I told him we shouldn't go. What could I possibly need from a bookstore when my home is already in danger of being featured on an episode of Hoarders: Book Barrage? But it was Black Friday and we had driven 150 miles to shop in the big city and this bookstore is one of our favorite stops and don't I just want to look? So we went—just to look—and I found a nice book for my mother-in-law for Christmas and one for me that fairly jumped off the shelf into my hands. I carried around and reshelved no less than ten others—arguing with myself about the merits of each before we sorrowfully parted ways. My husband had to wrangle me out of the place before I started a read aloud of all my favorite Christmas classics in the children’s section.
It can't be helped. I fall in love with books much the same way I fell in love with puppies as a girl: that long, lingering look...a hand run lightly down the spine...and if I pick the thing up? It’s over. Yes—for me—a book can bring as much joy as an arm full of furry, wiggling, tail-wagging love. And the book won't lick me in the face.
I'm wondering—is it the same for you? Do you find that same sort of wild, giddy freedom in books? Here at The High Calling we try to highlight books that will encourage you to see the work you do as an offering to God. It’s important to us to encourage you that God cares about your work. One way we like to do this is by introducing books that make you think about your faith—books that encourage you to grow in your relationship with God as well as grow personally. After all, as writer Henri Nouwen says, the true vocation of every Christian is to speak from the place in you where God dwells. Tim Keller offers this: …our work can be a calling only if it is reimagined as a mission of service to something beyond merely our own interests…”
Books can help us to reimagine our work as calling. Inside those bindings are new worlds—worlds of knowledge and skill, worlds of mystery and imagination. To enter into a story—whether it be fact or fiction—is to accept the good gift of imagination that God has so generously bestowed. And in doing so, accepting the deeper invitation to join Him in that noble act of creating.
It is our most sincere desire that through the books we highlight here you will be inspired, renewed, and caught up in the bigger vision that your work is a part of. With this in mind, we are excited to announce that during the month of January we will be discussing Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior. Prior is a Professor of English at Liberty University and a contributing writer for Christianity Today. You may be familiar with her popular blog Her.meneutics. Booked is Prior’s personal story of how literature helped shape her life and lead her to truth. In the first chapter Prior says this about the powerful role books have played in her faith journey:
…I thought my love of books was taking me away from God, but as it turns out, books were the backwoods path back to God, bramble-filled and broken, yes, but full of truth and wonder.
We hope you’ll join us on Monday mornings in January as we welcome the New Year by lingering over Professor Prior’s words together. You may link up with a post of your own or jump in the conversation in the comments. We will cover the first three chapters on Monday, January 7. Hope to see you there!