Day two at Montreat, and I made a trip to the bookstore after my run. I can never get out of there without spending some money (I am what my mother would call “book poor”), and today was no exception. Some of you have asked what I am reading this week. I brought a box of books from my study, and today I purchased the following:

The Stewardship Companion, by David N. Mosser
Accompany Them with Singing: The Christian Funeral, by Thomas G. Long
Karl Barth: Theologian of Christian Witness, by Joseph L. Mangina
Theology Today: Reflections on the Bible and Contemporary Life, by Patrick D. Miller
Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work, by Eugene H. Peterson
Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent, by Pamela C. Hawkins
While We Wait: Living the Questions of Advent, by Mary Lou Redding

Later this week I plan to go to Asheville and visit the best bookstore in the world (in my opinion anyway), Malaprops, where I hope to buy some good fiction.

This immersion in the world of books causes me some pause, since I have heard the recent rumblings that books will soon go the way of eight-track cassettes, vinyl LP’s, and VCR’s. I know the many ways that an electronic reader like the Kindle will make book reading easier. I know that if I had one of them, I would not have had to haul my bag of books up the hill to sit in the rocker and read to the sound of the stream. I also know Kim expects one for Christmas, and will probably think everything that follows is pure bunk.

I know all that. And it may just be that I’m sentimental or quickly becoming irrelevant, but I like the weight of the book in my hand, and the texture of the paper, and the joy of turning one page after another. I like underlining and dog earring. I like holding my place with a finger while I hunt down a passage. Mostly, though, I like the materiality of the printed page. In a world that is fast becoming digitized, where everything can be reduced to zeros and ones, the book stands as a needed retreat; a corporeal, bulky, heavy reminder that not everything can be reduced to bits on a screen.

Like a flowing stream, a rocking chair, and the experience of the printed word.


7 thoughts on “Books

  1. yet again, I'm reminded why you are my favorite pastor…just don't tell my other pastor friends:) You are also a favorite friend, obviously…thank you for your words…I read this post and the other just now…seems I'm living in a rather "thick" moment right now and long to experience the "thin" moments/places soon…hopefully that will happen soon! My love to you all!

  2. Ah,Malaprops. Love it. Nothing like that in Asheville when I grew up there.While you are in the city head west on patton (I think they call it smokey mtn hwy now) ave to the BBQ Inn. It's right around where patton and haywood rd meet. Ate there the 1st time in 62. We always stop there when we head to Montreat.Malaprops and BBQ Inn. New Asheville and old Asheville all in one day.Randall

  3. No Kindles or whatever that other one is for me either! I've played with one a friend here has. Give me a book. I know–I've already got boxes of them in storage and keep stacks that must be read. Still, there is something about the smell and feel of a book!I've got the Long funeral book on the way. Now you've given me another whole list to look at.Enjoy.

  4. After lugging a few pounds of books to Japan and back last week, I appreciate the Kindle concept. But when it comes to sitting by my fireplace with a glass of wine, give me a book…I don't care how much it weighs.

  5. There is nothing better than the smell and feel of a book – especially a hardcover. The excitement of turning the pages – reading and wondering what is next… A Kindle could never capture that feeling. Plus, some of my most treasured books are signed – how does an author sign an ebook?? I know, I'm old fashioned…

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