A Call to Travel Sufficiently Far from Home

Reprinted with permission from Dan Miller’s book Spiritual Reflections.

Have you come to prize the importance of journeying sufficiently far from home? To illustrate negatively, do you not bristle at the thought of a privileged young woman, growing up in a mansion, residing in an exclusive suburban neighborhood, attending posh private schools, who never leaves her comfortable surroundings? Would not this woman be aided by the experience of volunteering to scoop soup at a rescue mission, or by distributing medical supplies to refugees in a war torn country overseas, or something? If this member of the privileged class never leaves her comfort zone—never witnesses poverty and suffering firsthand—will she not nurse in her mind a distorted view of the world?

Conversely, consider a poverty stricken inner-city youth whose neighborhood is crawling with vice and whose chances of ever leaving his environment are bleak. Do we not readily commend the opportunity for such a youth to visit a rural farm or to attend a youth retreat in the Rockies, or something of the sort?

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Electronic Books

NickImageChanges in technology also bring other kinds of changes. Technologies shape the way that people envision reality. They help to form or dismantle social relationships. They either reinforce or erode cultures.

Much of what conservatives—including me—say and write about technology focuses on its unintended consequences, many of which are negative. We feel an obligation to point out how our new toys often serve to diminish our humanity. The naïve deployment of new technologies heedless of their unintended consequences can produce disastrous results.

No one can deny, however, that technologies also bring benefits—sometimes spectacular benefits. Occasionally, even we conservatives feel inclined to point out the benefits of a technological advance when it really is an advance. The recognition of these benefits and the willingness to enjoy them is one of the factors that distinguish conservatives from mere Luddites.

Electronic books are such an advance. Because print books are physical objects, they are both bulky and spatially fixed. Not only do they take up room on a shelf, but they can occupy only one shelf (or desk, or hand) at a time. These are just the limitations that make electronic books better by whole orders of magnitude.

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Thoughts on the Year's Reading

Republished with permission from Craig’s blog, Theology for the Road.

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance” (Confucius).

For the longest time I hated to read. Yes, “hate” is a strong word but that is how I felt about reading. I even hated reading my Bible (heresy, I know!). Don’t get me wrong. I loved my Scofield Study Bible that I used for 18 years. I just didn’t like to read—period. I remember crying as my dad (who was himself a reader) would have me sit down and read my Bible. I dreaded the reading plans he made for my three siblings and myself. I was always behind in grammar and reading in school which was a result of my lack of desire to read.

Where it all began

Then one day things changed. I went from hating reading to loving reading. During my senior year in high school my youth pastor decided to meet with me every Monday for the whole year to mentor me since I wanted to go into ministry. I will never forget that first meeting. He took me to a fast food restaurant. He sat me down and plopped down three books on the table. My heart sunk. He told me to start reading them and we were going to discuss them together along with other things. At this point I had no choice. I had to read them and there was no saying no. I went home and began to read them. Call it divine intervention or what have you but all of the sudden I began to love reading—and I found that I couldn’t stop.

Today I have a good sized theological library for someone who is not in ministry. I have purchased books while I was in and out of school. I found books for free at different places and this last year I was able to use this blog to acquire more books which I in turn reviewed. I also won a number of books by entering giveaways.

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