Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Writing the Bible by Hand

This morning, on NPR, I heard a news story about a bus that's travelling around the country. When it comes to your town, you can hand write a verse of the Bible. Do you get to choose the verse? And more importantly, why are we doing this? The story didn't say.

So, since NPR said that Zondervan is sponsoring the bus, I went to the website. No mention of the bus there. Hmm.

Could this just be a giant publicity stunt? Is there some theory behind it?

I'm intrigued. I think back to my study of Composition theory in graduate school. I know that a hundred years ago, if I had students who wanted to learn to write, I wouldn't have them focus on their own writing. No, I'd sit them down and have them copy out works by great masters.

Or is this experiment more like having people memorize the Bible? Is the idea that once I write a verse in my own hand, it becomes more my own?

When I was in school, I did discover that I learned more and retained more, when I took notes. Often, during a test, I could visualize my notebook, and remember taking notes on the book or the lecture, and get to the right answer through that process.

Or is this experiment more like medieval monks, creating an illuminated manuscript? I've always been intrigued by that process. I write a weekly meditation on the Gospel, and I wonder if I would enrich the process by creating a work of art to go along with that? I miss some of the artistic sides of myself that seem to have gone dormant.

Perhaps this experiment is designed to make us appreciate modern technology (word processing, the internal combustion engine). Or maybe it came into being to help us all feel more linked to each other?

I'd like to know more, but if the news story gave all the answers, I wouldn't have written this post. And chances are good, I'd be disappointed with the official reasons Zondervan would give for creating this project.

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