Reading is an important Christian discipline. Further, growth as a Christian disciple is closely tied to the reading of the Bible, as well as worthy Christian books. This is why the Christian church has championed the cause of literacy. It is why the Reformers fought for the translation of the Scriptures into vernacular languages. A loss of literacy and respect for the book amounts to grave danger for the Christian church.
The transmission of Christian truth has been closely tied to scrolls, codices, and books throughout the history of the Church — a legacy inherited from the Jews, who often protected the sacred scrolls with their lives. The electronic media have their places and uses, and I am thankful for the accessibility of so much worthy and important information through digital means.
Nevertheless, the electronic screen is not the venue for lengthy, thoughtful, serious reading. The vehicle for serious reading is the book, and the Christian should be a serious reader. Do our own young people read books?
Do they know the pleasures of the solitary reading of a life-changing page? Have they ever lost themselves in a story, framed by their own imaginations rather than by digital images? Have they ever marked up a page, urgently engaged in a debate with the author? Can they even think of a book that has changed the way they see the world or the Christian faith? If not, why not?
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