In our world of the 40 second attention span and the word minimalism of twitter messages, slogans have regained their popularity. As few words as possible and one is in business. The designers of the multi-purpose bags we all carry are having a field day. Barnes and Noble does get a prize for some of the words on their bags.
This morning, I needed a bag and the first one my hand reached bore a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “I cannot live without books.” How true, I thought, at least of my life. Where would I be without a book? My favorite aunt always said, “I never leave home without reading material.” Tucked in her bag was a paperback or a small magazine, and she was never bored.
I know I have amused classes by telling them that with an unabridged dictionary and the Bible I could live happily on a desert island. (The logistics of getting one of those into my lifeboat do not enter into this proposition!) Let me explain.
The dictionary would serve for linguistic research and to verify floating bits of history. I never go to that volume without reading more than the entry I started out to check. Thanks to a wonderful friend, I have one beside my favorite reading chair at home, and I use it faithfully. It is so much more fun than checking things electronically.
And for the Bible? I would take it basically because it contains the plots of almost every novel imagined and for its fascinating depictions of human nature at its best and worst. Reliving the world of Ruth at the end of the Iron Age or the first century world of Jesus and of Paul is not only thought-provoking. It also urges one to reconsider the implications of how different people saw God and their neighbors. That would surely give one more to think about than the isolation of one’s geography.
I have yet to open the Bible and not see something that had previously eluded me. It is the library of God’s people and it is forever new. If and when the rescue ship would reach my island, my two books would be well-worn and I would be so much more knowledgeable than I currently am. Want to join me?