Category: Generous Living

Digital Publishing, the Church, and Reformation: Part 2

Quick, name the top five books which have impacted you.

I bet your challenge is limiting it to just five, or figuring out which are the TOP five.

We accept the assumption that we are changed by what we read.

When I consider my own spiritual growth, I remember reading over and over the New Testament with cartoon illustrations my grandmother gave me. I remember being in fifth grade and devouring a box of missionary-adventure stories from some Wycliffe friends. It was Let the Nations Be Glad (aff) which led me to consider maybe God could use even me, even me?, in mission outreach. When I read the analysis of the attributes of God in Berkhof’s “Systematic Theology,” my heart felt like it was with the angels in heaven singing “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty! Who was, and is, and is to come!”

We accept the assumption that we are changed by what we read.

Think again of those top five books which impacted your life.

Imagine if the book which most nurtured your walk with the Lord  was available for free, worldwide.

Consider the the four billion people who will be coming online for the first time in the near future reading your top five books.

Imagine a young woman in India who speaks English but can’t easily get a Bible, can now read the Bible on her low cost smart phone.

Imagine the man in rural Nigeria discipling young men around him, with sound devotional materials easily available.

Imagine the pastor behind the Rice Curtain accessing Amazon through a proxy to purchase study materials.

Imagine the curious Russian student who is inundated with new age mysticism and materialism reading solid apologetics materials. All at their fingertips — it’s exciting!

But it isn’t just personal spiritual growth that can be impacted by low-cost e-publishing.

When we lived in Kenya we employed a driver to help us navigate the crazy and often dangerous streets. Enoch was also the lay pastor of his church. When he asked us for a study Bible for Christmas, we were thrilled to give him one. We were also able to give him orthodox solid theological books for his further study from our personal library.

Enoch had a smart phone, as did most Kenyans we met. Even out in the villages cell phones were common, and are often charged from generators at small shops for a fee. I think of Enoch and the other pastors and lay teachers around the world being able to access an array of good study materials — maybe for the first time! These leaders can become better equipped to shepherd their flocks, people eager for God’s Word.

I find this exciting. Technology is opening more doors for worldwide spread of the Gospel and resources for spiritual growth.

Recently, I’ve reached out to some international and ministry friends to ask them what they are seeing around the world. I’ve gotten good feedback about some e-resources available and how they are being used in their contexts.

Yet I’m not hearing a lot about how organizations are taking advantage of e-publishing worldwide, especially through major distributors. My background includes a mix of nonprofit management, marketing, and msisions. I would love to be connected with organizations which are making efforts to use e-publishing to expand their worldwide reach, and help promote them.

If you are connected to Christian organizations using digital publishing to expand their worldwide outreach, would you tell me about it? Thanks!

 

 

Digital Publishing, the Church, and Reformation: Part 1

Digital Publishing, the Church, and Reformation: Part 2

Digital Publishing, the Church and Reformation: Part 3

Digital Publishing, the Church, and Reformation: Part 1

Over 3.5 billion people now have internet access. I’ve heard speculation that the over the next 10 years, its likely that there will be approximately 4 billion new users coming online for the first time.

Many of these new users are skipping right over accessing the internet via desktop or laptop, and going straight to mobile devices. And while the $4 smart phone in India may not pan out, it illustrates the way technology is getting more affordable and expanding into unreached markets.

Google and Elon Musk are in a creative collaboration to bring high speed internet to the entire planet. Google has experimented with using low level hot air balloons to bring internet to rural areas of India.

Inexpensive mobile devices mixed with billions of new users and the growth of books in e-formats? The reach of e-books seems limitless.

In the U.S. we’ve experienced an interesting combination of slow (over 20+ years) and fast growth of internet and digital technology infiltrating nearly every aspect of our lives. It isn’t just the tech geeks eagerly adopting the latest and greatest. We use tech to read books, order groceries, hail a cab, check the weather, pay for coffee… and these are just “entry level” uses.

While the term “Information Superhighway” is a bit dated now and seems quaint, information is still one of the most valuable commodities of modern tech expansion. Beyond Google and Wikipedia being our go-to for info, access to research, news, and books can be found with a few easy searches.

Amazon has been key in the normalization of digital books and e-readers, despite the protests of avid readers pledging their undying love for physical books. Barnes and Noble and its Nook, Kobo, iBooks and others are helping expand the inexpensive distribution e-books worldwide.

Taking a step back — inexpensive mobile devices mixed with billions of new users and the growth of books in e-formats? The reach of e-books seems limitless. This is fascinating to me as a book lover who does marketing for her author husband. The opportunities and markets are growing and vast parts of the world’s population will so be new consumers.

Even more exciting, though? The huge opportunity for the Church.

The written word has been instrumental in the growth and preservation of God’s Word through the ages.

The Reformation would not have happened were it not for the catalyst of Johannes Gutenberg and the movable type printing press.

The Hebrew scribes painstakingly copied the Torah and Hebrew Bible. Centuries before Christ, it was customary for almost all Hebrew young men to be taught to read in order that they could read the holy books.

The bounds of orthodoxy were reinforced by the Councils of Nicea, Constantinople and Chalcedon, and much of the discussion surrounding the theological questions in question are preserved in written form.

The Reformation would not have happened were it not for the catalyst of Johannes Gutenberg and the movable type printing press. First the Bible became more readily available in Latin, and then in the vernacular. Martin Luther and other reformers wrote pamphlets which were widely read and spread quickly throughout Europe.

Just a few year ago, I wouldn’t have considered the e-book the world-changing equivalent of the printing press — but I’m beginning to wonder?

 

Could digital publishing combined with mobile devices spark a worldwide reformation?

 

 

 

Digital Publishing, the Church, and Reformation: Part 1

Digital Publishing, the Church, and Reformation: Part 2

Digital Publishing, the Church and Reformation: Part 3

Remembering David

david-fetzer

Today we remember David Fetzer. He was a creative soul — director, actor, musician. He was one of my brother’s closest friends, and very dear to my parents as well. Four years ago, he died from an unintentional prescription drug overdose. He had been getting help. It wasn’t suicide — all signs pointed to him trying to get free from addiction.

David Fetzer was a creative soul — director, actor, musician.

Similarly, about eight years ago, our neighbor’s son died from an unintentional prescription drug overdose. Again, he was at the point of getting help.

Please take some time to read this article by David’s mother about how dependence on prescription drugs can happen slowly, and how hard it is to break free.