Saturday, August 25, 2007

When You Come Bring My Books and Laptop

I ran across this post by Fred Peatross at blog called Abductive Columns and I identified with it a great deal. So I've copied and pasted the post - and then added a few comments of my own at the end.

"Hi, my name is Fred and I’m a book addict. But I’m not a recovering book addict. I purchase books and more books. I read three to four books a month and I am currently three books behind.

If you prefer to picture heaven as pearly gates and streets of gold and jasper walls and crystal fountains, be my guest. I prefer a heaven that looks like a reading room.

I read for many reasons. Two worth mentioning. I enjoy learning and being challenged by the minds of others. It opens the gate to a rich world releasing me from my own backyard.

Without the thoughts of others my ideas become imprisoned, fenced-in, stale, bound, and copyrighted by my own limited intellectual reasoning. I walk within the confines of my backyard anesthetized in a sleep-walk of my own opinions, thoughts, and ways.

When Christians are not reading their faith community’s forward movement slows, creativity is compromised, and understanding and momentum atrophy. Last week a friend objurgated me for referring to the church as a stained-glass ghetto. This person failed to understand the metaphoric phrase “church in a stained glass ghetto” because he wasn’t an avid reader.

Thomas Jefferson couldn’t stop buying books. Whenever he traveled, he was on the lookout for books.

The traffic lanes between literature and life are highly congested. My lived experience is colored by literary experiences and increasingly by the hundreds of articles and online conversations I have daily.

In the past, theological conversations were found in books, magazines, and articles. Theological conversations today can still be found in books and conferences, but the cutting edge, progressive, thoughtful conversations are linked between blogs. This is not a conversation that is taking place in a traditional way. If you think you can go to the bookstore and purchase the most recent book and find out what’s going on, you’ll miss 90 percent of the conversation, which is essentially a grassroots, democratic, electronic, and interpersonal conversation."

Back to my comments again ...
Fred really is right about where most of the conversations are happening today - even if those conversations are later recorded in books. What used to happen only occasionally, or only in academia, over a cup of coffee and recorded scrawled on napkins is now happening every day on blogs and email conversations and it is recorded digitally (which is then easily compiled into more permanent forms like books). I am also increasingly finding books online as Ebooks which are being passed on from friend to friend and are reaching a broad range of people with almost no advertising. I mentioned one here a couple of days ago referring to the book called "So You Don't Want to Go To Church Anymore."

I think one of the best things about online conversations is that you can just eavesdrop - hearing what everyone else is thinking about, before you pipe in - or if you want, you don't have to say anything at all! The best way to start is to go to a site like that linked at the left or one in my Links page and then click on something that looks interesting and keep going. I find myself going to 15 or 20 blogs or sites, one linked to the next, reading different bits and pieces that I often copy and paste and use for papers or sermons.

No comments: