What should you do with old or damaged Bibles you no longer need? Michigan-based Christian Resources International (CRI) suggests several ways to put them to use. Operation Bare Your Bookshelf allows you to send used Bibles in good condition to people who need them overseas. For $11 you can mail a package weighing up to 4 pounds directly abroad, to someone who has requested a Bible, using an address label and customs form prepared by CRI.
Fred Palmerton, CRI's volunteer director, notes that increased postal rates have made it costlier to send Bibles that way. So it's also possible for people with lots of Bibles and other Christian materials to mail them via cheaper "media mail" to CRI's warehouse. There, volunteers organize and process the materials, making them available to missionaries who come through or sending them by container to partner groups around the world. Palmerton says his organization sent about 500,000 lbs. of Christian books and materials abroad last year.
In Oregon, Jerry Kingery works out of his home, directing the Bible Foundation, a networking organization that promotes Bible drives across the country. His group's website provides information for organizing and running Bible drives. It also lists the addresses of about 30 master collection centers-regional centers (including CRI above) that collect and distribute Bibles to missions organizations.
The Bible Foundation makes it possible for someone to connect with Bible distribution at any level: donating at a Bible drive, organizing a Bible drive, or coordinating a master collection center. His group also connects overseas Christian groups that need Bibles with people able to transport Bibles. "We're always looking for other ways to ship Bibles overseas," Kingery says: His group emphasizes networking but also runs the master collection center for Idaho, Washington, and Oregon that processed 20,000 Bibles last year. Other Bible drives and master collection centers are all independent of the Bible Foundation.
If you have a Bible that you love that is falling apart, you probably want to fix it, not get rid of it. J. Mark Bertrand, author of Rethinking Worldview, understands. "If you've been using a Bible for years, filling it with notes and underlining, it's hard to start over from scratch." His BibleDesignBlog.com contains lots of information about Bible rebinding. Bertrand says some people are doing "preemptive rebinding," replacing the stiff leather cover of a new Bible with calfskin or goatskin: "Today's Bibles, by and large, aren't made to stand up to regular use. Knowing that, you might want to send a new Bible you expect to read often to have it upgraded in advance, so you know it will last."
For more information on donating Bibles contact bareyourbookshelf.com or bf.org.
It's almost dinnertime and the ground beef that was supposed to be thawing for spaghetti is still a lump in the freezer. Sound familiar? A tip from lunchinabox.net will make that scenario history. Put your fresh lump of ground beef in a freezer bag and roll it out so you have a thin slab of ground meat. Then use a chopstick or skewer to divide the bag in thirds each way, pressing down slightly. Freeze it, and next time you need ground beef you can easily break off the required amount. Because it's been rolled thin, the meat will thaw quickly.
Going to the blogs
A Wired.com blog reports that John McCain "has recently started to hold bi-weekly conference calls with left-wing blogs and blogs focusing on single issues, such as the environment and health care." The article cited one reason for the outreach: "He thinks it's crucial to engage with people who are opinion leaders, and more active in politics than average Americans." It also quoted Tracy Russo, John Edwards' former blog outreach co-coordinator: "It's good thinking on the part of McCain's campaign . . . they're not in the tank for the party, and if someone like McCain has a good energy idea they'll blog about it."
A new government study shows that if you belong to a household that has ditched its landlines completely or primarily uses cell phones, you're part of a fast-growing group. Sixteen percent of U.S. families have only cell phones, up from 5 percent in 2004. Cell-only users are likely to be young, lower income, and members of racial minorities. Thirteen percent more used cell phones almost exclusively, although they still had landlines. That group tends to be more affluent. The switch from landlines to cell phones is making it difficult for polling companies, since federal law keeps them from using computerized dialing systems to call cell phones.
In further cell phone news, London's The Independent reported that a new study connects cell phone use by pregnant women with hyperactivity and other behavioral problems among their children. The UCLA study of more than 13,000 Danish children born in the late 1990s asked their mothers about cell phone use during pregnancy. About half the mothers had used them and half had not. According to the study, children of the cell phone--using mothers were 54 percent more likely to have behavioral problems. Although the study controlled for other factors like smoking, psychiatric issues, and income, it did not examine whether cell phone--using moms might have paid less attention to their children.
One positive result from China's massive earthquake: The Communist government apparently loosened restrictions on information flowing over the internet. The Associated Press reported that "a fast-moving network of text messages, instant messages and blogs has been a powerful source of firsthand accounts of the disaster, as well as pleas for help and even passionate criticism of rescue efforts. 'I don't want to use the word transparent, but it's less censored, an almost free flow of discussion,' said Xiao Qiang, a journalism professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the China Internet Project, which monitors and translates Chinese websites."
About 20 million U.S. households (18 percent) don't have access to the internet at home. About 20 percent have never sent an email or looked up a website. About half of those are older than age 65 and slightly more than half had no education beyond high school. Park Associates, which did the research, said in a statement: "Age and economics are important factors, but the heart of the challenge is deeper. Many people just don't see a reason to use computers and do not associate technology with the needs and demands of their daily lives."