New Media and the CLBSJ

Matthew Johnstone

A few folks have asked about the ability for our seminar to be taped for later redistribution - presumably using YouTube or another, similar, video-sharing capability. I had a chance to have a conference with Laurel Dykstra, one of our board-members, via Skype - from 3,000 miles away. Our coordination for the upcoming seminar has taken place predominately over e-mail from day one. The work of the CLBSJ has not only been aided, but enabled by the technological advances of the last twenty years. Our project, as it exists, would not be possible without modern communications and technology.

But when I started at the CLBSJ, I mentioned my intentions and desire for a 21st Century communications model, and was asked about the second side of our mission - the Library for the Bible and Social Justice. In a world where much of our academic and activist work is now happening online, why devote our resources to a physical library?

It’s been my pleasure this last few weeks to help host a scholar working on a project here at the CLBSJ, and to be able to guide her toward some resources relevant to her research. It has been of tremendous value to me to be able to encounter the books - not just the articles or the ideas, but the books themselves by Ched Myers and Laurel Dykstra, among others. The concentrated resources here can serve as powerful tools for scholars creating new works - and for activists seeking to energize their thinking.

Above all, our work is grounded in the teaching of a particular Book, and as we negotiate the transition of the next century, the enduring value of the printed word  in the long-term continues to reveal itself. The Bible as book is not going anywhere, and neither are we.

What about you? How has the digital word changed your work or mission? How has the digital Word affected your ministry or scholarship?