The Lure of Hard Copy

Hard copy may be going the way of 8-track tapes. Physical books are being dissed in favor of electronic formats. The cost of publishing hard copy books is increasing even as the sales of e-books climb. E-readers and tablets are competing fast and furiously, from Kindles to Nooks to iPads. In the newest announcement, Target department stores are now offering Kindles for sale.

However, for me, e-readers do not replace physical books so easily. I enjoy the familiar rhythm of turning pages. I delight in re-reading a book and discovering a highlighted passage that spoke to my heart the first time I read it. The joy of holding an old friend is as much a part of my reading experience as the actual words on the page.

It’s not that I am adverse to change. I embrace it…quicker than some, though perhaps not as quickly as others. Strides in technology enable me to surf the internet and gain access to vast libraries of resources regardless of the time and without leaving my desk. Bible study is more convenient, too. I have several versions of the Bible on my computer and I do admit it’s helpful to type in a single word and watch a dozen verses spring up on the screen.

Still, nothing compares with the ability to flip through well-worn pages to find exactly the right verse as I look to the precise spot on the page where I know it will be. And even though an e-reader can hold hundreds of titles, when I want to read a novel, curling up with just one favorite book is more than enough for me.

Am I romanticizing a tool whose time is waning? Maybe.
Will I eventually enjoy the benefits of using an e-reader? Probably.

Until then, I will treasure the contents of my physical bookshelves even as I continue to adjust to a virtual world.

What do you think? If you own an e-reader, do you prefer it to physical books?

Do We Need a National Day of Prayer?

I’ve received several messages on FaceBook about the President deciding not to proclaim a National Day of Prayer in May. While that’s not true, he has chosen to issue the proclamation without hosting a ceremony in the White House.

However, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has taken stronger action. She has ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, pending appeal. My first reaction was outrage…until I read the judge’s comment:
“Recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not
mean the government may enact a statute in support of it,
any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast
during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify
themselves in a sweat lodge, or practice rune magic.”

Judge Crabb’s quote caused me to wonder…how outraged would we be if the President issued a national proclamation for the practice of Islam or Wicca? Please don’t misunderstand—I’m not against the National Day of Prayer. It is a public reminder of our dependence on the Lord, the true source of our help and our freedoms.

Yes, “this country was built on Freedom & Prayer” (as the FaceBook message says). And yes, the United States was founded on Christian principles (despite some protestations to the contrary). And absolutely yes, our culture has become increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs and values, despite the fact that 76% of Americans identify themselves as Christian.

Still, many individual Christians live as if they are not accountable to the sovereign God who rules the universe. And elected officials who have appointed a judiciary that is dismantling our Christian heritage would not be in office if Christians hadn’t also voted for them.

Thomas Jefferson said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Many believe that Judge Crabb’s ruling will be overturned on appeal. Even so, Christians do need to stand for the values that made our nation great, including voting for those who will uphold these values, regardless of political party affiliation.

But the answer to society’s ills will not be found in elected officials—Republican or Democrat. And the lack of an official proclamation for the National Day of Prayer does not forbid us to pray in our homes, churches, or even in Washington, whether today, the first Thursday in May, or any other day. How many of the 76% of Americans who profess to be Christian began today with prayer? How many will do so tomorrow?

What do you think?

Blogophobia Conquered

I’m one of those people who breathes a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanks when I turn on the computer and it actually turns on. Error messages make me twitch, and solid blue screens cause me to see red. I love to teach and write. Bits and bytes–not so much. Creating and updating my own website ( was a major feat. Well, actually Jason Walker created the website (thanks, Jason!), but I do update it myself.

With my technically-challenged background, the idea of starting a blog was more than a bit intimidating. Not to mention that I wondered where I would find the time to begin yet another writing commitment (oops, I just mentioned it).

Anyway, I stalled, postponed, and delayed, and then I stalled some more. Then I read Laura Christianson’s book, Blogophobia Conquered. And I saw myself throughout the book, beginning with Chapter 1: Technophobia. Other chapters include Decidophobia, Scriptophobia, Formatophobia, Socialphobia, Borophobia, and Addictophobia.

Laura covers everything from how to set up a blog to how to write effective blog posts. She provides a comprehensive guide without getting bogged down in technical terms. Blogophobia Conquered is now my go-to reference for all things blogging related. Laura’s easy-to-understand descriptions and practical tips helped me overcome my blogophobia…and here I am!

(“Special thanks to Laura Christianson at Blogging Bistro for sending me a review copy of Blogophobia Conquered.”)