for users who have the most current version BW10, but for people like me - who still get by with one of the previous versions - good luck. I'm tempted to upgrade while I still can, but it's hard to know whether it's worth it - when the future is so uncertain.
I was an early adopter of BibleWorks back in the 90's. And I used the same old version for years, until I got ready to start Seminary. That's when I purchased BibleWorks 8 - and I love it. Maybe I'm part of the problem - because I'm content with the tools that I have - and can rarely be tempted to upgrade anything unless something breaks. But I'll be sad to see them go.
I don't think it's just me though. As I see it, there is a bigger problem responsible for the demise of BibleWorks, one that ties in with our Seminaries, and our Churches too. Nearly the entire ecclesiological infrastructure here in the United States, is built on our faith in the power and natural wisdom of our nation's economic system. We run and promote our churches like businesses. All of our institutions are economic legal entities. We structure and run them like busineses. We promote them like products. We are utterly bound to the success or failure of this economy - its fickle consumers, and our ability to thrive by marketing ourselves as a product.
After the recession seminaries took a big hit economically - as people reconsidered the kind of education they wanted to go into massive amounts of debt for. Many long term professors were let go so that younger (and cheaper,) professors could be brought in. Many extension campuses were closed as visions of expansion were scaled back. Some seminaries are even going entirely virtual.
Now BibleWorks is shutting down operations, I assume for economic reasons. Church attendance is down too, if we are to believe reports about the "nones". Some, like mine own congregation, wonder how much longer we can continue to keep the doors open. And yet, while Seminaries may close, ministers need to be trained. While people can still study the Bible, we still benefit greatly from tools like BibleWorks, and while Church's may have to close their doors, believers still need somewhere to worship.
Never before have we had so desperate a need for a new way of existing as the church. I think we've have put too much faith in our economic system, the power of advertising, and the wisdom of our business strategies. So much in fact, that it seems like we barely know what church is without them. Instead of building relationships and communities around faith in Jesus, we have become increasingly transactional in our mode of operation, and detatched from one another. We tweak the music, we tweak the name, we engage broadly in service projects, but not deeply in people's lives. We engage in vigorous self promotion - but we fail to appeal because we are trying to sell something the world doesn't want. And we are trying to compete with others who are willing to offer the same services - without Jesus. And if our churches are struggling - the collapse of our seminaries, and missionary societies, and every business financially dependent on the church will follow.
It reminds me of Jesus' parable of the house built on the sand.
The church is a family after all, not a business or a product. You can't market it, marketing is antithetical to its mission. All this stuff seemed to be working very well, but that was when churchgoing was the respectable social norm. That era is over - and we have become the victims of market forces.
It makes me angry, that something as fickle as the economy could have such a huge effect on the operations of the church. We need to look elsewhere for our inspiration. That is the primary purpose of this blog. Sure I post write a lot of posts about Sci-Fi and Pop Science, but my hope is that those posts, which generate a lot more traffic btw, will open the door to greater engagement with the main concern of this blog. The New Reformation that might be possible in the new digitally connected world.
I think we can learn from open collaborative modes of organization like the kind we see in the emergent forces of nature, and in the communities that develop free and open source software. These models, far more than our business management structures, reflect the creative and life supporting models established by God. Maybe this is not a time of tribulation, but a necessary disruption that will trigger the reorganization of a more vital way of being the Church in the future. It will all depend on our ability to adapt - to hold on to what is vital and let go of what is dragging us down.