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A couple of Sundays ago, my husband, son, and I enacted a mini-drama from a script that has likely played out in every churchgoing family in America. Never mind that we live in Kodiak, Alaska, thousands of miles from the rest of the country. Electronics, we know, are borderless.

During the sermon, with our heads intently bent over our study Bibles, my husband and I glanced down the pew to see our teenage son leaning over his cell phone. Texting during the sermon? My husband, later claiming self-defense, drew his own cell from his holster and began furiously sending texts to the other end of the pew. Teenage son didn't respond, which drew more urgent messages. No response again. By now we were steaming toward a march around the center pews to snatch the offensive item from the perpetrator's hands. Thankfully, "we'll get him later" prevailed.

By now you've already guessed the ending of this vignette. The response to our accusations: wide eyes and sly protestations of innocence before whipping out the cell phone—with the Bible fully downloaded on it. Ah, the snarky pleasure on his face.

It's true: I'm a dying breed. I've been lugging around this doorstop version of the Scriptures partly for its inconvenience. It reminds me of its import and my commitment to the words I so laboriously carry. But since this event, I've downloaded the Bible on my iPhone, and, like millions of others, have begun to use it, which has caused me to wonder: Are we Christians still people of the book? And if we're becoming instead people of the Nook, does it matter?

The moment the new icon appeared on my screen, I scrolled to Habakkuk and read it from start to finish. I chose that particular book for a reason. Just three weeks before, I watched breathlessly ...

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In the Magazine

May 2011

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