Brave New World – Open Source

World Council of Churches World Mission Conference, Arusha, March 2018 – first systematic study of its Call to Discipleship now published as Mission Rediscovered: Transforming Disciples

Book launch season for me continued with the online launch of my new book Mission Rediscovered: Transforming Disciples on Wednesday 2 December 2020. The online format made it possible for the event to be highly international, probably much more than we could have imagined in a conventional arrangement. It was convened by Karen Georgia Thompson from Cleveland, Ohio, in the USA and brought in contributions from Richard Nnyombi in Uganda, Heike Boisin in Germany and Adi Mariana Waqa in Fiji, as well as a word from the co-publisher Obiora Ike in Switzerland. I was relieved that my sometimes shaky internet connection behaved nicely here in Zomba and I could play my part. 

The launch remains accessible for anyone who would like to dip in at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvW16OPskk8

Even more remarkable, at least to me, is the fact that the book itself is available to download free at https://www.globethics.net/co-publications-other/-/asset_publisher/0p0d0P9mti5U/content/mission-rediscovered-transforming-disciples

The publishing arrangement is that it is a co-publication of World Council of Churches Publications and Globethics. The WCC version is a traditional book, selling on Amazon for £12. Globethics, however, is an open source publisher, making books available free of charge on a digital basis. Both very exciting and slightly scary!

What I am most enjoying about it is that, through the download, I can make the book available to friends in Malawi and elsewhere who might usually find it difficult to access a book published in Europe. At the same time, I am conscious of the “digital divide” – downloading large files is no problem for those in Europe with strong bandwidth but often presents challenges for those in contexts like mine where bandwidth is weaker and the internet relatively costly to access. Let’s hope the brave new world of open source can be made equally open to all.

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