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Giving the Word

Lifestyle/Technology | What should you do with old or damaged Bibles you no longer need?

Issue: "Unify and conquer," June 14, 2008

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.

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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.

Chipped beef

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."

Cell damage?

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.

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