I spent much of my time today updating that menu item I call Links to Resources. That includes:
I find these links handy for my personal use. For some reason, I keep these links better organized than my browser favorites.
The pages I think most important are the Christian Resources and the Citizen Library pages. The links on the others tend to be well advertised without my help. On the other hand, too many Americans think of the Bible and history books as boring. Unfortunately, we have been taught to think that way, and the result has been disastrous.
- Unless we make the effort to study the Bible, we will never know how to properly protect ourselves from Satan’s predations.
- Unless we make the effort to properly study history, we will never know how to protect ourselves from the predations of would-be tyrants.
Christian Resources provides resources for Bible study. When we think of the Bible, we think of a mysterious, hard-to-read book that we have gotten by without reading for years. If we have gotten by without reading for years, why do we need to read it now? Beside we have been told what is in it. So why do we need to read it?
What we don’t take seriously is what the Bible says about itself. The Bible is the Word of God, and God has commanded us to study His Word.
The Bible is thousands of years old. Because it is a fascinating work that contains invaluable wisdom, scholars have copied it with painstaking care for generations. Today we have dozens of translations, and that’s just in English. Some are literal, and some use the modern vernacular to convey the meaning. Moreover, generations of scholars have written brilliant commentaries designed to help us understand the Bible. Therefore, if we choose not study the Bible and learn what it says about God, how we will ever know what we are missing? We will not, and we will have no excuse.
The focus at Citizen Library is on primary source documentation. Most people would refer to these books as classics. However, that just means the popularity of these works has survived the test of time. What is more relevant is what these writers had to say about the period of history in which they lived. To understand the why of the present, we must know what happened in the past.
Either because the language is formal or because we don’t understand the historical context, some of the documents in Citizen Library can be little bit difficult to read. Usually, however, we can overcome such difficulties with a dictionary or a helpful commentary (both easily found on the Internet).
What is the best way to read the Bible and those documents we call classical literature? I have found audio books helpful. Instead of listening to music or the radio, I listen to books.
I live in Prince William County (but other library systems in Virginia provide similar opportunities). So here is a link to the Prince William County Library. Check out the eAudiobooks and eBooks. Note also that each branch of the Prince William County Library has audio CDROMs. Those we cannot download, however. Nonetheless, most us drive near a library on the way home from work. Therefore, when we find an interesting CDROM in our local library’s Electronic Catalog, we can request it online and then pick it up when they drop it off at our favorite library branch.
Virginia’s public libraries sometimes provide additional options to find a good book. If we work in a county different from the one where we live, we may be able to get a second library card in the county where we work. I got one, for example, in Fairfax County, and they have a bigger selection of CDROMs.
Generally, because they are created by professionals, and we have already paid for the library, I suggest getting audio books from the public library. However, if there is something we want to read, cannot find at the library, and it is in the public domain; there is another “free” alternative. Librivox.org allows its patrons to download audio book. Since these audio books are read by volunteers, the quality can be a little uneven, but I have enjoyed them.
The list below is from Citizen Library. Of course, there are many more such works. So I am not suggesting that anyone pick their reading exclusively from my list. Each of us knows our needs and wants better than I do. Shop around.
Since it has been years since I listened to some of these books, it may take a little effort to find a copy. That’s why the links below only provide descriptions. To find an audio book, I suggest checking the library and then checking Librivox.org.
- 1900 BC – The Epic of Gilgamesh
- 760 BC – 710 BC – The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer
- 384 BC-322 BC – Politics: A Treatise on Government by Aristotle
- 350 BC – Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
- 380 BC – The Republic by Plato
- 29 BC -19 BC – Aeneid by Virgil
- 1689 – Two Treatises of Government, by John Locke
- 1759 – The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith
- 1776 – The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
- 1774-1779 – The American Crisis, by Thomas Paine
- 1776 – Common Sense, by Thomas Paine
- 1787 – 1788 – The Federalist Papers or here at Project Gutenberg
- 1787 – 1788 – The Anti-Federalist Papers at LibriVox
- 1831-1832 – Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville
- 1858 – Lincoln – Douglas Debates
Modern authors that I have enjoyed include C. S. Lewis and James Michener. Currently, I am listening to A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman. It’s excellent!
One thing that is good about downloading an MP3 file to a player is that it stays as long as you want it. So if want to listen twice, you don’t have to download it again.
Note that I have included a bunch of older classics. Each has also survived thousands of years because they contain something of great value.
The past also furnishes the context for the present. I think The Epic of Gilgamesh illustrates the fatalism of ancients, and The Iliad and The Odyssey demonstrates their savagery. And so forth. Thus, these documents demonstrate both the wisdom and the values of our ancestors prior to Christianity.
Until we consider how far our forebears carried us, we don’t appreciate what they did for us by becoming Christians. Because we lack that understanding, we have put politicians in charge of our schools. Considering that no one trusts politicians we should be amazed that we would even consider putting politicians in charge of our children. Because it’s a free education? Because it’s free we let politicians choose our children’s teachers and design their curriculum? Perhaps that’s why we do it. Yet if we fully understood the importance of instilling Christian values in our children, we would never consider having our children spend most of their waking hours in schools designed to be devoid of God.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
I wish I knew what I now know when I was young, but George and Laura Bush are right about one thing.
There’re no do-overs,” Laura Bush said.
Mr. Bush concurred: “There’s no do-overs.”