This is the summer of the book boxes at the Duduit household.
As I shared with you in a previous issue, this summer our family is moving to Anderson, S.C., where I assume duties as the founding dean of a new graduate school of ministry at Anderson University. (Not to worry, though-I’ll still continue as Executive Editor of Preaching, so you won’t miss any of these inane columns at the end of each issue.)
There’s just one problem: moving requires moving! Specifically, it involves hour after hour spent boxing books to carry from one house to the next. At least in our new house I’ll be able to put most of them in the same room; in our current home there are shelves scattered all over the house (though my wife did draw the line at the master bath).
For purposes of taking our money, the moving company estimates that we have approximately 10,000 pounds of books to move. Of course, I reminded my wife that not all of those are mine-she has a shelf of her own books, and both boys have a bookshelf in their rooms, which cuts about 90 pounds from my total. Oh, well…
So the process of boxing books is now underway as these words are written, which is an interesting time in and of itself since each book has its own story. It’s a bit like packing family photo albums-before you just stuff it in the box, you feel compelled to glance at that picture of the babies and the family reunion and that photo of Uncle Ralph stuck in the tree.
So it is with books. Behind my desk at home, for example, are hundreds of books on preaching that I’ve accumulated over the past two decades. (I’m a sucker for used book stores, as if you couldn’t have guessed that already.) As I take each book from the shelf, I can’t help but notice it and wonder about it.
For example, here’s a book by Arthur S. Hoyt called Vital Elements of Preaching, published in 1914. So what are those vital elements anyway? (Looking at the contents page, it appears that “The Called Man” and “The Open Door” are the first two.) And who was Hoyt? (Apparently he was Professor of Homiletics and Sociology-there’s a combo for you-at Auburn Theological Seminary and presented these lectures at the University of Chicago, which tells me that-at least in 1914-the University of Chicago still had some interest in preaching.) And when did I get this book anyway? (Looks like it was at a used book store for a dollar. No wonder I don’t remember this one!)
Do you see what I mean? Every book has a story, and I’ve got thousands of them to pack! (Which tells me I should have started this process in 2003…)
And as you read these words, there’s a new challenge: unpacking them and putting them on shelves. So if you have some time to spare this summer and would like to visit beautiful Anderson, S.C., give me a call-there’s bound to be a story or two you haven’t heard yet!