Tuesday, October 11, 2011

is it really progress?

Okay, so I might as well face the music.  I might be getting a little older. That's not an admission, nor is it a concession.  It's just the acknowledgement of a possibility.

I have always loved, welcomed, longed-for, promoted, and embraced change. Change the den around every month just to keep things fresh.  Cook new meals even if you don't like them just so you won't get bored eating the same ole food.  Drive a new route to church.  Change hairstyles.  Re-paint.

I figured as long as I still loved change, I was still young.

So, this recent resistance to a form of progress has me a bit alarmed.  I would love to deny it and pretend I am cool as can be with it, but you would be able to tell it on my face right away.  It's hard for me to get it out, but...well...okay, I'm just going to say it...

I have a problem with one's personal Bible being on an e-reader.


I said it.

Wait!  Don't write me off just yet!  I'm not saying it's a SIN or anything like that...I'm just saying I have a problem with it.

I know that our present book form is not the original form of the Holy Scriptures.  I have studied the evolution of the written word and realize that the New Testament varied greatly from the Old Testament and that the codex form of binding didn't come about until after all the New Testament writings were completed.

I understand that the book form we are familiar with has only been around for about the last 600 years or so.

So, I'm not saying that in order for the Bible to be Holy it must be in the form of a bound book.

But, I AM wondering if the e-reader form of the Scriptures is truly progress?

I'm wrestling with the following elements:

The scrolls were a linear form of reading which made it difficult or perhaps impossible to read two areas of the Word at the same time without a lot of inconvenience in locating the new passage.  In contrast, the codex form allowed a reader to actually be able to see two different passages in two different places relatively easily at one time.  It seems to me that most e-readers are returning to that linear form of reading and making multi-passage reading more difficult.

I firmly believe that one cannot study the Scriptures without writing.  If you read without writing, you are doing nothing more than perusing as you would a newspaper or your favorite novel.  But to "eat" the Scriptures as Jeremiah talked about, you must have a pen in your hand.  In the margins, in the front covers, underlining, highlighting...as He speaks you write it down and when you are done, there is an awesome conversation there that you will forever remember.

How can you do that on an e-reader?  Oh, I know you can highlight and make a note.  And a little number pops up to remind you that you made a note.  But when you are reading that same passage six months later, are you going to click on every number and see your notes?  Probably not.  You are probably going to keep reading and nothing is going to catch your eye that He said to you that time before when you had those sweet moments with Him.

That bothers me a bit.  Okay, well, maybe a lot.

And, another thing.  Codex, like the scrolls, kept the Scriptures isolated and set apart.  That's actually what the word "holy" means, isn't it?  Set apart?  Called out, consecrated, dedicated?  

Am I being unreasonably narrow to say that it bothers me a bit that the Scriptures on an e-reader are all grouped in with everything else in there?  Fiction, magazines, newspapers, damnable doctrines...all of it all together in one spot....oh gee, I really dated myself right there, didn't I.

I have had multiple conversations with men and women alike asking for help in their struggle against pornography.  Without exception, they all access it on their phones and ipads.  So, when all I see at church are people holding their phones in their hands as the Scriptures are being read and the message is going forth, I am bothered by the fact that it feels no different to them than if they are checking the LSU score or watching porn.

Okay.  Shutting up.

But try not to make too much fun of me as I lug my big, black study Bible with me to church and work and everywhere else I go.

I have all the different versions and Bible programs on my computer, my iPhone, and my iPad.

But I'm just not so sure that's really progress...