Friday, June 20, 2008

Creativity Books and Theological Education

In this series on creative happenings in theological education the issue of books has already come up in relation to:

Distance Education (access to books and how students get training in research even with new technologies)

Poverty (when unresourced Bible Schools and seminaries don’t have much money the books item in the budget is often the first thing to be reduced)

Copyright (providing access)

Language and culture (many of the books are written by authors in different contexts and there is a need for books targeted for doing theology and ministry in the context of the readers). It is interesting to see the recent and vigorous discussion about whether the time is ripe for a new series of Biblical commentaries and theology books written by Asian theologians and for the Asian context.

Here are two more creative ideas that are happening in connection with books:

Malaysia
Roving pastor and chairman of the Malaysian Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS), Isaac Yim, says in his travels, “I am experimenting with some simple approaches at the grass root level in remote places. [These include]:

* Providing 10 basic books for pastors in the language they can read and at the level of their understanding.

* Setting up theological libraries in remote areas, like the Baptist Bible College in Kathmandu, Nepal or some places in China. I have a project to raise funds to buy books for them in these two places—English books and Chinese books. I have friends who donate good used books to theological schools. English books are more readily available than any other languages.

Australia
Rod Benson is a pastor, teacher and Director of the Centre for Christian Ethics at Morling College, Sydney, Australia.


* Rod runs a book ministry called ‘Living Libraries’.


* He has many good books suited to undergraduate/graduate seminary studies and some funds to pay freight costs in sending them overseas. Most books donated to ‘Living Libraries’ come from retiring pastors or pastors moving from house to a retirement village.


* ‘Living Libraries’ is a vital ministry. Many students in Bible and Theological Colleges around the world have little or no access to even basic textbooks.


* The idea of ‘Living Libraries’ is simple: collect suitable books (new and used) from people, churches and other agencies and send them to people who need them.


* Where possible, they also seek to provide other assistance to colleges, such as subscriptions to periodicals.


* So far ‘Living Libraries’ has sent over 8,000 books to 14 locations in nine countries! More information is available from this link.

Thank you for these ideas. Are there any other creative schemes you are willing to share about ‘the parchments and the scrolls’?

Dr Geoff Pound