Great technology at your fingertips

ESV Study BibleIn these heady days of new technology, it is easy to get caught up in the latest great must-have new gadget. As Exhibit A I would present myself. Ignoring the gentle jabs lobbed my way, I tote my MacBook to men’s Bible study on Friday mornings so I can view the ESV Study Bible online and quickly jump to passages. I love it.

That said, I can appreciate this post by Tim Challies talking about how he fell out of love with his Kindle. It did it’s job, but couldn’t quite match the technology it was trying to replace:

Something changed between then and now—I came to see that all of the things that frustrated me about the Kindle were things that made it not like a book. It’s book-like qualities were it’s best qualities; it’s non-book-like qualities were the ones that got to me. All of the things that annoyed me were the things that made the experience more like operating a computer and less like reading a book. Pages took too long to turn; I could not splash yellow highlighter on the pages; I could not skim through the book looking quickly for a word or phrase or note; I could not scrawl notes in the margins. Sure, there were a few advantages—the notes I did take (saved in a text file on the Kindle) could be exported to my computer simply by plugging in a USB cable; books were less expensive and instantly added to my collection; hundreds of classics were available for free. But overall, the Kindle experience paled in comparison to the happy, familiar, comforting experience of sitting down with a book. Everything I wanted the Kindle to do, a book could do better.

He goes on to list more reasons why the book is the perfect technology. Perhaps this will change one day, but for now I can see his point. I work at a newspaper, which I hear every day is a dying industry. Yet, there is a feeling of holding a newspaper in your hand or the anticipation of picking up the day’s news off your front porch (or wherever it lands!) or handing a section to your wife so you can have the sports pages that so far has not been replaced. A common joke in our family is that an e-mail doesn’t exist for my in-laws until it is printed out and held in their hands. Some things are hard to replace.

So, we can appreciate new technology, but don’t be so quick to trash the old technology (or the people who are devoted to it). God works in mysterious way.

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