Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Speaking up

Something I never thought I would be doing, I decided that I wanted to do something to make theological academic books more affordable for our students. To do this, I stood up in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting, which I am attending in Phoenix Arizona as a messenger of Grace Baptist Church of Wake Forest, NC. I presented a motion that the SBC encourage Lifeway to work with publishers to make electronic editions of academic works for devices such as Kindle,, Nook, IPad or other devices. This would make these works available to our students at a cost savings over hard-bound or paperback editions of these works.

What I did not realize was how disconcerting it is to see oneself on a huge screen. It is rather unnerving. I have been nervous enough standing in front of smaller groups. The butterflies were certainly fluttering as I stood there, and I know my voice was shaking. I am glad I had written out what I wanted to say as if I had not, I would have probably have gone blank. I think it was well received as there were several seconds to the motion. From here, it gets referred to the Committee on Resolutions, who will determine if it is a suitable matter for consideration by the SBC. We will find out tomorrow if it goes on or is rejected. In any case, it brings this matter to the attention of many. We need to take advantage of technological advances that make it possible to keep a pastoral library, not on multiple bookshelves, but on one small device. Just imagine how much better it would be if a missionary could transport a whole library of books in a carry-on bag and not have to ship hundreds of pounds of books. The cost savings would be tremendous. The money saved in shipping would certainly be better used to go to gospel work.

My few moments of discomfort may have a significant impact. Some works that only seem to come out in traditional formats may become available in forms that leverage the advantages of the newer technologies. The SBC should be on the forefront of using technology to promote this, and the impact Lifeway might have in promoting such means of publication may help to make more works of significance available to students and others in need of quality theological resources.

Our Lord did not call us to be comfortable, but to be faithful. God help us to get over our anxieties so that we can be faithful in learning to know and then to do His will.

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