Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hey, this just not my phone, this is also my library!

We are very aware that mobile hand phones especially smart phones have become as essential part of life in the last two decades. Nowadays we cannot imagine life before these small portable mobile devices. Pay phone booths, expensive operator assisted calls and land line are slowly becoming a thing of the past. The world has become even more interconnected as never before. With the ever expanding cellular infrastructure development, cellular mobile phones are becoming common in some underdeveloped countries even before the land based telephones. According to the United Nations more than 6 billion of the 7 billion people on earth today has access to a mobile phone!

This is an exciting time for the Church. Most mobile phones not only receive voice phone calls but also books and videos. This means that The Church has a unique opportunity today to make the bible available to almost 85% of the people on earth by means of free downloads of e-bible or audio bible! This is a fantastic opportunity. Not only e-bibles but also books on Christianity, Christian living and theology.

The revolution that resulted from the Guttenberg Press caused not only a revolution in learning and knowledge, but indirectly the Protestant Reformation. The bible became more easily available and was translated into a more readable form in the local languages from Latin or Greek. The limitations to that revolution was printing costs, distribution and point of sales/bookshops. The present e-book revolution bypass the limitations of the printing press (surprisingly this has not really translated to cheaper books). The electronic version is easily distributed and downloaded at the cost of a website and mobile apps.

The e-book revolution has placed the power of publishing and distribution into the hands of the authors and readers. Publishers are gatekeepers of printed books and while it is acknowledged that as corporate companies, they need to make a profit, they however also limit books published to that of a few superstar authors. Authors should make their works free or at a minimal charge on the Internet. This is especially true of sermon transcript, books on Christianity and Christian living. In fact, superstar authors and pastors should be the first to do so. Many do not need these incomes from their books. The call is also to Christian theological publishers. For reasons best known to themselves, most of our theological writings in books and journals are locked up behind walls that demand we pay a high monetary price to have access to these books and articles. Open the doors and allow the knowledge and wisdom to be available to all. Commentaries, theological thesis and writings are valuable resources that should be available to all. Everyone, including the poorest Christian living in the slums should have access to a well-stocked Christian library through his or her phone.

The mobile phones also make easily accessible videos and audio messages. Through Youtube, Godtube and other such services, everyone will be able to access Christian documentaries, attend lectures, participate in conferences, and even attend Church services. The technology for streaming video is always improving as is the technology for uploading and downloading.

The dawn of a new era is here. It is now possible to share the bible and Christian teachings to at least 85% of the whole population, even those who are living at the ends of the earth. This is a tremendous opportunity. It is hoped that the Church will awaken to this opportunity.


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