The Vatican Library and Bodleian Library at Oxford University have announced that over the next four years they will be scanning and releasing online 1.5 million pages of ancient texts. Many of these documents are unavailable, even in person, as they are too frail to be touched. Now, these priceless pieces of human history will be preserved forever.
This is an awesome example of how rapidly increasing technological improvements can be used to preserve the past for future…eh who are we kidding? Who is going to read through these texts—written in ancient Greek and Hebrew, though the collection may be expanded to Latin and “ye olde” king’s English—besides historians, antiquarians, linguists, and a few other nerds? (If nothing else, Dan Brown might find fodder for a fourth Robert Langdon book.)
When Is There Too Much?
I’m not trying to be negative, but I’m just a bit afraid that we’re just adding more information to the Internet without increasing the average user’s ability to sort, analyze, and apply it. I’m also afraid that we’re doing the same thing in the Church as well.
I used to think that poor orthodoxy resulted from a lack of good teaching, but I’m beginning to realize that there is an abundance—even flood—of good teaching and a dearth of good application. I used to follow several “mega-church” blogs, but I found it overwhelming. There was too much good teaching and not enough time or energy for me to apply it all. In response, I stopped following most of the blogs and became far more selective in what I read from the few that made the cut.
As technology improves, good content on the Internet will increase, perhaps at a rate that we cannot now even begin to comprehend. How can we, as technologists, creatives, and Church leaders, help our people to learn, apply, and grow? I would hate for our people to be still catching up on their blog feeds and podcast subscriptions a millennia later, as we are with the Vatican and Oxford’s collections.