Thinking Out Loud

November 19, 2022

My Twitter Account: The Last 100 Days

The original name for blogs was ‘weblog’ and if we’re honest, many of our posts to social media represent a log or diary of our thoughts and activities. I can’t imagine that whole archive simply not existing anymore if any part of the web were to go down, but that’s what people are saying today about Twitter.

A few days ago, Amanda Held Opelt, the sister of Rachel Held Evans said as much, and then some. Rachel’s gracious interactions with both her friends and her theological enemies were such a significant part of her life, that it’s hard to imagine a world where those can’t be sought out and referenced.

As I write this, we don’t know where Twitter is heading on Monday morning — toward a crash or a rebirth — but I went back and grabbed text-only of things from the past 3+ months.

Remember, this is really, really random.



I am convinced that some people I know suffer from a “naive theology.” I’ve never heard or seen this term before, but it certainly seems to fit.


My wife and I are considering attending a church on Sunday where the women (including guests) are expected to wear head coverings. She’s trying to decide between a top hat and a Viking helmet.


I don’t wish to try to psychoanalyze peoples’ motives, but I believe that in some cases, people are passionate about evangelism because of “the one that got away;” significant, critical past attempts that are stuck in their memory that caused them to redouble their efforts.


If data gathering organizations like Barna are going to start defining “regular Church attendance” in terms of two weeks per month, or even one week in four, there is a feature of church life which is going to disappear: Being missed when you are not there.


…it occurred to me that in a post-Covid world, a smaller church [like my wife’s] with a half-time pastor and a quarter-time assistant pastor may not be so weird; rather, it might be a model for churches in the future. All the advantages of multi-staff but less than one full time salary position.


I have said it before and I will say it again, none of this technology is serving us. We are serving it. Everything that happens to ‘improve our user experience,’ is actually done to advance their agenda, their plans, their purposes. Not ours.


My neighbors gave their dog a name that totally rhymes with their daughter’s name. Not sure what they were thinking. The poor puppy is going to be so confused.


Retweeting Jacob Coyne @jacoblcoyne

Jesus fed the 5,000 but only 500 followed him after lunch. He had 12 disciples but only 3 prayed with him in the garden before his arrest. Then, only 1 stood with him at the cross. The closer you get to the cross, the smaller the crowd becomes


Next week on As The Church Turns:
Worship team backup singer Wendy Alto rats out Central Church’s Director of Music Marvin Flatsharp for failing to post the Christian Copyright Licensing numbers on the worship slides.


Retweeting Paul J. Pastor @pauljpastor

Oh, the number of books that could be a chapter; the number of chapters that could be an essay; the number of essays that could be a paragraph; the number of paragraphs that could be a sentence; the number of sentences that could be one single word.


Fabric softener dryer sheets are to doing laundry what Keurig pods are to drinking coffee. Completely unnecessary products. Environmental catastrophes.


Retweeting Sarah Stankorb @sarahstankorb

Well, I cut 7k words from the manuscript, but marked a bunch of little holes I wanted to fill. I’m back up to 28k words over what it should be… with a week to go. 😶 Please, tell me your secrets for cutting copy! I have darlings to save. I mean kill.

to which I replied:

It’s too bad that authors don’t have the option afforded to music artists, namely to release a radio edit version of their book, and an extended play edition. Betting that a lot of good stuff ends up on the cutting room floor.


Author and Speaker R.T. Kendall @DrRTKendall challenged Graham Kendrick @MakeWayMusic to write a song about forgiveness and forgiving others. The result was ‘Merciful’.


Misinformation in the funny pages:

In the Aug. 14th comic Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman & Jerry Scott, the authors have a father saying to his son, “Some units here in the states are metric like our money.” However, US currency isn’t part of the metric system, the word you’re looking for is “decimal.”


Reading the end-notes of Christian books, I’ve noticed that many of my favorite authors frequently quote Ibid, and I’m wondering if some of you can recommend particular titles by him (or her)?


Stacety @Stacety Replying to @bethallisonbarr

…I feel this. My son went to Australia for YWAM; almost all of the photos he took/ sent to anyone were on Snapchat. What is the point of that?? My daughters would say, “did you see the photo Noah took of that huge spider?” I’d say “cool, no, show me.” Oh, it’s gone….

to which I replied

The transitory nature of digital media. This is why I keep encouraging members of our family to select some photos and actually pay to get them printed.


”To those who believe no explanation is necessary,
to those who refuse to believe no explanation suffices.”

-Song of Bernadette by Franz Werfel


For my Canadian friends looking for more Wordle-type adventures, there’s Canuckle, which allows place names and some French words, too. The thematic constraint makes it somewhat more difficult than Wordle or Lingle.


With regard to deconstruction:
Could it be that in some cases,
The elephant in the room
is unanswered prayer?


In the present state of our technology immersion, there is no greater idiot than the person who believes that information showing on Google is reliable and trustworthy.


I’m currently reading an advance copy of Parenting: Getting it Right by Andy and Sandra Stanley. It goes on sale January 17th. I wish it went on sale earlier. By that I don’t mean November. I mean like, 25 years ago.


Shoe box sized giving will produce shoe box sized results.


Retweeting quote posted by Duke Kwon @dukekwondc

If you had asked Paul to define what a Christian is, he would not have said, “A Christian is a person who believes X and Y doctrines about Christ,” but “A Christian is a person who walks in the Spirit, who knows Christ.”
— Gordon Fee, 1934–2022


Yes, the pop song was based on words of scripture, but that’s got me wondering if anyone ever tried to look up Turn Turn Turn in a concordance by using the word “turn.”


I wonder if more people would take out full membership in their Church, if membership came with a discount program at stores and restaurants, and maybe a dental plan.


Our son who is 28 moved back with us last year. He’s  a true millennial. He has no relationship whatsoever with newspapers and never reads them. Today I sent him to a store to pick up one for me. He did. He accidentally shoplifted it. He seriously had no idea they charge for them. [In his defence, he mentioned seeing me regularly picking up free newspapers of another kind.]


I really do miss the Jesus Music days. Whatever it is Nashville is sending out these days is just not the same. I long for the days of a movement that can produce beautiful things like this:


“…And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s branding?’”
– Luke 2:49 (not)


I’m looking at Acts 18:24-28 in the NET version, and it has 19 footnotes which are embedded links in Bible Gateway. If I want to copy it quickly into an email and send it, that’s 19 links, which will certainly render the email as spam. I can deactivate them, but it looks a mess! [But I really like the NET Bible overall!]


From an article on compulsory voting in Australia, SBS News
“The United States and Britain are individual-rights cultures, so the idea that you should be forced to do something for the greater good of the majority would not be something that’s inherent in the political culture.”


What #church preaching will look like in 2023:
You begin by saying that you have four sermon points.
You present three of them.
Then you announce the fourth point is only for Patreon supporters, and is available on the church’s Patreon page.


My first rule for publishers using social media is that every quotation or author pic must contain an image of the book in question. My second rule is that any thumbnail book images must be visible on a phone. I realize sometimes these objectives may seem mutually exclusive.


We have a digital clock that is so confusing to reset, my wife wants to buy a second one and just keep one on Standard Time and one on Daylight Time and just switch them out as needed.


Worth Watching:
Religion isn’t usually the theme on this YouTube channel, but this one covers the subject well. There are differences in prayer, church attendance, and tithing; and let’s not forget the German church TAX.
[23 minutes]



That brings us up to today. Not sure how long we have this platform. In hindsight, I wish I had been a bit more diligent about keeping Thinking Out Loud updated. The wisdom of the time was that people were moving from WordPress to the concision and instant (stream of consciousness) posting on Twitter.

But look where we are today.

November 20, 2021

Building a Personal Christian Library

This material was written for another audience, but although it may seem rather basic, deserves sharing here as well…

A Library for Christian Growth

The internet is great … for some things. But have you ever wished you could pick up an actual book and see the information you want displayed in a different form?

Lots of people do. Print books — both in general and in the Christian marketplace in particular — have had a strong year. Print is making a serious comeback. But if you wanted to have a shelf containing the best of the best, where would you start?  Here are some ideas:

The Bible – Everyone reading this should have a text copy of the Bible in their home.

A Study Bible – While no single study edition will tell you everything you want to know about every Bible passage, one good one will at least get you started in the right direction and demonstrate the depth of what’s available to learn when you’re prepared to dig a little deeper.

Concordance – People still ask for these, but honestly, this is one area where I think Christian publishers and booksellers are prepared to concede a point to computers. They’re fast and they’re geared to whichever translation is your favourite. Furthermore, stores no longer sell Bible software as much, as the online equivalents — such as BibleGateway.com are free!

Bible Handbook – This is a book which has one chapter for each of the 66 core Biblical books, presented in the same order. It’s an overview of all the major people, places and activities in the Bible’s big-picture narrative.

Reader’s Version – This is a more recent product genre which can eliminate the need for a Bible handbook (though not entirely.) It presents the Bible as one continuous story without books, chapters and verses. The best-known is The Story which uses either NIV or NKJV text.

One Volume Commentary – This is like a Bible handbook on steroids. It gets you into verse-by-verse explanations and connects you with other related passages. Always hardcover, and about the size of the New York City Telephone Directory, circa 1980.

Individual Commentary – Got a particular book of the Bible you’d like to explore in great depth? For lay-people (non-academics or people not in vocational ministry) there are a number of series worth checking out including the Tyndale Commentary series (IVP), The Bible Speaks Today series (IVP), The Life Application series (Tyndale) and the Daily Study Bible series (William Barclay, John Knox Press). (For pastors and scholars we also keep two books on the shelf describing the best academic titles in detail.)

Bible Atlas – I can remember as a kid not having much interest in those maps of Paul’s missionary journeys or the location of the ten tribes of Israel, but now I see the need for these to a greater degree.

Bible Dictionary – Usually a larger hardcover book, Bible dictionaries let you look up words that are in the Bible and tells you what they mean. Obvious, maybe, but remember you won’t find the word trinity inside because it’s not a Biblical word.

Theological Dictionary – For those who want to have an entry for trinity and don’t mind missing out on the entries in a Bible dictionary. Not as popular. If you want to keep going down this road, there are also Philosophical Dictionaries and Dictionaries of Religion.

Devotional – At a certain point a lot of the study books listed here become all about information whereas the spiritual formation process should be all about transformation. Dictionaries and study Bibles provide all the head knowledge you need, but the message of Jesus is also meant to touch hearts.

Book of Customs in Biblical Times – I’ve added this toward the bottom because I see it is used in the chart (below) I wanted to include. However, these now take many different forms as people grow increasingly interested in the overall situation (politically, culturally, and in the understanding of key words and phrases) during the life and ministry of Jesus, in a category called “Hebraic Roots.”

Biographies – Every Christian should at some point read about the life of William and Catherine Booth, founders of The Salvation Army. Then there are 20th Century people like Corrie Ten Boom (The Hiding Place), Nicky Cruz and David Wilkerson (The Cross and the Switchblade), Don Richardson (Peace Child); but also older stories of people like Johann Sebastian Bach, John Wesley, Dorothy Sayers, or William Wilberforce.

Christian Living – Finally, here at the bottom of the list, is the catch-all category that Christian publishers use to describe the general books by today’s top authors as well as some classic writers. This list is already longer than I intended, but in the future we’ll recommend some key authors and books which should be part of your library.

Footnote: In the article, I made a very general statement about Study Bibles. Please note that in the case of the Life Application Study Bible (available in five different translations) the approach is quite different. Application notes are more devotional, and whereas a typical study Bible takes us into Bible times to understand context and meaning, the Life Application approach brings the Bible into our times and helps us apply it to our modern context and challenges.

The image at the top is from NavPress, a Christian publisher. I believe the lower image was created by Thomas Nelson, another Christian publisher.

April 21, 2021

Wednesday Connect

Christianity and Culture

Some insider humor.

Welcome to #95! We’ll get there eventually.

  • Ole Anthony has died. The head of the Trinity Foundation single-handedly exposed televangelist Robert Tilton and is beloved by many for purchasing The Wittenberg Door, a Christian satire magazine. (Yes, well he always thought your first name was strange also.)
  • The UK’s popular Spring Harvest music and teaching festival is launching EC-GO, a Christian streaming service. It goes live May 3rd. I don’t have a final price, but for £77 you can have unlimited access to all the sessions from this year’s festival, and get the first year free.
  • Hendrickson Publishing of greater Boston, which four years ago purchased Rose Publishing of southern California (someone earned a lot of frequent flyer miles negotiating that one) has now itself been purchased by Tyndale House Publishing. Each company will maintain its own location and autonomy. Hendrickson was owned by members of the same family that owns ChristianBook.com.
  • The funeral for Prince Phillip, at his request contained, “no homily, no sermon, no preaching.” Yet there was a strong spiritual tone through the music and the readings which the Prince chose himself.  It was midnight in Melbourne Australia when this writer observed, “The television presenters spoke of Prince Philip’s ‘faith’. For a moment, one commemorator referred to Duke of Edinburgh’s ‘Christian faith’, but quickly corrected his social faux pas by returning to the vague universal category of ‘faith’.”
  • With artists like Carrie Underwood and Harry Connick, Jr releasing faith-focused albums, it’s easy to ask if it’s real or if it’s a marketing stunt. And then there was Justin Bieber‘s surprise EP that dropped on Easter. And what if the message is solid but the language is a little too crude? …
  • …And the writer of the GQ cover story on Justin Bieber says sitting down to interview him was more like being in a confessional booth with him. Key quote, “Being famous breaks something in your brain.
  • No surprise: That jailed pastor in Alberta, Canada who refused to shut down his church services, got a letter of commendation from John MacArthur. But then, he’s a graduate of MacArthur’s seminary. (Plus, I don’t think this qualifies as what the Bible calls persecution “for the sake of the gospel.”)
  • The debate on homosexuality continues in the Catholic Church, with some voices saying it’s time to change the catechism.
  • From last week, ICYMI, Hillsong has shut down its Dallas campus. And as Julie Roys reports, there are stories implicating founders Brian Houston and wife Bobbi have misused funds and were involved in a $1.4M real estate deal.
  • Which is it? “Liberal Christian?” Or “Progressive Christian?” Roger Olsen wants to write a book about the former, but his publisher wants to call it the latter. He thinks the latter just means pro-LGBTQ and pro-egalitarian.
  • Having emancipated herself from LifeWay, author and speaker Beth Moore‘s first curriculum project is Now That Faith Has Come, a study of the book of Galatians.
  • Is this statement a tautology? “Joe Carter of [The Gospel Coalition] and Johnathan Leeman of 9Marks appear to have the cure for this decline in church membershipformal church membership!
  • …However, that story might be related to this story: One popular Reformed pastor believes churches should delay immersion baptism to age 18.
  • Newsworthy: “After nearly four decades of work led by Deaf Missions and collaborations between American Bible Society, Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, Deaf Harbor, DOOR International, Seed Company, Pioneer Bible Translators and the Deaf Bible Society, the Bible was completely translated from original sources into American Sign Language last September.
  • Remember that story from April 7th where a man and his wife and two of their grandchildren were shot and killed? The man was Dr. Robert Lesslie, a doctor and Christian author who wrote medical-themed collections of real life miracles such as Angels in the ER.
  • Admittedly I don’t do these roundups very often anymore, but you can always check out my Twitter which is updated a few times a day.

March 13, 2021

Love It, Hate It, But Don’t Quote It

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 1:05 pm

When Thinking Out Loud was at its height of popularity, I often found myself the recipient of review copies of books I hadn’t solicited. For the most part however, I requested advance copies or preview editions of books I would want to keep; and today my bookshelves contain a significant percents of what are called ARCs, or Advance Reader Copies.

The deal with ARCs — or any version of the book reviewers are sent — is that you are under no pressure to post a positive review. More recently, bloggers in the U.S. are required to post a statement saying that they received the book free in exchange for a review of any type.

So you can love the book. You can hate the book. You just can’t quote from the book if it’s an ARC.

Here’s why: These “uncorrected proofs” contain various types of spelling and grammatical errors which don’t make it into the final copy, plus there are other embarrassing things that happen such as the example below:

Do you see it? I won’t mention the book, but last week I got curious and wanted to verify that the correction was done… correctly.

Guess what? They almost fixed it!

Sloppy, sloppy editing. Peoples’ names matter. 

Oh, lest I forget, this is personal: My last name is Wilkinson.

February 13, 2021

Ravi: The Aftermath in Tweets

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:09 am

From (HarperCollins Christian Publishing)Thomas Nelson and Zondervan

From author Lee Strobel


Zacharias Trust (UK organization equivalent to RZIM) via journalist Ruth Graham (the full statement referred to is at this link.)

I have assumed that readers here are already following the story and there is no need to go over the details here.

However, if you need to know why this is news this weekend, Christian journalist Julie Roys has a report on the findings.

Spiritual implications for you and me: Thinking about the impact of all this became the springboard for Friday’s devotional at Christianity 201.


Numbers 32:23b CSB: “…be sure your sin will catch up with you.”


 

November 13, 2020

Moody Publishing Author Skye Jethani Latest Victim of Book Pirates

For Friday the 13th, I can’t think of a scarier story than this one. You spend months (or years) working on a book only to find that your content has been stolen and republished. Sometimes they don’t even bother to change the title.

Moody Publishing author Skye Jethani posted this on Twitter last week:


The unscrupulous publisher, Mithi Press House, successfully eliminated Skye’s name twice in the description (see blue underlined copy), but missed the last one (circled), an admission of guilt if ever one existed:

The publisher has 41 pages of Amazon results, many of which appear Christian themed. A few have titles similar to popular Christian titles. The Amazon URL, which usually contains an embedded ISBN-10, appears to indicate the book has no ISBN assignment.

Here we are, a week later, the stolen book is still available for purchase. Amazon has a procedure authors must complete to have cases of copyright infringement resolved, but their system, despite their protests to the contrary, is almost by design bound to make things like this happen. In my mind, they are complicit in every one of these cases. The first notification from the author should be sufficient for it to strike the title from its database.

…If customers buy the counterfeit edition, they may be in for a disappointment. It’s listed in the description at 100 pages, whereas the original is listed at 144 pages. They either cut the illustrations — which are the heart of this book — or eliminated some of the Sermon on the Mount.


Related:
• Review of Skye’s book: Adding New Life to the Sermon on the Mount (July, 2020)
• Our story of Tish Harrison Warren’s title being pirated: IVP Author’s 3-Year Labour of Love Lost to Counterfeit Sales (July 2019)

Skye Jethani’s website

April 13, 2020

Christian Media and Publishing: Who is Hurting – A Top Three

Filed under: Christianity, media, publishing — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:35 am

The Creators of the film, I Still Believe

The first faith-focused movie ever produced for IMAX couldn’t have had a more unfortunate release date. With glowing advance reviews, if it had released a week earlier, it would have enjoyed a solid week of box office sales on entering wide release. If it had been scheduled for a week later, its release would have been put back to whenever it is this summer that the motion picture industry will play catch-up. Instead, the creators acted quickly and decisively and rush-released the Netflix premiere. Later, many who missed both options will pursue the DVD release.

Vacation Bible School (VBS)

Make no mistake, VBS is a multi-million dollar business in the United States alone. Where I live, primary and junior school grades run to the end of June, so VBS is a July/August thing, but now it’s already in doubt in some places. In the U.S. it’s not unheard of to have a VBS week in late May, so many cancellations are possibly already kicking in, perhaps with some opting for postponement. This of course is part of the larger vulnerability of seasonal product, and there are also publishers of material for Easter and Mother’s Day who are experiencing unforeseen losses right now. An example with Mother’s Day might be Dayspring Cards, whose wares are sold through Christian bookstores many of which are either forced to close (see next item) or are in areas where people are being more diligent about social distancing.

ChristianBook.com

The place that everyone would turn to if shopping at the local Christian bookstore isn’t an option, Christianbook.com (aka Christian Book Distributors, formerly CBD) has been handed an order by the State of Massachusetts forcing it to close from April 7th to May 3rd, with only orders for digital product releasing. (See story.) The problem compounds for people hoping to get physical Christian books and music online because Amazon is prioritizing food and essential product orders, delaying some book shipments by up to two weeks.

February 29, 2020

Christian Books: What’s Popular Where I Live

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:02 am

I get to do this because I know how to spell Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Tullian Tchividjian. Not that either one made this list. But if you’re having a party tonight with Christian friends and you need a game, a Christian author spelling test wouldn’t be a bad idea. And Lysa TerKeurst.

 

August 20, 2019

In the Future, Amazon Will Control Much of What Christian Publishers Release

This article appeared today on one of our sister blogs, Christian Book Shop Talk, written for Christian bookstore owners, managers and sales associates.

An article released Friday by Canada’s Tim Challies on the influence that Amazon now has on the Christian publishing market has been making the rounds, and I wanted to wait a few days before responding. You can find The Power Over Christian Publishing We’ve Given To Amazon by clicking this link.

He begins dramatically,

A few days from now, or maybe a few months, or even a year, Amazon will pull a book from its site. One day it will be there available for purchase with all the rest, and the next it will be gone. One day people will be able to order it and have it shipped to their homes, and the next day it will have ceased to exist, at least as far as Amazon is concerned. This will inevitably be a book that Christians have embraced as orthodox but that the culture has rejected as heretical…

We’ve seen some of this happen already (especially with respect to Amazon pulling titles) so it isn’t prophetic. He then sets the stage defining the challenge for the future:

…[W]e inadvertently handed Amazon a near-monopoly over the sale of Christian books. We did this with the good-faith assumption that they would continue to sell whatever we published. But times have changed and are changing and it seems increasingly unlikely that Amazon will continue to sell it all. It seems increasingly likely that they will cede to cultural pressure—pressure that exists both within and outside of the company—and begin to cull their offerings. And then what? It’s not like these books cannot be sold by the Christian retailers that remain. But will publishers even be willing or able to publish them if they cannot be sold at the world’s biggest marketplace? Will you and I even be able to find out about them if Amazon isn’t recommending them to us? And will we be willing to pay a premium to have them shipped to us from smaller retailers with higher prices and no ability to offer free shipping?…

In a way, this is nothing new. Spin the search engine wheel and you’ll find many articles from the past accusing Christian publishers of only selling things that will do well at Family Christian Stores or LifeWay, and being extra cautious with progressive writers. But now FCS is gone, and LifeWay is phasing out its physical presence in America’s cities and towns.

Why should a publisher print something which retail won’t carry? Historically, that’s been a challenge, but now that in many parts of North America there is no retail (in the traditional sense) indie-published books compete with those from the larger, established publishing houses. The online behemoth is in many respects now calling the shots. Brick and mortar retail stores don’t matter as they once did; we’ve lost our influence.

What is new is the people to whom that power has been ceded. While dealing with a different aspect of this, Tim Challies correctly notes that,

Amazon is hardly a company founded by Christians or run according to Christian principles. To the contrary, it is a company founded by worldly people and run according to worldly principles.

And beyond the social issues Tim mentions, it bothers me that Amazon has no filters. A Jehovah’s Witness title, New Age title or an LDS title is just as likely to turn up in the search results as something from Baker, Zondervan or David C. Cook. Already, I’ve heard stories of people who unwittingly bought inappropriate books based on search engine results. This in and of itself highlights the value of Christian bookstore buyers and proprietors.

So what if those Christian publishers said to Amazon, “Since you now advertise as ‘the world’s largest bookstore,’ it would be nice if you would carry our titles exhaustively instead of selectively” or even dared to suggest that, “If you won’t carry everything, we won’t sell you anything at all.” If A-zon called their bluff on that, it would be devastating both to authors and consumers, since if a book’s A-zon listing doesn’t appear in search results, the book, for all intents and purposes, ceases to exist.

Again, to read the article at challies.com, click this link.

 

May 20, 2019

The Colorization of Your Bible

On the weekend I realized that several articles we’ve done here at Thinking Out Loud and at Christian Book Shop Talk have a common theme: The progressively increasing use of color in Bibles. By this I don’t mean the addition of illustrations, such as is found in Children’s Bibles such as The Picture Bible or The Action Bible,

but rather the use of color in otherwise unedited, full-text editions.

There also isn’t time to talk about Biblezines, such as these three (lower right of photo) produced by The Gideons in Canada, with beautiful photography running through every page. Besides, they aren’t full Bible editions either, but contain selected themed text, with the Gospel of John complete at the back…

I’m sure it began with covers. I can’t imagine that black was always the cover color of choice. Evangelist Bob Harrington used a cherry red Bible which apparently some found offensive. He countered with, “The Bible should be read;” a homonym pun he repeated (and repeated) at successive appearances in the same churches.

Red letter Bibles are not that old. Wikipedia tells us:

The inspiration for rubricating the Dominical words comes from Luke, 22:20: “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which I shed for you.” On 19 June 1899, Louis Klopsch, then editor of The Christian Herald magazine, conceived the idea while working on an editorial. Klopsch asked his mentor Rev. Thomas De Witt Talmage what he thought of a testament with the Dominical words rubricated and Dr. Talmage replied, “It could do no harm and it most certainly could do much good.”

Klopsch published the first modern red letter edition New Testament later in 1899. The first modern, fully rubricated bible was published in 1901. The rubricated bible instantly became popular, and is sometimes favored by Protestant Christians in the United States. Especially in King James Version editions, this format is useful because quotation marks are absent.

But we want to look at more recent developments.

Even as early as 2010, I noted the following Bibles that were offered for sale by a prominent online Christian retailer, and asked readers to reader decide if we are really so excited about Bible engagement that we needed all these permutations, or if the marketers had gone a little crazy on us (and no, I am not making these up):

  • The Veggie Tales Bible
  • The Soldier’s Bible
  • The Grandmother’s Bible
  • The Duct Tape Bible
  • The Busy Life Bible (“Inspiration even if you have only a minute a day”)
  • The Chunky Bible
  • The God Girl Bible (only in “snow white”)
  • The Wisdom and Grace Bible for Young Women of Color
  • The Waterproof Bible (useful in frequently flooded U.S. states)
  • The Pray for a Cure Bible (in pink)
  • The Divine Health Bible
  • The Wild About Horses Bible
  • The Fire Bible

The cover colors offered were just as varied:

  • Raspberry
  • Melon
  • Razzleberry
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Caramel
  • Espresso
  • Toffee
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Glittery Grape Butterfly
  • Plum
  • Lavender (with flowers!)
  • Black Cherry
  • Distressed Umber (?)
  • Mocha/aqua

and remember this was before the “duo-tone” type of Bibles became more entrenched, ultimately exceeding the traditional “bonded leather” editions in terms of popularity.

In January of 2017, we reported on the trend that developed out of a convergence of adult coloring books and scrap-booking. People were apparently coloring the text pages of their Bibles and not everyone was happy with the results.

Bible Journaling 2

Bible Journaling 1

In 2017, Tyndale Publishing House decided to help some aspiring artists kickstart their personalization projects by creating The Inspire Bible, available now in a half dozen different editions.

The primary market for these is women, so I don’t actually own one. This page sample was captured online, and then I darkened it considerably so you would see the graphic art material which is actually printed in a much lighter tone.

They will disagree, but rival publisher Zondervan has never come with anything quite as striking in terms of color, print process (including the page edges) and overall aesthetics for the NIV. Meanwhile Tyndale is about to issue a girls version of Inspire.

Then last week, I discovered that even Bible tabs had joined the party. You can’t buy the ones pictured at Christian bookstores or major Christian online vendors, but through independent sources.

Of course, not every innovation pleases everyone. Just last week someone reacted to the NRSV Pride Bible which we had noted in a past edition of Wednesday Connect:

This, they felt went too far, though minus its appellation, with its primary colors it would make a nice Bible for kids.

Finally, all this is nothing new; people having been been marking their Bibles according to theme for decades. Perhaps this well-marked copy was the inspiration for the various color-coded Bibles on the market today…

…such as the Rainbow Study Bible, pictured here:

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