Monday, December 01, 2008

Will books become obsolete? - Google's plan to digitize the world

Here is an interesting article from Maureen Dowd of the New York Times on the demise of books. Google has scanned seven million books, taking them from print to digitized forms. She still sees a place for books, but they will become quite different in use.

Libraries will shrink. Out of print works will be revived and gain new "shelf life." Information will become even more ubiquitous. So, the question is, how will this affect the church and Christians, who have been so heavily dependent on books?

Ever since the invention of the printing press, Christianity has been linked to print. Perhaps too dependent. Printed Bibles, commentaries, and newspapers that were made available to the public had a democratizing effect, casting down popes and bishops.

This trend will undoubtedly continue. People no longer look to church leaders for all of their information. Gone are the days where ministers were the disseminators of knowledge. Most everything we say can be googled at a moment's notice.This means that sermons and lessons must become intensively practical for Christians, with the authentic ring of a lived out faith and leaders that give examples from their own lives.

For non-Christians who are biblically illiterate, it may mean directing them to these resources online, and following this up for questions and mentoring. A real live Christian to sort through the overwhelming flood of information.

Perhaps we will recover our value of authority and lessen our worship of knowledge. Not the authority of position; instead, the authority of a lived out life. Moral authority.

How do you think the world will change as it digitizes?


jeremy said...

This past Sunday we had a day of praise and thanksgiving. In the middle of the sermon, our minister asked everyone to take out their cellphones and hold them up. We did. Then he asked us to send a text message to an email address of something we were thankful for. At the towards the end of worship, several slides were shown with our responses as we sang songs of thanksgiving.

I'd never seen or heard of that being done before, but I thought it was a very cool use of technology for an "interactive" sermon!

James said...

Jeremy, I've been planning to do this for months now. I wanted to do a poll, but wanted to find some technology that would automatically calulate the responses. Sounds like your minister is really trying to be current and revelant.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This was done at the ACU Summit in October. At the end of each presentation, the audience could text messages to the speaker for a Q&A at the end. Two of the speakers did the survey thing. It was very exciting to see the responses as the graphs were presented on the screen. Very participatory. James V

Donny - MarketingTwin #2 said...

Know some clients who want to publish a book but we've directed them to do a digital e-book instead. The printed book is going the way of the printed newspaper. Kindle - ever heard of it? Wave of the future...