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Friday, July 13, 2007
  How come our people don't read the Bible any more?
Mark Brown (Bible Society in NZ) is posting in parts a "talk" he gave, to "a Christian Leadership Conference on the topic of Bible in the church today" in part one he points out the shocking statistics on Bible reading among Kiwi (and even worse[!] US Christians).
The Bible Society undertook some research that displayed only 21% of the more than 2,000 church attending participants read their Bible daily. Twenty one percent. Twenty two percent stated they read it at least weekly with the remaining 57% which absolutely should blow you away. I hope it does, because this is a crisis. The remaining 57% saying they either read the Bible occasionally or hardly ever – 22%. Now similar studies recently conducted in the U.S. stated that only 12%. In this study in the U.S. which is quite large, 12% said they read the Bible regularly. Twelve percent! This is an issued that faces the Western Church and I’ve had the opportunity of doing a little travelling, chatting to colleagues in other western Countries, in the U.S., U.K and even Australia. And this is the problem they face. This is an epidemic.
Mark also candidly shares his personal experience, in which the central problem was "that through my theology training the Bible had moved from my heart to my head." This is a huge problem (at least for a theological educator!) though one I will hope to return to in a later post. For now, I just want to note now what happened when we discussed Mark's question in our local church elders meeting a while back.

The oldest elder began the conversation: "Why don't people in our church read the Bible like they used to?" After acknowledging the issue, we swiftly moved to the usual "answers", push SU Notes etc.. Then we recognised that many (but not all) people don't actually READ. They can all read, we have nearly if not 100% functional literacy, but people use that literacy to scan newspapers, webpages or magazines, they do not read books. We also recognised that many of these "non-readers" (as well as many young "readers") can be seen jogging and on buses with their ear buds feeding them music... The result PodBible, audio Bible for the iPod generation!

Incidentally, PodBible has been "down" for a week, but is working again now, so if you know someone who tried and failed, please explain it was circumstances with our hosting company, involving high usage, and a catch 22 that compounded a Murphy situation (which I probably won't explain more for fear of bursting into exhausted tears ;-)

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