Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. – The Washington Post

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. – The Washington Post.

YP reading-1Here is another striking report (posted Feb.22, 2015) on the reading preferences of those who have grown up with digital content (young people known as “digital natives”). Once again, reading printed material is the choice for such college-age young people who read for “pleasure and learning.”

Warms my heart – and I do a fair amount of digital reading during the course of a day too. But when I can grab that printed book or magazine or newspaper in hand and feel the pages between my fingers and read the content on real paper – ah, I am a happy man. And I haven’t even mentioned the smells! :)

What’s your preference for reading – digital or print? What would you say is the percentage breakdown for your reading on any given day?

Here’s the first part of the news item as it was carried by the Washington Post; find the rest at the link above.

Frank Schembari loves books — printed books. He loves how they smell. He loves scribbling in the margins, underlining interesting sentences, folding a page corner to mark his place.

Schembari is not a retiree who sips tea at Politics and Prose or some other bookstore. He is 20, a junior at American University, and paging through a thick history of Israel between classes, he is evidence of a peculiar irony of the Internet age: Digital natives prefer reading in print.

“I like the feeling of it,” Schembari said, reading under natural light in a campus atrium, his smartphone next to him. “I like holding it. It’s not going off. It’s not making sounds.”

Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

“These are people who aren’t supposed to remember what it’s like to even smell books,” said Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication. “It’s quite astounding.”

Ash Wednesday: Picking and Choosing our Piety – Reformation21

Ash Wednesday: Picking and Choosing our Piety – Reformation21.

Ash WednesdayToday is Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent on the church’s calendar – at least if you are Roman Catholic (preceded by “Fat Tuesday” and Mardi Gras, those paragons of piety!), Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican (especially later).

But of late it has also become fashionable for Protestant groups (“evangelicals”) and even Reformed folk to get excited about Lent and start practicing its customs, from fasting and fish-feasting to having ashes put on one’s forehead.

That’s why I appreciated Carl Trueman’s forthrightness in addressing this evangelical trendiness in this online article posted at Reformation21. He makes some excellent points about why Reformed Christians do not need Lent – with or without its ashes.

I give a few paragraphs here, encouraging you to read the full article at the “Ref21″ link above.

It’s that time of year again: the ancient tradition of Lent, kick-started by Ash Wednesday. It is also the time of year when us confessional types brace ourselves for the annual onslaught of a more recent tradition: that of evangelical pundits, with no affiliation to such branches of the church, writing articles extolling Lent’s virtues to their own eclectic constituency.

… The imposition of ashes is intended as a means of reminding us that we are dust and forms part of a liturgical moment when sins are ‘shriven’ or forgiven. In fact, a well-constructed worship service should do that anyway. Precisely the same thing can be conveyed by the reading of God’s Word, particularly the Law, followed by a corporate prayer of confession and then some words of gospel forgiveness drawn from an appropriate passage and read out loud to the congregation by the minister.

An appropriately rich Reformed sacramentalism also renders Ash Wednesday irrelevant. Infant baptism emphasizes better than anything else outside of the preached Word the priority of God’s grace and the helplessness of sinless humanity in the face of God. The Lord’s Supper, both in its symbolism (humble elements of bread and wine) and its meaning (the feeding on Christ by faith) indicates our continuing weakness, fragility and utter dependence upon Christ.

…Finally, it also puzzles me that time and energy is spent each year on extolling the virtues of Lent when comparatively little is spent on extolling the virtues of the Lord’s Day. Presbyterianism has its liturgical calendar, its way of marking time: Six days of earthly pursuits and one day of rest and gathered worship. Of course, that is rather boring. Boring, that is, unless you understand the rich theology which underlies the Lord’s Day and gathered worship, and realize that every week one meets together with fellow believers to taste a little bit of heaven on earth.

The Boy Who Went to Heaven and Other Hoaxes: Repentance Needed!

Tyndale Pulls Book, But Should Repent Along With the Church.

Boy to Heaven - MalarkeyBy now you probably have heard the reports about the popular Tyndale book telling the story of a boy dying and going to heaven before coming back to life to tell about it (yes, another one of those books!) – the story that was a complete fabrication! And it took the boy to finally get the truth out, not the publisher, not the promoters.

Numerous Christian blogs and websites have reported this now, including the Aquila Report, which I reference here. The “AR” has had several posts on this, but I refer you to this one, because it is such a great commentary. This is actually a blog post by Timothy Hammons, a teaching elder in the PCA.

I post the first part here, encouraging you to read all of it – an to avoid such books for the theological plague they carry!

I don’t know if you heard of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven. It is the book about a boy who died and went to heaven. Only he didn’t really die, and he didn’t really go to heaven. He made the story up and then someone published it and it sold millions like every other worthless book of its type.

What makes this one interesting is that the boy, Alex Malarkey, came out recently after actually reading the Bible and recanted the entire story. He said it was a hoax. Really? You see, that is the real rub. Alex, a boy, actually had to come out and tell us the story was a hoax before we (the wider church audience) could actually discern that the story was a hoax. Every single story like this is a hoax. In fact, let me try to be clear as possible: if someone has a story of dying and going to heaven, and they have published a book about it, then they didn’t die and go to heaven. It is a hoax.

The reason I say this is that we have a standard that we can use to test such stories. It’s called… (and I wish the people at Tyndale Publishing would actually get one of these books and read it), it’s called the Bible. By reading it with eyes of faith, we can actually discern between what is real and what is a hoax, like the book written by Malarkey and the other popular book Heaven is For Real.

Is Evolution Biblically Acceptable? The Question of Genesis 1 – Reformation21

Is Evolution Biblically Acceptable? The Question of Genesis 1 – Reformation21.

One of the main articles last month at the Reformation 21 website (December 2014) is this significant one by Dr. (PCA pastor) Richard D.Phillips. By it he begins a series in which he does and will argue that evolution is incompatible with the Bible’s teaching.

This first installment focuses on the issue of how Genesis 1 is to be read (he defends its full authority and historicity).

Below are a few paragraphs from it (follow the link above to find the full article). I believe this is must reading (and understanding!) for Reformed Christians, as it focuses on the issue facing us at the present time.

Given what World Magazine has called a “major, well-funded push” to promote the acceptance of evolution among evangelical Christians, the case must be persuasively made against the compatibility of evolution and the Bible.  In answer to this pro-evolutionary stance, I am one of those Bible teachers who believe that the implications of evolution involve sweeping changes to the Christian faith and life.

While I appreciate the moderate spirit of many who want to find a way to accept evolution alongside the Bible, I find that the more radical voices are here more helpful.  For instance, I share the view of Peter Enns in the conclusion to his book The Evolution of Adam, writing that “evolution… cannot simply be grafted onto evangelical Christian faith as an add-on,”[1] but requires a fundamental rethinking of doctrines pertaining to creation, humanity, sin, death, and salvation.  But Christian ethics must also be revised.  Enns writes that under evolution “some characteristics that Christians have thought of as sinful,” including “sexual promiscuity to perpetuate one’s gene pool,” should now be thought of as beneficial.  Even so foundational an issue as the Christian view of death must be remolded by evolution.  An evolution-embracing Christian faith must now see death as an ally: “the means that promotes the continued evolution of life on this planet.”[2]

I am not a qualified scientist and have virtually nothing to contribute to the science involved in evolution.  As a Bible teacher and theologian, my concern is the necessary beliefs that flow from the Word of God.  For the ultimate issue involved with evolution is biblical authority: must the Bible submit to the superior authority of secularist dogma? Or may the believer still confess together with Paul: “Let God be true though everyone were a liar” (Rom. 3:4).  From this perspective, I plan a short series of articles arguing against the idea that evolution is biblically acceptable.

…One of the grand motives, I believe, for accommodating evolution in Genesis 1 is so that evangelicals can stop arguing about science and start teaching about Jesus.  But do we fail to note that Jesus’ story begins in Genesis 1?  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…” (Jn. 1:1).  In fact, when the interpretive approach used to neutralize Genesis 1 as history is necessarily extended by evolution, then the reason for Jesus’ coming is lost?  After all, without a biblical Adam as the first man and covenant head of the human race, then what is the problem for which the Son of God came?  Here we see just how right Peter Enns is: evolution is not an add-on to the Bible, it is a replacement.

Dr. Richard D. Phillips is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Greenville, SC and the chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology

See more at: http://www.reformation21.org/articles/is-evolution-biblically-acceptable-the-question-of-genesis-1.php#sthash.h5cWQw5t.dpuf

In this connection, a great resource to read is this one by Prof.David J. Engelsma: “Genesis 1-11: Myth or History.”

The Top 20 Most-Read Gleanings of 2014 – ChristianityToday.com

The Top 20 Most-Read Gleanings of 2014 | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com.

Every year at this time Christianity Today posts the top stories in the world of Christian news based on what its readers visited the most on the “Gleanings” section of its website (“important developments in the church and the world”).

MIbrahim-2014At the link above is this year’s list of twenty (20) most read stories – with a brief introduction from “CT”. When you see their list, you will understand why these were indeed the stories people were most interested in.

What do Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Meriam Ibrahim, and the KJV have in common? All were subjects of the most-read Gleanings posts of 2014.

This one goes with the picture above, as reported by “CT”:

As advocates for the Sudanese mother sentenced to death for not renouncing her Christian faith topped more than 1 million, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag gave birth early this morning to a baby girl in a Khartoum prison hospital wing.

So reports Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), as well as her lawyer Elshareef Ali to the BBC. The 27-year-old mother sentenced to death for apostasy named her little girl Maya, according to The Telegraph.

Sudanese authorities are allowing Ibrahim two years to nurse her daughter before they will carry out the death sentence. Ibrahim’s lawyers lodged an appeal last week, according to CSW.

Newsweek Takes a Desperate Swipe at the Integrity of the Bible (Part 1) | Canon Fodder

A Christmas Present from the Mainstream Media: Newsweek Takes a Desperate Swipe at the Integrity of the Bible (Part 1) | Canon Fodder.

BiblestudypicHave you heard about the atrocious, antichristian attack on the Bible published in the latest Newsweek magazine (Dec.23, 2014)? If you haven’t yet, you ought to be aware of this article by Kurt Eichenwald – “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin” (see link to it below).

Michael Kruger, president and professor of NT and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC (and blogger at “Canon Fodder”) has started a thorough review of this article, taking Eichenwald to task for his poor journalism as well as his attack on the Bible.

Here is the opening part of Kruger’s first installment; visit the link above for the critique, and look for the second part in the near future.

It is not unusual for Newsweek, and other major media magazines, to publish critical opinions of Christianity and the Bible during major Christian holidays. I have lost count of how many March/April issues of such magazines have cast doubt on the resurrection, just in time for Easter.

However, the recent Newsweek cover article by Kurt Eichenwald, entitled “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” published intentionally (no doubt) on December 23rd, goes so far beyond the standard polemics, and is so egregiously mistaken about the Bible at so many places, that the magazine should seriously consider a public apology to Christians everywhere.

Of course, this is not the first media article critiquing the Bible that has been short on the facts. However, what is stunning about this particular article is that Kurt Eichenwald begins by scolding evangelical Christians for being unaware of the facts about the Bible, and the proceeds to demonstrate a jaw-dropping ignorance of the fact about the Bible.

Being ignorant of biblical facts is one thing. But being ignorant of biblical facts after chiding one’s opponent for that very thing is a serious breach of journalistic integrity. Saying Eichenwald’s article is an instance of “the pot calling the kettle black” just doesn’t seem to do it justice.

On Reading “Slowly, Slowly” – A.Jacobs

AJacobsPleasuresofReadingFrom a section headed by the words “slowly, slowly” in his book The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (Oxford, 2011), Alan Jacobs makes the following points about slow reading:

There’s a Web site called bkkeepr that provides what its maker would call a service. I am inclined to disagree.

bkkeepr requires you, when you start a book, to identify it not by title and author but by the ISBN number. It does so because its whole purpose is to show you how fast you read, and it therefore needs the ISBNs in order to identify the particular edition of a book that you’re reading.

I think this is a bad idea. It’s what you’re reading that matters, and how you’re reading it, not the speed with which you’re getting through it. Reading is supposed to be about the encounter with other minds, not an opportunity to return to the endlessly appealing subject of Me. Americans have enough encouragements to narcissism; let’s try to do without this one.

…We should not underestimate what can be accomplished by those who are wiling to read more slowly and with greater care (67, 69).

Emerson, Scripture, and Our Permissive Society

Markings on long journey-TimmermanContinuing my readings in the collection of John J. Timmerman’s writings titled Markings on a Long Journey (Baker, 1982), I came across this good commentary in connection with an article Timmerman wrote for The Banner back in October of 1970. 
 
The article is titled “Emerson and Our Permissive Society” and treats the permissive youth culture that was becoming rampant in his day and that has only continued into our own day.
 
Timmerman first describes how Ralph W.Emerson’s philosophy (along with Henry D. Thoreau, leading 19th century Transcendentalists) influenced his own generation and subsequent ones, including our own:
‘What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions if I live wholly from within? ..No law can be sacred to me but that of my own nature. The only right is what is after my constitution. The highest revelation of God is in every man. Make your own Bible.’
Concerning which he states: “This is the ultimate permissiveness. Trust your own instincts, trust only your own conscience, and make your own Bible” (160).
 
But then Timmerman ends with what must be our only standard and guide in answering to a society gone utterly permissive, a standard that will alone help our youth conquer this “Emersonian individualism in which each man does his own thing as seems right in his own eyes. …We have to transcend personal conscience; we must find an objective law to which young and old can submit, a set of sanctions which we find in Scripture.”
 
And from there he adds these significant words:
The cogency of this answer will depend upon the value we place upon Scripture and the way we interpret it. If the Bible is a book whose historical accuracy has to be established by extra-biblical documents, if we have to find its meaning through highly sophisticated mythological approaches, if we see in the biblical stories recurrent archetypes, symbols or images whose origins lie in a shadowy evolutionary past – then we are, it seems to me, destroying the uniqueness of the book. If we disregard the testimony of traditional Christian experience as it has been illuminated by the Spirit through generations of Christians, if the main lines of scriptural truth are no longer plain over the ages and have to be reinterpreted by each generation, we will wonder just how valid our temporary interpretations are. I do not that my grandmother, who was a life-long reader of the Bible, or that my father, who was a gifted student of the Bible, came to basic convictions about the creation of Adam and Eve, redemption, grace, and Christian duties without the guidance of the Spirit. If basic interpretations have constantly to be changed instead of being rooted in the past and developed in conformity with it instead of repudiation of it, then Emerson was right when he said, ‘God speaks,’, not spoke once for all (161-62).

Always Changing? – William W. Goligher

Always Changing? by William W. Goligher | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

Nov 2014 TTAs I finished the final articles in the November Tabletalk yesterday, I realized there was another good article on the theme that I wanted to reference here today, even though it is now December and time to break open the new issue.

That is the above-linked article by Dr.William Goligher, senior pastor at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. In his piece under the rubric “Pastor’s Perspective”, he applies the motto semper reformanda especially to the realm of worship, an area where he is (properly) critical of those who wish to see the church change her style and content to adapt to every whim of society’s so-called “seekers.”

What he has to say is a fitting follow-up to our Re-formed worship on the Lord’s day, so we post a section of his article here. To read the full article, use the Ligonier link above.

We have seen this notion gain traction in the last few decades. Church leaders and members agitate for “change” as a sign of “integrity” or an essential element in being “relevant” in today’s generation. There are pleas for new forms, methods, and structures for the church. Most calls for innovation are driven by the godless culture around us and by our rebellious hearts within us. We want to modify the message to appeal to society; we want to make church more “user friendly” for the outsider, rather than see it as the solemn assembly of God’s covenant people.

This has also affected the use of the word worship. In some circles, it is applied only to music—whether of the classical or contemporary variety—and it has created with it a new role in the church—“worship leader.” Others want to drop the word worship altogether, arguing that worship applies to “all of life” and not to the assemblies of God’s people. So the Lord’s Day is like any other day; liturgy is replaced by “user-friendly events”; sermons become “Bible talks”; and the focus of Sunday “meetings” becomes fellowship or evangelism rather than a covenant assembly and corporate worship.

These innovations run counter to the example of the Reformers, who denied that they were change-mongers who were interested in change for change’s sake. In the strict sense, they were pushing for a return to the radix, the “root” of biblical Christianity. They were accused of fostering change by their opponents, but their defense was that, in fact, they wanted to drive the church back to the Word of God. They envisioned reformation not as our doing the changes (active) but as our being changed (passive). In other words, when we talk about reformation, we think of the Lord who reforms us and the Scripture that is His means of reformation.

P.S. For TODAY only you can get a subscription to Tabletalk for only $12 – their Cyber Monday deal!

Antiques and Our Heritage (2) – The Sense of Sin

Two weeks ago we began to quote from a selection by John J.Timmerman, former English professor at Calvin College, found in a collection of his writings titled Markings on a Long Journey (Baker, 1982). It is an article he originally wrote for The Banner in September of 1972, and includes his thoughts on some things “old, precious, and beautiful” in the Reformed tradition.

The first one was the “antithesis”; the second one ties in well with our previous post today. Timmerman calls this “antique”, “the sense of sin and human limitation”. Here are his thoughts:

Markings on long journey-TimmermanSin is almost an obsolete word in our culture. We have criminals and lawbreakers, people have guilty feelings, often considered unjustified, but what newspaper would accuse the would-be assassin of Wallace as a sinner? The word would sound medieval. The exuberant religious movements don’t talk much about guilt. Sin as transgression of God’s law, as a cause of corruption, alienation, and human tragedy has a very limited circulation.

In the face of the most massive evidence of human greed and callousness, man seems to view sin as a myth. There is little talk about the endless, thorny battle with sin in our ordinary lives, little feeling of the enormous distance between the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount and our daily existence. I remember vividly the almost monotonous prayers to keep us from sinning in thought, word, and deed; prayers, however, that rose from hard and inescapable experience. I am not stressing the morbid preoccupation with sin that… approaches sickness of soul and exhibits ingratitude to our Lord’s redeeming power, but I am stressing the importance of a realistic and honest appraisal of the dark side of our daily lives and measureless need of daily forgiveness and daily repentance. Indeed Jesus has saved us once and for all, but He also saves us everyday. Nobody wears robes of stainless white this side of Jordan (p.157).

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