The Reading Life

Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press around 1439 and the world has never been the same. Gutenberg’s big project was to print the entire Bible in his native German. It was a good place to start. The printing press revolutionized the world.

In my life long ago, I served as the full-time Serials Librarian at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. That’s serials with an “s” not with a “c.” We did not serve breakfast. Serials are periodicals, magazines, and annuals. I had a staff of eight people to supervise and over 4,000 different titles to keep catalogued and filed. It was an amazing and diverse job with the opportunity to help students, professors and Biblical scholars research the most current materials available in religious studies. I am continually grateful for the skills I learned in that position. I learned about the budgeting process and living within its constraints. I learned about managing a staff and scheduling. I learned how to read quickly and accurately, and how to research current topics through periodicals. 

Many years later, I went to the library of a local theological seminary to check out a couple of books. I had not been in an actual theological library in a long time. Over the years my personal library, the church media center and the kindness of friends has seen me through. I was researching a sermon series on Jesus and his relationship with the women who followed Him. I needed to find very specialized books and articles. But I needed help. The card catalog had been recycled long ago; now everything is found by computer. The student librarian patiently showed me how I could find and check out anything that I needed in this library from any computer in the world!

C. S. Lewis once wrote of how the power of reading opens our perspectives: We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own. Many people never go to a public library anymore, although the library is cheaper than a bookstore, and more technologically advanced than many homes. While there will always be a place for holding a good book in your hand, you may be reading your favorite author from a hand-held tablet already. 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Keep reading. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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