Books, Theology and Life: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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24 Responses

  1. CM says:


    I can certainly appreciate your love of academic books. I still have most of my engineering texts, technical journals, etc. Unfortunately space constraints prevent me from having them on shelves and they remain in storage.

  2. Dan from Georgia says:

    CM and Duane,

    Me too. I still have most of my college texts (meteorology and mathematics), and I also have quite a number of book on other subjects. I have to thin out my collection periodically. The older I get, the harder it is to move my book around in the house and from place to place.

    Yeah, I know….digital books. But hey, I love having physical copies of my books.

  3. Duane Arnold says:

    “It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.”
    (C.S. Lewis in Introduction to Athanasius’ “On the Incarnation)

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Dan and CM

    One might also note that the digital versions of reference works very often are simply more difficult to use, especially when comparing them or using them in conjunction with other reference works…

  5. CM says:


    Unless of course you have multiple digital versions and multiple flat-screen monitors.


    My boss has 8 flat screen monitors in his home and work office. I merely have 3.

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    Tried it using my paltry two screens… too difficult. 😩

  7. Michael says:

    Digital books have been a huge blessing in my life…the portability and price have enabled me to read more than I ever could have with hard copies.
    I care not how people read…just that they read.

  8. Dan from Georgia says:

    Dragging my feat going all digital with my music collection….

    I just downloaded the Kindle app for my iPad…college book bag was hard on my back, but it did build up my trapezius muscles in my upper back quite a bit.

    Eventually I may transition to all-digital…saves on space and back pain now that I am in my 50s.

  9. Dan from Georgia says:


    That is a complaint I see on Amazon frequently…formatting of digital version of print books.

  10. Duane Arnold says:

    I do both digital and audio books in addition to hard copies. In many digital versions of reference works, the formatting is often difficult, especially if dealing with a critical apparatus or extensive footnotes. I’m not doctrinaire about this as I think people adapt to the books they use as tools…

  11. CM says:

    Dan from GA,

    Speaking of music and its storage media, I thought this was funny:

  12. Michael says:

    As someone who attempted to write a book and failed, I connect with those who have successfully wrestled the beast to the ground.
    I especially appreciate bibliographies and footnotes that tell us the amount of time and work and pain that went into making it so.
    You can trace the pain and passion for a topic through such records…

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    In the pre-Word Processor days, the bibliography was on 3×5 cards… 475 of them that were first alphabetized and then typed for the book…

  14. Michael says:


    That sort of work means that someone lived in their subject for years…and the end result is a synopsis of what they learned in the living.
    That can’t be replaced by Google…

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    Long ago I was told that the purpose of education was that one learned how to be educated.
    That also can’t be replaced by a Google search…

  16. Dan from Georgia says:

    That’s a great clip CM. Funny how a few kids started out with the cassette player by tapping it with their finger. I HONESTLY think my wife still has one of those in storage. Odd still is that you can still find them like at Best Buy, for only about $30-40.

  17. Duane Arnold says:


    Relating to the above…

    “We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”

    Chris Hedges

  18. Michael says:

    Amen…I’ll be reading more of him…

  19. Shawn says:

      “Yet, because of the Incarnation, speaking of God has taken on flesh.  Theology is not a theory. Owing to the Incarnation, we are all theologians.  We are theologians in that each of us serve as singular focal points of the mystery of God’s grace in the world.  As a theologian you speak with your life as much as with your words, and that life is capable of revealing the vast and unfathomable beauty of God’s grace, both in the extraordinary and the mundane.” As Irenaeus wrote:

    “For the glory of God is a living man (vivens homo); but the life of man comes from the vision of God. . . the revelation of the Father which comes through the Word gives life to those who see God.”

    There is so much to unpack, moreover contemplate, in this paragraph. I drawn to various parts for various reasons. One reason is that, especially when I was involved with CC, there was a disdain even belittling of theological pursuit. I think the fear was we all would become “stale lifeless” Calvin’s brainiacs.

    Another reason is because one only has to look at culture, even the Christian subculture, there is a gravitation towards the extraordinary. Deep inside we are being towards the “do great things” ideology that anything trite or mundane is considered meaningless. But here’s a thought, “What if God is found, not in extravagant showmanship (though He is completely capable), but rather in the ordinary, even mundane things of life.” I suspect this is true more often than not.

    In my CC Bible College education we were taught about the church fathers but never encouraged to actually read them. I always found this odd but it was hard to find time to do anything but the “works of the ministry.” Spiritual development and enrichment was something that you traded for sleep. I have always wanted to read the Church fathers but I would like to start with someone who has a digestible amount of material that one could read and finish in a short amount of time. For example, I have tried reading City of God several times or wanted to read more of Augustine’s writings because everyone in every tradition refers to him. But I feel like a lone rower lost in a vast endless sea trying make my way to the shore with only a single broken oar. Do you have any suggestions on where I can start? Unfortunately, it must have an English translation. I think I would like to read someone obscure, possibly even misunderstood (probably a self-projection so I feel as I am fellowshipping with a peer).

    If any come to your mind. Once again I would like something readily digestible, maybe 50 pages or so if possible, to whet my appetite. Eventually, I would love to progress to the more voluminous writers like Augustine. I relish any suggestions you may have. – Shawn

  20. Shawn says:

    In rereading my comment I apologize for several typos and what seem like incomplete sentences. This happens when my blood sugars are high and as I am pressed for time.

  21. Duane Arnold says:


    Thanks for your comment. I would suggest starting with the Apostolic Fathers, specifically Ignatius of Antioch and Clement of Rome. For Augustine, try his Confessions in a modern translation. I think you will find it very approachable…

  22. CM says:


    Confessions is a good start (I concur with Duane). When you are ready to tackle City of God, I would recommend brushing up on your 4th and 5th century Roman history (especially dealing with the various Barbarian Invasions and the Sack of Rome in 410) to see the geopolitical and historical backdrop to City of God.

    What is interesting the responses to the Sack of Rome from Jerome (of Latin Vulgate fame) and Augustine are quite different.

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    Jerome was always attracted to the upper classes of Roman society and, to some extent, shared their world view…

  24. CM says:


    That makes sense.

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