Bible engagement is at a pivotal point. With the help of smart phones, tablets and other devices the Scriptures are more accessible than ever before. We live in exceptional times. Digital technology provides proximity and unprecedented connectivity to the Bible.
New technologies and social media make it possible to dream about doing things that would have been beyond reach some years ago. Since we crossed over from Gutenberg to Google there are tremendous opportunities to retell the Story in creative new ways. Imagine an online game enabling children or youth to develop avatars, enter a virtual world, and as part of the action, engage with the Scriptures – it’s coming. Imagine the Bible in 3D – it’s coming. Imagine interfacing with a hologram of David as he slots a stone into his sling and begins to run toward Goliath – it’s coming!
Imagine interactive technology prompting you to reflect on the Scriptures daily, tracking your progress and facilitating sharing via social media – it’s come! Scripture Union Canada has developed and published theStory™ – an online Bible reading guide emphasizing the biblical narrative. Features of theStory™ are:
theStory™ has just begun but we’re continuing to dream about what we can do to enhance it. What if we added an audio version, film, multiple languages, or provided a blog that enabled subscribers to chat about the biblical reflections with the writers and other readers? What if we could add family, youth, children’s and small group versions of theStory™? What if . . . we could help this generation become the most biblically engaged of all time?
What will the shape of Bible engagement be in the years to come? Here are some pensees and questions for consideration:
Are there imaginative new ways to fuse the dramatic and creative arts with the Word? How can artists who respect the power of truth be encouraged to give creative expression and visual beauty to the Word?
We have migrated from Gutenberg to Google. How do we continue to facilitate connections with the Bible so that engagement becomes more than words and images on a screen?
Should the Bible be liberated from the constraints of individualism? What new formats might better facilitate communal Bible reading, exploration and reflection?
What types of formats, presentation styles or delivery systems of the Scriptures are best suited to communal hermeneutics?
How can Bible engagement tied to screen to screen connexity be fused with face to face community?
What can or should be done to invite non-Bible readers, both as individuals and in community, to engage with the Bible?
How can the profile of the Bible be raised both inside and outside the church?
Is there a way to develop online contextualised illustrated display Bibles as public exhibits of how we value the Scriptures?
Should we be seeking progressive ways to promote the primacy of the Scriptures? What are the descriptors for this generation that best communicate a high view of the Scriptures?
How might hypertext be better used to invite engagement with the Bible? How can we leverge the internet so that more people engage the Bible in ways that result in meaningful encounters with Christ and life transformations?
What are the best ways, in today’s context, to invite children and youth to hook up and interact with the Bible so that they ultimately choose to hold a biblical world view?
Concerning the Western tendency to compartmentalize and dichotomize: How can we better develop resources to help people engage the Bible with both their heads and their hearts?
How can the Bible be shared in real time with suitable symbols and prophetic metaphor?
What improvements need to be made with delivery systems so that the Bible is accessed in more multisensory, interactional and user-friendly formats?
Would it be helpful to publish a Bible that shows by its formatting what literary genre is primarily being used?
How do we teach/educate people to read the Scriptures in context? Is there a way to wean people from manipulating the Bible for selfish or skewed agendas?
What are the ways to improve reaching anyone, anywhere, anytime with the Bible?
How can we do the above so that favourable conditions are created for divine-human encounters?
What questions or pensees do you have about the shape of Bible engagement in the future?
assimilate vb. to learn and understand thoroughly, to absorb, to incorporate, to be changed into another.
Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard was assimilated by the Borg in late 2366. His assimilation allowed the Borg to acquire all of his knowledge and experience. Now I’m not a Star Trek fan like my wife, but I’m big on assimilation. Not what the Borg do. I’m into assimilating God’s Word.
Is God’s Word part of you? Are you consumed with longing for it? Is it embedded in your soul – undividable from who you are? We set our hearts on many things. Have you set your heart on being a man/woman of the Word?
To make God’s Word a part of who you are, you must read and reflect on it. There are no short cuts. Reading and reflection require discipline – a regular routine of listening to the Scriptures, meditating on them and memorizing them. On a daily basis God’s Word must enter through your eyes or ears before it can be fixed in your mind.
Reading and reflection are the preliminary stages of assimilation. To go deeper you must be shaped and changed in the depths of your being. God’s Word must be absorbed into your DNA. Your mental knowledge of the Scriptures must be actualized. A metamorphosis has to take place. Information must transmute. What you know, you must become.
Becoming . . . God’s Word must lodge inside us and burst out through us! It should whisper in our spirit and trumpet through everything we say and do. It should be in our hearts, but also in our hands. In our minds, but also on our lips. In the privacy of our homes, but also in the public square. And, like the Borg Collective, it should continue multiplying through further assimilation!