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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The Bible Dweeb-I haven't commented on the "Bible Geek" fiacso as of yet, and want to put my $0.02 in. For the few of you who haven't seen the story yet, Cruciform Chronicles has called himself the Bible Geek for a while, only to get a awkward letter from a LifeTeen (a Catholic youth ministry) lawyer-turns out they have a trademark on Bible Geek. It seems not to be a trivial matter; LifeTeen’s got a lot of books published under the Bible Geek label and from a business level, they have a right to look after their trademark. However, they have rightly gotten fire from across the Christian sector of the Blogosphere for threatening legal action against our modest little blogger. First of all, the LifeTeen people should of sent something less litigious, something like "We applaud your devotion to the word of God, but we have a trademark on Bible Geek; we have a lot of publications and quite a bit of intelectual capital tied up in the name. Might we suggest Scripture Geek or Bible Nerd as an alternative, so that we don't have to share Google space with you when people look for Bible Geek stuff." That would have been less threatening (the letter would leave unstated any legal action LifeTeen might make) than what they sent, and likely gotten a better responce. As is, LifeTeen is now sharing Google space with a lot of outraged Christian bloggers writing about the case. I had heard about their good work with Catholic teens via Amy Welborn and was looking to recomend them to some Catholic pre-teen cousins-in-law who could use a solid Biblical counterballance to the popular culture they are immersed in. After this, I'm not quite as sure. One of the problems with Martin Roth's suggestion (slide down to Saturday 7/19) invoking 1 Corinthians 6 is that there's no good way to handle a dispute between two belivers from different churches. Here's what I mentioned last week
Since most of the believers we do business with aren't in the same church, there would seem to be no good way to effect some sort of Christian Arbitration Bureau that would settle legal disputes between believers. In this litigious society, it would be hard even for two fellow church members to have a third party from church serve as arbiter for a dispute. That says a lot about our society and our churches. I don't know if you could set such a beast up. It would require a lot of churches to commit to have their members to refer cases to them if both parties were believers and have churches require, or at least strongly encourage, people use such non-judicial arbitration before going to the courts if the other party wasn't willing to go along
I don't know what background the proprietor of Cruciform Chronicles is, but I'm assuming it isn't Catholic. That would make some sort of pan-Christian arbitration tricky. Paul's letter sorta assumes that the two parties are in the same local church. For instance, let's assume that Martin and I got into some sort of legal scuffle, where I posted a long excerpt of his stuff that he felt nudged past fair use and deserved compensation. Who would an Australian Baptist and an American Vineyardite(?) choose as a neutral third party? LifeTeen's transgression was to jump into legal mode, when they should have more politely asked for him to move off their intelectual domain. As is, they now have bad press on their hands and are sharing Google space with a bunch of ornery Protestants commenting on the case, making them look like Bible Dweebs.

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