first step is not reading scripture in 90 days. So we’ll just put that off the table.

So what advice would you give to someone to encourage them to just develop some sort of regular rhythm of connecting with God through scripture? Like why, like the answer, why, why should they restart that? Why should they start that period? 

Mary DeMuth: One, I would say that we are discipled by what we intake. So the Instagram, and I’ll answer that with a question, with a story as well.

A friend of mine is a seminary professor and she had someone take her class in seminary in one of the highest ranking seminaries in the United States. Person raised their hand and said, Oh, I thought the Bible was just a bunch of like. Little sayings, and as she kind of unpacked it, she thought it was basically just a bunch of memes, and that it wasn’t like a book, and I think we have to be really careful if we say we believe Jesus, and he was a, he knew his Old Testament like crazy, we need to know it too.

And we are guilty, I think, and I’ll, I’ll point to myself as well, of meme ianity, you know, like we just take scripture out of context all the time, stick it on a meme, and we never talk about the hard scriptures, we only talk about the ones that are self centered and about us and about us claiming all the cool things we want to claim, but we, Are constantly bombarded by untruth and we will simply not discern it if we do not know our Bibles.

And so you owe it to yourself. If you really believe this, you owe it to yourself to be a student of the most beautiful book on earth and the one that Jesus knew like the back of his hand. 

Kristin Fry: That’s a really good word. I like that. Meme, our meme culture can be a little bit out of control. So that is valid.

So thank you for saying that. A fun, just a fun question that I was thinking about as you were talking, because when you introduced yourself, obviously the context of this conversation is you as an author, but you were also a speaker, a Bible teacher as well. So, What is it that makes you I guess what fuels your passion when it comes to teaching?

Do you have topics that you tend to gravitate more towards? That, what are the topics in it when it comes to speaking that make you come most alive? Like, I would just love to hear some of that in your story. You know, that would kind of add even more color to who you are. 

Mary DeMuth: Yeah, I actually have been speaking longer than I have been a published author.

And it’s interesting, the thing that Oh, wow. me going in the nineties and the olden days was I would speak about the thing that was never spoken about. And for me, that was sexual abuse. And I would freak all the speaker [00:20:00] coordinators in the back of the room out because I would say it. And then at the end of the talk, I would have a group of people lined up telling me things like, I never told anyone.

I thought I was the only one that battled this. I’m 75 years old. I never told anyone. And so I have been talking about sexual abuse for a really long time. And then of course I’ve been writing about it as well. And thankfully had the opportunity to write a book called, We too, how the church can respond redemptively to the sexual abuse crisis.

And so that thread of talking about healing from past trauma, if I made it more broad I have been speaking and writing about that. That’s the thread of redemption through everything that I talk about. You can be set free. You no longer have to be traumatized by your trauma. I’m not saying that it’s easy to get over.

I’m still working through it, but it is possible and there is a way through and there is so much joy in the journey, even though there is also a lot of heartache.

Kristin Fry:  That is, say the name of that book one more time because I feel like there’s probably going to be one, two, three, ten people who’ve really resonated with just this little 60 second soundbite of the conversation.

So that book, tell me the book one more time.

Mary DeMuth:  We Two, How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis. 

Kristin Fry: Okay, that’s good. That’s really good. Thank you. I think that’s really important. Would you think, would you agree with this statement that no one or no thing is beyond redemption? 

Mary DeMuth: Yes, I would definitely, of course, believe that statement, but in the circle of, or in the sphere of, sexual abuse when it comes to longterm predators.

The sad truth is that if you have been a longterm predator, especially if you’ve been a pedophile, it is very, very hard to change the trajectory of your life. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but that, that gets thrown at abuse victims quite a bit where they’ll just say, you just need to forgive. And everyone’s forgivable.

Yes, of course they are. Of course we love the gospel. It’s true, but it is very simplistic to say, well, In a moment, someone like that could change. It would be a concerted effort over a lifetime with high accountability that they could change. 

Kristin Fry: Yes, that makes perfect sense. I could imagine how that would feel very devaluing to say to someone or just dismissive to say to someone, Oh, just forgive.

That feels like that negates any sort of pain or trauma that anyone has experienced, which would be. incredibly heartbreaking. Yeah. So yeah, that makes sense. Okay. So tell us as we wrap up this conversation, which thank you for sharing that part, which I think is incredibly helpful, but tell us how two things, how can we connect you?

How are connect to you? Not to connect you. You’re connected all by yourself. How can we connect it to you for people who want to Have other conversations, look at more of your books, and then specifically for people who want to start this 90 day Bible reading challenge, how can they do that, or where can they go to buy that book?

Mary DeMuth: Sure, so they can find me at marydemuth. com, and they can start that challenge, and I’ll send them 90 emails, one every day, if they go to marydemuth. com slash Bible. Wow! I know, crazy, right? And then, Literary agency is MaryDemuthLiterary. com and then social handles are at Mary Demuth. Okay, 

Kristin Fry: perfect.

And we will link all of that for people to find you. And again, thank you so much for being part of the conversation. Thank you for your words and your insight. And I’m excited to see who’s going to jump on this 90 day Bible challenge with you. So thank you. Thank you. 

Mary DeMuth: I’m excited too. It’s going to change their lives.

I’m so 

Kristin Fry: thrilled. Yes. Yep. Absolutely.

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