Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Low Down on Bible Downloads

"If you think reading Scripture from an iPad rather than a printed Bible makes it lose it's magical mojo, you might worship the Bible.”
This came out of a recent Sojourner's article entitled "The 10 Things the Church Can't Do While Following Jesus." One of those 10 things the church can't (or shouldn't) do was "Worship the Bible." Click Here to Read Article
In other words, the Bible is not God. The Bible is not supposed to be worshiped.The Bible is not magic. It's just words in print. Some say "inspired" by God, some say God's words. But not something your worship.
I agree.
And I don't.
I agree that the Bible is not to be worshipped. I agree that some Christians can turn it into an idol - treating it as God or as important as God. The Bible is not God, but I just can't feel completely comfortable treating it as "just printed words." And for that reason, I do not feel completely comfortable reading the Bible from my iPad or iPhone. And it bothers me (more than a little) when I see it read from a smart phone during church. Not that I think the Bible loses its "magical mojo" from being on an LCD screen instead of on paper, but I do find it well, irreverent. Slip-shod. Flippant?
Call me Old School. Uptight? Brainwashed by Baptists?
Maybe, but I guess I see it this way...
I don't believe the Bible has magical mojo whether you read it straight from a thousand year old papyrus you personally dug up in Turkey (Although, that would be AWESOME!) or from a downloaded  "Bible App" on your cell phone. But I do think there is a difference.
I just think of the Bible, the actual printed book, deserves at least as much respect as our American flag.
There's no magic there either. Technically, it's a piece of cloth with red and white stripes on it and a blue box full of stars. We make millions of flags every year in various sizes. They come in cloth, plastic, paper, and bumper sticker form. The flag is a thing
But we all know it is much more than that.

The flag is special because of what it represents. People died for what that flag represents.LOTS of people died. And today, having just celebrated Veterans Day this past week, we remember and recognize those who fought and died for our freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. So we treat the flag with respect and reverence because of what it represents. We don't let it touch the ground.  We don't like to see it burned unless it is being "retired." We keep light on it at night. We lower it to half staff to symbolize grief. We see it and treat it as more than just a thing.
Isn't the book - The Good Book--the Bible, at least as special as the flag?  Shouldn't it be regarded, respected, admired and treasured? Isn't it more than just a book? I think so--not because it is magic, but because of what it represents - because it is God's words in written form. People took great care to write it down, copy it, pass it along, preserve it, hide if it they had to. Now we have a million ways to read it, but back when all there was was stone, papyrus or leather, you treasured a book. Especially a book that carries God's story inside it.

Look, I have a Bible app on my cell phone and it is great for quick reads when I am stuck in the waiting room of my dentist's office or need to look up a verse quickly on the go.  But when I "read the Word," study it, or when someone in church reads the Bible, I love to see that big, thick black Bible come out, not their iPhone5.
I'm not saying the Bible loses its power when read from a device. It's the words that have the power, not the stuff they are printed on.  I'm just saying I don't think the fact that I prefer to read the "Good Book" as opposed to the "Sacred Screen", means I worship the Bible.  It don't think it loses its magic because I don't believe it ever had any magic to begin with. I just love "The Good Book" and am not going to feel comfortable calling it the "Good App" anytime soon. I love the thin paper that crinkles when you turn the page. The gold lined pages.The pictures of Moses parting the Red Sea or Jesus sitting with children on his lap. The built in bookmark with the gold cross on the end. I love the old editions, their binding falling apart from so many readings, their edges bent. It took me a long time to be able to highlight or write in my Bible and even now, I only have one that I write in.  Why? Because I worship it?  Nope. Because it isn't Huckleberry Finn or Moby Dick.  It's not magical, but it is special.  Would you draw on the flag? Why not?  It's just a piece of material!  
Why does it say Holy Bible on the cover?  Holy isn't magical.  Holy is "set apart" and yes, this book is "set apart" from the rest of the books in my collection. When we hand a war widow the American flag after she loses her loved one, we hand her the ACTUAL FLAG. We don't hand her an iPad with a downloaded flag on it. We don't give her a printout of the flag on 8x11 paper. We give her the real deal. When I go to church, I want to see the Bible. When I read the Bible I want to hold it in my hands.  It doesn't have to be leather, but it does have to be real. It is after all God communicating with us through many people over many years.
That's not magical.
It's a miracle.

-Hope Horner
Feel free to forward and share. Contact author for reprinting offline or for use in your publication:  hopeh1122 at gmaildotcom
Twitter:  @HopeNote

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