A Fragile StoneThe last of the family-gathering-gift exchanges wrapped up today, though we’ve still got a few more social engagements before the season is through. Santa Claus (in the guise of my wife) brought me a few treasures, as usual. My wife sorted through my Christmas list, which as usual consisted mainly of CDs, DVDs, and books. She then ignored most of my more eclectic selections (which is fine, eclectic sometimes means ‘harder to come by’) and headed down to a local Christian bookstore, where she inquired about CDs by Michael Card only to be told, “Oh, we wouldn’t carry something like that here.” She found one anyway and bought me A Fragile Stone, about the life of Peter. I like MC’s music, it makes me think. Sometimes I worship by thinking. Maybe I have a bone to pick with this particular bookstore – a couple weeks before Christmas I went there with my daughter to scope out some of the books on my list this year… I’d seen Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz there a couple of months ago. I hunted and finally found it in the “sale” section; while looking around, I overheard someone asking for books by Brian McLaren. The answer was “No,” so I didn’t bother to ask. I guess this store doesn’t tend to focus on the needs of people like me makes me feel a bit more marginal – but in a good way. If I ever feel the dire need for a mint with a scripture verse on it I know I can head right on down there. (Note, if I’m ever out of ‘toids, I’d rather have coffee-breath.)

A New Kind of ChristianToday was Boxing Day, so after picking up a $20 DVD player at the electronics store Boxing Day Sale, I headed down to my favorite secular bookstore. I browsed nearby while my daugher leafed through a book of the Christmas story with text on the left side and photographs of each scene done in Lego on the right (kinda cool actually, though the scene with Mary giving birth is a little disconcerting to the adult mind). Now, I’ve always found the ‘religion’ section of secular bookstores to be filled mostly with new age claptrap or liberal hooey alongside a few plain-jane copies of the King James Bible. This time I found Adrian Plass and a number of others I’d actually read, plus several copies of each of three titles by Brian McLaren and a few by Leonard Sweet.

Blue Like JazzI picked up each of the volumes by McLaren, leafing through them briefly. I was particularly interrested in A New Kind of Christian since Robbymac told me it was “sort of a ‘everyone should at least read this one’ kind of book” and that’s a pretty decent recommendation. While holding the book in my right hand, it began to tremble. Now this is something that I’ve experienced in the past as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, but I haven’t had that in quite a while now. I decided this was probably caused by a pinched nerve or sore muscle, but since I didn’t get it for Christmas, I bought the book anyway.

The book I did get for Christmas was Don Miller’s Blue Like Jazz, which also became high on my list after having it recommended to me three times in one week in three separate but unrelated conversations. A few chapters in I haven’t quite gotten it but I think I’m starting to.

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