November 30, 2011

Your real life now

Pastor Byron Yawn writes, "My duty as a pastor is not to provide a sufficient answer when the broken human heart is demanding it. My duty is to describe a God who can be trusted as good even when there are no satisfactory answers."

November 26, 2011

Reading with them new fangled whatchamajiggers

I had been considering getting an e-reader for a few months. I kept struggling with my love for paper, highlighters, and the mobility a book offers. This set me to thinking about how I might use an e-reader. Should I approach it as a general replacement for my library? Should I use it for a subset of my reading? What kind of functions should I look for? Is this another piece of technology that will absorb my time and energy on the tool itself, distracting me from the discipline of reading?

An e-reader must be simple. This decision led me away from all of the android palmtop computing devices. Computers have whittled my life away one CPU clock-cycle at a time. The last thing I need is another sparkly 'efficient computer' to efficiently kill my soul with distraction and gee whiziness.

An e-reader must come from a solid vendor. This decision steered me away from bargain basement readers which will prove to have no legs and even fewer titles. In my eyes, we're only talking about two possibilities at this point.  Amazon' s Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook. In general I think Amazon has the stronger business model and financial position.  Even so, there are no guarantees that your technology purchase of today will be viable 10 years from now, which leads to the next point.

An e-reader is not a wholesale replacement for printed books. Especially academic publications which continue to be referenced and useful for decades. Both the volatility of electronic media and the need to reference several works simultaneously render the e-reader an incomplete replacement for the printed book.

Based on these decisions, I purchased a bottom-end kindle and several non-academic titles, as well as dirt-cheap (but valuable as diamond-encrusted gold bars) puritan works. It has proven to be a transparent, convenient, usable and non-distracting tool which gives easy access to works that will feed my soul and shape me for years to come. I've also purchased a couple longer academic works to try test the waters, wading into entended treatments of Biblical Theology. In light of the realistic encouragement to be found in another recent post, I'm no longer stressed out to remember everything, to highlight every word, or to read every book ever published.  In retrospect, the touch-based model might have been a better choice, but either would prove serviceable. I don't pretend that I've figured all of the assumptions or impacts out, but am thankful for the tool and recommend it for your consideration.

November 24, 2011

A couple of thoughts on reading and writing

I'm a reader. I've written a few things. Over the years, there have been discouragements to both found in the oddest of places. Urban legends surrounding evangelical super-heroes kill my desire to read and write.  How so? Al Mohler has the library of Congress in his study, has memorized every book, and can reason and quote freely from any chosen discipline. I can't remember where I left my car keys. James White can write 15-page single-spaced replies to anonymous emails he receives in about 15 seconds.  It takes me four months to compose a 15 word post.  Jonathan Edwards is such a passionate writer who, even though he has been dead for a very long time, is still writing books today. I'm still breathing and struggle to communicate conviction to my closest friends,let alone getting it down clearly in black and white. D.A. Carson absorbs entire books in 2 page snippets read in the 'downtime' between each breath. I read and re-read a single page of Carson in the space of a day and still can't understand what he's saying.

If you're still standing on the plain looking up longingly at the heights of the evangelical Kilimanjaro, don't give up.  It is heartening to see reflections in the evangelical community that, shall we say, lighten the load a little for us mere mental midgets.