Honest Review: The Bible Archive

I have a confession to make: I don't regularly read The Bible Archive. So when my friend Rey asked for an honest review of it a few weeks ago, I put it off.

I'm a paradox and an enigma even to myself sometimes. I'm an intellectual who has read more comic books than novels. I can get into novels, then suddenly lose interest in reading for over a year before I get inspired again. I hide and wonder why no one sees me. I was an alter boy and attended both a Catholic high school and university, but attended public school prior to that. I consider myself a religious man, yet do not read the bible outside of the selected readings each week at mass. I am a Catholic, and unfortunately am not unique in my behavior. Ironically, though I led this review with a confession, I haven't been to an actual confession since I was a kid, when my sins were far more innocent than the things I've done since. I admit all of these things so that my review will have the appropriate weight, so readers may know who I am.

The readings at a Catholic mass are determined by the calendar. After a while, it becomes a routine, and you know which passages you're going to hear when. Other sects have a more academic approach, including Plymouth Brethren like Rey. Throw numbers at me, and I'm unable to quote scripture. Perhaps that's why some TBA articles seem like homework to me. Rey is very good at citing and linking to the passages relevant to each of his articles. He probably knows many by heart and constantly studies to find the connections that lie within. The Bible Archive is a continual exercise in learning, and as he figures things out his path is illuminated for his readers as well.

Once Rey started his personal blog, my reading of his original one declined. I was more interested in his family life, or opinions on the geeky television shows and movies we both enjoy. Occasionally, he'll link to articles on his other site and even cross post them, which is an excellent way to attract readers like myself who might be intimidated by the Archive's academic nature and nomenclature. There are posts that relate more clearly to current events and modern family living. The Halloween post was excellent, as was the one on autism and television. Sometimes Rey might call attention to a common concern for any Christian, regardless of differing practices and beliefs, and calling attention to one atheist's shocking view was important as well.

Visually, the Bible Archive is very clean and organized. The heading is bold and prominent, and while the image of the glasses on the open book could be stuffy, the vibrant use of red adds the right amount of punch. I did have a little trouble with the navigation, as I couldn't find links to posts archived chronologically by month. However, the search function more than makes up for that and I located the specific post on atheism referenced in the previous paragraph within seconds. The point size of the articles is significantly larger than that of the sidebar, at least in Firefox running in Mac OS X 10.1.5. The articles aren't too wide, and are easy to read. I like that his comments offer e-mail notification to readers. Potentially, if someone responds to one of my comments, it opens up a dialogue. There are only so many things a person can figure out by himself, and religion can be as complex as technology, law, medicine, or physics. It’s good to get people talking.

Finally, Rey asked how I would classify it, as a “must-read”, an “occasional read”, or an “avoid.” I definitely wouldn't avoid it. Keeping in mind the sort of person I described myself as earlier, I would classify it an occasional read. I think of it as a resource that's always there, like an encyclopedia or a dictionary. The knowledge within such tomes is valuable, but I'm not hardcore enough to read any of them cover to cover. Sometimes I wish I was, especially in matters of faith. If you are the sort of person who memorizes scripture, or studies with that kind of passion, then definitely bump my rating up to “must-read”. The hard work and effort put into the site shows, and it's a good one to bookmark.


Blogger Kev said...

Nice review MCF.

I too pop over there occasionally. Usually when I see a link to an interesting article there.

11/14/2006 1:59 AM  
Blogger Rey said...

Thanks MCF for the extremely honest review. Extremely helpful and bringing me one step closer to what I want to start doing.

11/14/2006 10:20 AM  
Blogger Scott Roche said...

Consider ot bookmarked.

11/14/2006 12:59 PM  
Blogger b13 said...

NIcely done. I have perused "The Bible Archive" on occassion as well.

Carlin said it best: I was a Roman Catholic until I reached the age of reason.

I have always trusted in the belief but not in the organization. And I will continue to read Rey's opinions and observations. ;)

11/14/2006 2:08 PM  
Anonymous theGreek said...

Mediocre review. I log onto TBA constantly.

Paul, a friend, said it best: "Without Rome, there is no Empire."

One can never avoid organized religion. If you do, you are not religious.

11/14/2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Whose idea was it to do an honest review? I like it. It's a review that pulls no punches, even with friends.

11/14/2006 4:11 PM  
Anonymous theGreek said...

Insect screens are intended to provide reasonable insect control and are not intended to provide security or for the retention of persons or objects from the interior. In case anyone was wondering

11/14/2006 7:52 PM  
Blogger MCF said...

That last comment is neither cryptic nor terrifying. What if one wants to keep out a tornado?

Janet, Rey asked for an "honest review" in those exact words, and thegreek it's mediocre but keep in mind the disclaimer about who I am. I'm glad there are other Students out there who do read it constantly though, and hopefully I've kicked a few more over there.

11/14/2006 11:44 PM  

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