Ebooks are convenient for reading fiction. But when reading, non-fiction with many footnotes and cross-refers via page numbers, my experience is that the ebook as presently designed fails.
I recently ordered a hard copy of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch. I have read this book in an ebook version. I was able to access footnotes in that version. But MacCulloch does a lot of cross-referring by page number in the text. My Kindle book did not have corresponding page numbers so I was unable to check these references.
I am now reading MacCulloch’s Silence: A Christian History. I purchased a hard copy of this book to read. In reading it, I have become aware of the elegant web of MacCulloch’s scholarly thought at he cross-refers in this book not only to itself but to his larger history, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.
When I discovered a used paperback version of his history, I jumped at the chance to purchase it. Yesterday I spent my allotted time for reading MacCulloch going back and forth between the two books, expanding my understanding of his observations and history.
I am seriously considering re-reading the history after finishing MacCulloch’s book on silence. I think MacCulloch has an amazing mind. It is a privilege to come in contact with it via these books and others by him I have read.
I wrestle with the concept of Christianity. MacCulloch has coined a phrase in regards to his own relationship with Christianity saying that he, a man called to the priesthood of the Anglican church as his own father was but rejected because of his candor about his sexuality, is a “friend of Christianity.”
This week, particularly discouraged by the incoherence of theology at my church, I told Eileen that I was more of an “acquaintance of Christianity.”
However, I confessed to my boss yesterday my interest in all this shit, shaking my head and feeling dopey as usual.
My day yesterday was exhausting physically and emotionally. Improvising for three and a half hours of ballet class can be draining, especially when I try to put as much art in my work as possible. In addition to the improvising I worked with the young dancers developing their own choreography for the two tunes I wrote. I showed the B section of the piece I have dubbed “Sweet Talk but with a dark side” to one of the two dancers who are developing a dance for it. I could tell she was moved by my piece, an extraordinary compliment.
Later I sat with my boss (and friend) as she described her anger and bewilderment of the treatment of her life partner by Hope College. Her partner who has recently come out of the closet at work had been told that she would receive tenure when she returned from her present sabbatical. This offer has been summarily withdrawn (this is probably not even legal, much less moral or fair). Plus the people who told her this also apparently made bullying and threatening comments about my boss and Grace church.
Unfortunately both my boss and I can draw a clear line from the theology of the majority of the Dutch Reformed church to these outrages. More reasons to be an “acquaintance” of Christianity even as I spend the quiet of my morning reading MacCulloch and continue to respect and admire my boss the priest.