Friday, June 9, 2017

Bibles in Lending Libraries

I belong to a fraternal organization affiliated with the church I attend.  It is called The Knights of Columbus.  Like many fraternal organizations it promotes various missions and charitable works.

I don't write about my involvement very often because I am not a very good member.  My attendance at the meetings is dismal.  I help out various events maybe four times a year.  I am the kind of member who pays his dues and has a loose grip on the hem of the shirt-tail.

One of their missions...
My chapter (Chapter 11875) is dipping its toes into a new mission: Putting Bibles into lending libraries.  These lending libraries are popping up like mushrooms after a rain due to structural changes in how books are distributed.

The mission is low key.  If there is already a Bible in the library, we do not leave another one.  We don't want to give the impression that we are competing with other denominations or fraternal organizations.  We simply want to increase availability of Bibles.
I like the fact that the Bible the Knights are using is red.  It is easy to drive by and see if the library needs to be replenished.  Incidentally, this library is next to a tavern.  People seek solace, comfort and community in taverns.  I am tickled that now they can also find God.

Back in the day it was easy to find books, especially Bibles.  Churches rarely locked their doors.  Most families lived in close proximity.  Brick-and-mortar book stores were common.

Back then, it was not hard to find a Bible in times of personal crisis.

You might argue that digital sources are more available than dead-tree books ever were.  That is true, but there are some things that digital books cannot do.

For instance, digital books don't have "an educated spine."  It is not uncommon for pastors to advise new Bible readers to stand the family Bible up, on its spine and pull their hands away.  The Bible will usually open to the pages that were most referenced by the previous owners.  If that Bible was in your family for three generations, then you can harvest the wisdom of your grandparents and your parents.

You can do a search on a topic, "Stewardship" for instance.  But then you have to do a lot of drilling to get a handle on the perspective of the web-pages author.
Zones of vision.  From Wikipedia.
Another factor where digital lags pulp is populating the near-peripheral and mid-peripheral regions of your vision.  Consider the differences between GPS and a paper map.  It is far easier to see alternative routes with a paper map because the information is already there...your brain is processing that information even as you study the central and paracentral regions.  So it is with a digital Bible.  You are looking at reality through a soda-straw when you are using digital media and it is much harder for the Holy Spirit to redirect you to the parts of the Bible that may be more useful to you.

New Bibles
"Ah ha!" you say.  New paper bibles don't have "educated spines".
The translation the Knights are using is the Student version of the NAB.  The New American Bible is slightly easier to read and slightly more literal than the New International Version and slightly more difficult to read and slightly more "paraphrased" than the New King James VersionSource of Graphic
Well, you are right.  That is why the Bibles that the Knights are placing in the lending libraries have a "cheat-sheet" glued to the inside cover.  This cheat-sheet is a work-in-progress.

Asking for your help

This ministry is still in the incubation phases.  I happen to know the guy who is coordinating the effort and he is attempting to refine the "cheat-sheet".  The headings are:
  • Bible readings for comfort in troubled times
  • Forgiveness
  • Prayer
  • The Lord's Prayer
  • Ten Commandments
  • Sermon on the Mount
  • Bread of Life discourse
  • Salvation
  • Practical advice
  • What makes men unclean
  • Stewardship, men
  • Stewardship, women
  • God's Generousity
  • Love/Charity
  • Classic Bible stories
  • Seasons of Life
  • Perseverance
  • Will we see our loved ones after death?
I will be grateful if any readers wanted to suggest some passages from the Bible that may help folks who are newbie Bible readers and help on where to start.  I will pass your suggestions to the coordinator.

What are your "go to" readings in the Bible when you are getting mauled by life?  When you place your family Bible on its spine, where does it open up to?

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