Some initial thoughts

Having started a blog the question is always what do I write? There’s a lot going on at the moment, and as this blog is intended to address matters of library relevance, education, and theology this first piece will be a bit of a pastiche.
One of WEST’s ex-students jokingly (I hope) requested that the twitter account, WEST_library would not be about boring books. The question is, are books boring? Is the new world of e-information much more interesting and effective – after all I am writing this for an on-line medium, the blog. I would venture that the real picture is much more complex and exciting, a world where traditional print media combine with audio-visual, and digital sources. A simple illustration from six years ago serves. As an academic librarian I access JISC e-mail lists. One of these mentioned web casts from a US university on digital information, publishing and librarianship. Following up the link I obtained access to several hours of free, high quality lectures and other material on the subject. One speaker recommended the book ‘Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become’ by Peter Morville which I bought and read (I’ve just bought it again having lost my first copy). This in turn led me to a variety of Web pages. The point is we now draw from a range of information sources, so whilst we should not be fixed on the concept of finding a book on the subject, neither should we dismiss books as boring – you never know where they will lead!
I was saddened to hear of the Church of Scotland’s decision in Assembly to permit the appointment of practising gay ministers, although the primary issue isn’t their sexuality or lifestyle choice, but where the authority for our actions as the body of Christ comes from. When scriptural principle is abandoned for cultural acceptability (often as the argument appears to run accompanied by theological reverse engineering through selective, decontextualized, citing of scriptural passages to support the desired position). The proponents of these changes point to sections of scripture (usually in the OT) that conservative Christians no longer see as binding. However, this reflects a profound theological ignorance both of the function of those commands within the OT covenant community, the nature of the new covenant community (the Church), and those things which abide. If ever there was a need for penitent prayer amongst the people of God in the West this is surely such a time.
Finally a sad but also glorious piece of news, Graham Harrison who for many years has been a stalwart of Godly, accessible and helpful theological writing, as well as a faithful pastor has been called home to the Lord. Our prayers must be with those left behind, but I cannot help but remember Paul’s words…”to depart and be with the Lord, which is far better.”


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