Jubilee authors, best-selling books and that fulfillment of prophecy: Bob Goff's door

I have been pretty sick for a few days and wanted to do this in two parts but I just couldn't do it earlier.  Sorry it is now so long.  Consider it two for the price of one. I've posted it as a monthly "review column" since those are generally longer than a blog.  I hope you read it all, not only because I tell of Jubilee---which means so much to us---but because I explain great books all along the way.  I think I'm on to something with this, and hope you agree.   If your a new reader (maybe somebody we met at the conference, welcome aboard.)

PERHAPS IT WAS THE DOOR

Perhaps it was the door that symbolized for me the power of Jubilee 2011.  Storytelling evangelist of holy whimsy and God-generated goodness--trusting Jesus and loving others with creative initiative--Bob Goff metaphorically, and literally, ripped the door off of a hell-hole of a small prison where 74 African children languished in jail for want of trials.  Since he volunteered to train lawyers and then became a judge in the Ugandan court system, he got fair trails for these children who had been jammed in this awful prison room for over three years.  73 were found innocent and delivered to their homes and the prison shut down.  He had the door there on stage.  It sent shivers up my spine when he explained what it was---the actual door! It dawned on me that the Jubilee text of Luke 4 itself promises liberation from dark prisons; this was a partially fulfillment of that exact promise! I simply couldn't hold back the tears.  What does seeing something like this do to a young adult, sitting in a room, being similarly moved to think of doing great things with their own lives?   Oh, if you weren't, I wish you coulda been there.

Bob-Goff-950x425.jpgGoff briefly told of how his playful style got him the opportunity to gather some parliamentary leaders together and, well, got them to vote to ratify the United Nation's law against child trafficking.  He told a story some horrific abuse by some cruel witch doctors who had mutilated a child, leaving him for dead.  Goff prosecuted the bad guys, and announced that they will get a ruling "this Wednesday."  He had a picture of the kid, with his attorney, Bob Goff.  This, the first case applying an international treaty that he single-handedly got ratified.   Man, I wish you coulda been there.

OR THE MATH MAJORS


Or perhaps it was the pack of math majors who were crowded around the book table, astonished to be doing serious theology as they considered the books a speaker cited, books like Mathematics in a Postmodern Age: A Christian Perspective (Eerdmans; $35.00) or Mathematics and Religion: Our Language of Sign and Symbol by Javier Leach, a Spanish Jesuit writing in the Templeton Science & Religion series (Templeton; $19.95.)  The Jubilee workshop leader, Anthony Tongen, came up through the ranks of CCO, attended Jubilee as an undergrad, heard me do my book talks about integrating faith and scholarship and was thus 9780062024473_0_Cover.jpgencouraged to see his planned career as a teacher as a holy calling.  He now teaches as a prestigious university and will be a published author, as a book he has contributed to will be released later this year. Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith edited by Russell Howell and James Bradley (HarperOne; $19.99 ) will take its place along others in that series like Literature Through the Eyes of Faith, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, Sociology Through the Eyes of Faith, Biology...., Psychology..., History..., Business, and others.  All are quite good and knowing this Pennsylvania college kid has grown up to contribute to the rather arcane topic of religion and math, in this solid series published by HarperOne, and does this cheerfully at a secular university, well, it sort of sums up the vision of the Jubilee mission.

Another iconic moment for us was getting cheered as I stumbled on to the huge stage, under stadium lighting, and seeing out of the corner of my eye the jumbotrons showing off the books I was celebrating.  If you click on the link to the pictures (at bottom) you'll see one of me on the big stage and the screen behind me.  I was telling about Richard Mouw's tremendous little study of new creation called When The Kings Come Marching In: Isaiah and the New Jerusalem (Eerdmans; $14.00)  We always promote a book or two about the Bible at Jubilee since Biblical literacy is a key to personal growth and subsequent social transformation.  This year I also gave a shout out to Why the Bible Matters: Rediscovering Its Significance in an Age of Suspicion by Mike Erre (Harvest House; $13.99), which I thought would be perfect to get smart young guys and gals aware of the Big Picture of the Story, in a way that would resonate. You may recall me reviewing it earlier this year. And of course we pushed the easy-to-read, brief overview The True Story of the Whole World: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Drama by Michael Goheen and Craig Barthlomew (Faith Alive; $12.99.)  They had a heavy duty Bible scholar doing a workshop on Scripture, too, although his important book isn't due for a few months.  We'll have it for sure.  Check out Old Testament Wisdom Literature: A Theological Introduction Ryan O'Dowd & Craig Bartholomew (IVP; $30.00.)

I don't mean to brag, but we are often applauded when we're out doing our book tables and I get to do up-front book announcements and blurbs; whether it is a retreat of Philadelphia area Episcopal priests or local UCC clergy or a conference on faithful politics in DC, it is gratifying that folks allow us to announce and describe books that might be helpful on their journey.  We are grateful.  Jubilee, though, takes this to the level of an extreme sport: there are slides and book covers shown in the program guide, gaggles of authors, and me under the spotlight with the timer ticking.  (No, they don 't give me free reign with the clock.  Not even the keynote speakers get that!)  But it is deeply moving for us to know that a younger generation of vibrant Christians want to think hard about stuff, are will to buy Christian books, are learning the art of serious discernment as they grow into wise and active leaders who can be salt and light and leaven and hope for a world gone awry.

Although we may have been the most prominent display area---30 some tables, 70 some book categories (maybe you saw our cheat-sheet set up guide poster that somebody photographed and leaked on facebook and twitter)---the other booths were also indicative of the ways in which the Jubilee event draws students to think theologically (seminaries as diverse as Denver Seminary, Pittsburgh Theological and RTS are there) and to serve wholistically.  Agencies like Blood:Water Mission and Mission Year stand along side booths helping students grapple with issues such as abortion, welfare reform, racial justice, creation care and the like. There are opportunities for students to work at summer church camps.  CCO invites students to their stellar summer programs such as their two week kayaking trip for seniors, called Crossings, an adventure/ service project trip to Peru, and the one we have played some part in, Ocean City Beach Project where leaders learn to integrate personal spiritual formation, develop a Christian worldview, explore the call to Christian scholarship, learn to lead Bible studies and gain experience at relational evangelism in a shared living experience at the shore.  (Do check out these links as CCO is searching for students to apply for these opportunities, regardless of where they are enrolled.)  Just strolling through these Jubilee booths, catching their flashy graphics, the cool video loops, the compelling brochures, well, it just thrills us to know of what God is doing in the world and how Jubilee networks so many innovative and fruitful organizations, from think-tanks like Center for Public Justice to savvy, mission sending agencies like World Harvest Mission.  

And wonderfully, our friend Walt Mueller (who himself had sat at Jubilee as a young one some 30 years ago), did a keynote speech, and then invited students to commit to adopting a child through Compassion International.  The call to do so was honest and sincere (Walt has walked through some of the worst slums in the whole world), not pushy or manipulative.  I think over 165 students (or groups of students) signed up to invest in the lives of a third world child.  I know that some events that are twice the size yield considerably lower results.  Thanks be to God.

(Walt by the way, has a brand new book out---so brand new that I watched him open the box there at the convention center that had been sent that very day .  How cool!  It didn't sell well among the collegians because it is called 99 Thoughts for Parents of Teenagers (Group; $5.99.) I suggested they buy it for their parents, but, well, you know...  Maybe you know somebody who'd want pretty serious theology and sound insight packaged as quick and easy as it comes.  Walt is a serious scholar of youth ministry (his Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture: Bridging Teen Worldviews and Christian Truth (IVP; $18.00) is a must-read in this field!)  His CPYU is highly regarded in all corners of the church.  He wasn't so sure he should follow the proposal the publisher gave him for these quickie little sayings because he doesn't want to give the impression that this is silly or simple stuff.  I think it worked out, and we are happy to have it, even if it didn't sell at Jubilee.  Ha.)

WHY DIDN'T SOMEBODY TELL US THIS BEFORE?

Perhaps one of the other moments that took our breath away---in joy and, I'll admit, and with a touch of frustration---was to hear what a speaker doing a workshop on Christian insight for the technological world and how engineering students might think more faithfully about their vocations reported.  He said that several excited students (all engineering majors, natch) exclaimed, "Why hasn't anyone ever told us this before?"  Told us what?  I'm not exactly sure, but the workshop leader surely had two major points: all of life is being redeemed by Christ so every legitimate career is a holy calling; one can be an engineer for God's sake.  And, then, it follows that if one wants to be a Christian engineer one must think about the ways in which that field is construed, taught, and understood, and seek God's wisdom for the norms and principles inherent in his world that hold for good design; this should be our pride and joy, giving God glory by doing good (engineering) work.

41GDt0psUnL._SL500_AA300_.jpgAerospace scholar and workshop leader Ryan O'Dowd was pleased to see a batch of books on engineering in our display, not just those that properly critique the idol of technologism (say, Neil Postman's Technology, or Jacque Ellul's The Technological Society, or Langdon Winner's The Whale and the Reactor) but those that point in a redemptive direction.  Civil engineer, humanist Samuel Florman wrote the very nice The Civilized Engineer (St. Martins; $17.99) and the wonderful Existential Pleasures of Engineering (St. Martins; $15.99) and the Calvin College Center for Christian Scholarship years ago did a significant inter-disciplinary study of norms for design called Responsible Technology edited by Stephen Monsma (Eerdmans; $26.00)--a must-read in the field.  We stock the serious Christian reflections by Dutch professor of engineering Egbert Schuurman although most U.S. students haven't seemed to catch a vision for thinking this philosophically about the underpinnings of their practical majors. Former Jubilee speaker Jack Swearengen has a thick, important book Beyond Paradise: Technology and the Kingdom of God (Wipf & Stock; $35.00.)  Do you know any engineers who read this kind of stuff?  Has your pastor ever suggested they do so?  Probably not. In those students lament---why hasn't anybody ever told us this before?---you hear the whole raison d' etre of the Jubilee and the CCO's call to whole-life discipleship in God's good but fallen world. Why don't Christian bookstores carry this stuff?  Why don't many Christian colleges, even, not use these sorts of texts?  Why don't church-going engineering professionals seek them out?

It is why each year the conference attracts earnest young students but also eager adult leaders, pastors wanting to brush up on the real role of the laity, and those eager to understand how best to minister to young adults who naturally are in the vanguard of this kind of interest. Not a few church leaders, elders and pastors show up, wanting to learn how to navigate this world that---most likely---their seminary training or elder training didn't even touch. (Scroll pack to last month's column to see what one local church is doing to advance this conversation.) The word is getting out: God cares about your work and you have a duty to think about what you do for a living.  

Here is another example of this too rare kind of conversation: Mel McGowan is an award
51kOssKEepL._SL500_AA300_.jpg winning designer whose high-end firm, the Visioneering Studio, has done everything from ball stadiums to innovative church design.  His blog has done some serious re-thinking about notions of sacred space and the way aesthetics matters for the common good.  His book--whose title is a play on the title of a world-famous design book--is called Design Like God Gives a Damn: Revolutionizing Sacred Space. (PlainJo; $15.00.)  Well, think what you may of the catchy title, you have to admit it is true.  God cares.  It matters.  This book is visually stunning, sort of a portfolio of his architectural work and altogether interesting.  To hear Mel, check out the Q Society Room DVD entitled Where You Live Matters: Developing a Vision for Your City (Zondervan; $29.99) where he, with some other new urbanists, talk about place, architecture and renewal of our built environment.  Again, students who are studying this stuff at the university level were just dazzled to hear evangelical Christians speaking about ideas and insights that related to their field of study with passion and excellence and care.  You should get one of these DVDs and pass it on to somebody you know whose on your local zoning board or housing council or township offices.  What a witness that would be, faithful insight applied to the details of place. 

I wish you coulda been there to see all the empty cardboard boxes being recycled at the end.  We sure did sell a good amount of books.

Many of the keynote speakers had major releases. Q Ideas founder, Gabe Lyon's Next Christians: The Good News About the End Of Christian America (Doubleday; $19.99) is nearly quintessential as a Jubilee book about young adults rising up to be known as restorers; his opening talk was just fabulous, interesting, helpful, clear.  Lisa Sharon Harper's Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican...or Democrat (New Press; $24.95) has a title that is also perfect for Jubilee.  Jubilee promotes thinking beyond the standard assumptions and rejects ideologies that are rooted in assumptions that are inconsistent with the teachings of Scripture.  She just rocked the house telling stories of her NY Faith & Justice organizing, and later used her drama background in a performance during worship.  Wow.  (She is working on a couple of other book projects, too so keep an eye on this woman!)

mca1.pngSoong-Cha Rah is a incredible communicator and a scholar of racial and ethnic diversity that is clearly on par with his older colleagues Philip Jenkins, Lamin Sanneh, or Andrew Wells.  The Next Evangelicalism (IVP; $15.00) carries a powerful subtitle which he explicated in a quick-paced and punchy Saturday morning lecture, "Freeing the Church From Western Cultural Captivity."  This project is important for at least two reasons, it seems to me: firstly, if we truly want to understand the Bible on its own terms we ought to try to question our own cultural assumptions that we bring to the text; that is, a multi-cultural or different interpretation may help us correct blind spots and unhelpful biases. Secondly, the world, including the West, is increasingly multi-cultural so we might as well prepare now for the future that is nearly upon us.   Rah's more recent book, Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Moody Press; $14.99) has been used by CCO for their staff training to further resource them in offering leadership in our obviously increasingly diverse college settings.  Serious stuff.  We are thrilled to sell books like this, so glad to meet brother Rah and hear his important presentation, and be reminded, again, of how this conference has always promoted God's vision of racial reconciliation and multi-ethnic ministry. I hope your congregation is responding to God's call to this aspect of our witness, but is preparing for the "many colored" future that is soon upon us.  His books would be useful places to start if you want to move forward on this.

One of my favorite main stage speakers was James Emory White. (Check out his website,
9780830833122.jpg Church&Culture.)  He brought home--with the always workable story of Esther--the call to be agents of change, to be used by God, to live into the destiny that God may have, "in a time such as this."  He was a forceful communicator, really compelling, no-nonsense and very, very interesting.  Whether it was reporting from a recent trip to Egypt (and his insights about revolutions) or his teaching from his great book on change agents in history called Serious Times: Making Your Life Matter in an Urgent Day (IVP; $15.00), he brought remarkable challenge and upbeat inspiration for those wanting to make a difference.  I have not finished but can fully recommend his latest, Christ Among the Dragons: Finding Our Way Through Cultural Challenges (IVP; $17.00) which is exactly the careful sort of study we need that is insightful but not dry, critical but not negative, culturally-engaged but Biblically orthodox.  And I was sincere when I told him back stage, and announced to the crowd in my book plug, that sometimes I have pulled out A Mind for God (IVP; $13.00) and re-read a few chapters that hold up the significance of reading, just to remind me of why we got into this book-selling business in the first place.  I love that little book!  If you read my reviews with any regularity (or attend Jubilee) then I hope you would to!  Give it a try!

Not all of my readers are used to what used to be called in some circles "altar calls" and I'm sure some have been turned off by manipulative and pushy preachers insisting that listeners come forward to get born again.  Of course the abuses are commonplace in the popular imagination, but when the invitation to consider the claims of Christ, to repent of one's own sin, to accept the grace offered by a justifying God who offers grace, and to do that in the context of a world-changing call to seek justice and be restorers of the common good, well, it brings tears to my eyes.  White is a good preacher and I pray his final call bears fruit for the Kingdom.  Ahhh, I wish you coulda been there.  Guys like this make me happy to remain a card-carrying evangelical.

Sunday morning featured two more main stage authors.  I've already mentioned Goff.  Many of you know him from the "Meeting Bob" chapter in Donald Miller's Million Miles in a Thousand Days memoir (which, by the way, just released in paperback this week, now selling for $14.95) or have seen his presentation from last year's 2010 Jubilee which is able to be watched at jubilee tv.  We have just a few of his book Finding Karishma: Modern-Day Slavery and the New Abolition Movement (Pascoe Publishing; $17.95.)  The back cover notes that Bob has a passion for "unconventional, entrepreneurial activities."  Oh yeah, I'd say so.  In Finding... he chronicles not only the founding of his organization Restore International, but tells of the risky effort of busting a brothel in India, how a young kidnapped and enslaved girl named Karishma didn't get set free (when the complicit police tipped off the brothel owners) and how they subsequently traipsed through every village in that part of India trying to find her.  The story is eye-opening and riveting---how many guys who write religious books have been bloodied when hit with rocks by third world pimps?--- audacious and full of great hope that a small group of people can make a big difference.  The way Goff wove together the goofy stories and joyful shenanigans was great fun---like the time he told us about when he had a Minister of Justice from an African nation visit him, took the dignitary to Disneyland and tricked him into thinking he had to wear the Mickey Mouse cap with mouse ears all day "because it was his first time there" (he had a slide of the dignified chap in Mickey ears to prove it!)  But then he starts talking about global justice and the reforms his team has  made in Ugandan justice systems and the schools he's started----(think of the scene in Million Miles when Goff invites Miller to plant a ceremonial tree, there)--- and how he uses his legal training for important things, well, its almost a perfect kind of talk.

And then there was the brilliance of Bush-era White House speech writer, now WashPo columnist and PBS pundit, Michael Gerson, offering what was perhaps the most brilliant speech of the weekend, a thorough-going challenge to excellence and Biblical faithfulness and cultural engagement.  This guy knows his political theory, is informed by Kuyper and the neo-Calvinist worldview stuff that so animates the founders of the conference, and has served, well, in one of the most important spots on the planet.  Can anybody say Daniel?  You may know Mr. Gerson's  important books Heroic Conservatism: Why Republicans Need to Embrace America's Ideals (HarperOne; $15.95) (by which he means, among other things, a decent sort of populism, rejecting the crass ideologies of neo-conservativism, and deepening a concern for the poor) and the recent (co-authored) City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era (Moody; $19.99) with a helpful forward by Timothy Keller.  I don't know if these students quite realized that they were taking in the rare opportunity of listening to a speech by someone who has help draft some of the most significant speeches of our lifetime, but it was pretty great.  No matter what your political or theological leanings, Sunday morning was extraordinary.  And I haven't even mentioned the important liturgical aspects of the gathered assembly, or the amazing worship led by the Bi-Frost Worship Arts team and Pittsburgh's own Josh Moyer and friends.  Joy Ike & Peace Ike even joined on stage!  I really truly wish you could have been there.

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NOT JUST THE MAIN STAGE STARS

Yet, the books that sold the absolute best at Jubilee 2011 were not main stage keynoters, they were guys that spoke to smaller crowds in packed side rooms, with students spilling out into the hallways.  This is fascinating to me and Beth and we were glad that each of these speakers were friends; it is embarrassing to run out of books, and we ran out of three.

Eric Metaxas did a workshop on using his apologetic books Everything You Always Wanted to Know about God (Waterbrook; $18.99) and Everything Else You Always Wanted to Know About God (Waterbrook; $14.99), and a third, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God: Jesus Edition (Regal; $19.99) which are witty and smart and balanced and helpful and serious, mostly.  What else would you expect from a guy who organizes philosophy and current affairs lectures in Manhattan (under the name Socrates in the City) and also has been a writer for Veggie Tales?  He's a good writer and care about important things.  For several years now we have promoted his Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery (Harper; $13.95) which is a fabulous companion biography to the movie about William Wilberforce and his campaign to end slavery in England.  If you haven't read it, it is a great read, putting you into the campaign like no other book.

9781595551382.jpgBut Metaxas' Bohoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Nelson; $29.95) took a prize, for sure.  I'm not sure what kind of a prize, but it it a bit fat book, selling for nearly $30 and we sold a good, hefty, batch of them.  Not as many as some other books, say, but for the size and price, the commitment to reading and further study, the number of pages they were actually buying---and the excitement among older and younger students as they heard him speak---was remarkable. He served folks well as he visited and signed books, likable and humble and astute. I knew we were right when we named it an H&M Book of the Year.

I have not reviewed here adequately a book that we were very impressed with this past year, and I am so glad the author did a Jubilee workshop.  In fact, I did a very careful read of it before publication and was asked to contribute a blurb---most of the other endorsers were famed neuroscientists or medical scholars or big-wig theologians.  I guess they needed the "everyman" voice of a small town guy like me.  Well, I was happy to offer a rave review because I truly believed in this book.  If you've been in the store anytime this fall you probably saw it: Anatomy of themedia_httpfilestyndal_fIfjo.gif.scaled500.gif Soul: Surprising Connections between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships.  This great resource is penned by Curt Thompson, M.D. (SaltRiver; $14.99.)  Thompson is a psychiatrist and Christian leader in the DC area.  He and his family have been faithful at an inter-racial, urban church and we have known of his work for years; he attended Jubilee decades ago in fact!  That this book came out---drawing on his distinctively Christian perspective on brain studies, psychiatry, and how that can help us in ordinary living--has been a God-send to many.  That students flocked to his workshop and gave it huge thumbs up is telling.

Curt himself suggested that neurology is hot right now.  Faith and science question loom large.  And the trend to be interested in spirituality is deepening.  To think about formation in light of how God wired the brain to work, and to apply that to ordinary stuff like relationships and growth, maturity and Christ-likeness is a useful combo.  For whatever reason, this was a hugely popular workshop, a much-discussed book, and we have gotten more in stock.  Whether you are seriously interested in psychology, counseling, brain studies and helping others or if you are an ordinary person just needing some new insights about solving your own life issues, Anatomy of the Soul could be helpful, and will surely be an interesting, absorbing read.   It sure was a big hit in Pittsburgh!

Response-Jeff-Overstreet-33-300x200.jpgAnother workshop leader at Jubilee whose books were a bit hit was Jeffrey Overstreet.  He did a workshop on film criticism and his book Through a Screen Darkly: Looking Closer at Beauty, Truth and Evil in Movies (Regal; $17.99) nearly sold out.  It's a good one, too, and we've enjoyed recommending it.  He will be at the IAM Encounter 2011 arts event in NYC next week so we ordered more of his book right away!

 Also popular was his workshop on why reading stories is good, how fiction works, especially the epic sort of fantasy that he writes.  Students who like well written fantasy novels snatched up Aurialia's Colors, Ravens Ladder and Cyndere's Midnight (Waterbrook; $13.99 each.) We even took a few pre-orders for the forthcoming next one in the series, The Ale Boy's Feast which officially releases in early April.  Most people that read the first are hooked and are eager to learn how the epic plot unfolds...

What an upbeat and kind guy he was, too.  It is good to connect to authors, to hear about their writing and hopes and artistic vision and, of course, to be reminded of this natural connection between writer and bookseller and reader. Thanks to Jeffrey for his good work, kind spirit, the encouragement he offered to young readers and aspiring writers, and for befriending this stressed out bookseller amidst the craziness of such a large gathering.

Kent Annan of Haiti Partners was very moving as he walked students through his two books, one that came out3617.jpg a year ago (just before the horrific earthquake in Haiti) Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle: Living Fully, Loving Dangerously (IVP; $16.00) and the brand new one---honest, raw, powerful, poetic, courageous---After Shock: Searching for Honest Faith When Your World is Shaken (IVP; $15.00.)  Those that met him and his Haitian friend were very, very moved; honored.  What a good man.

The few CCO staff whose job it is to curate and orchestra and execute this huge gig deserve more credit than most can ever realize.  I get to see some of the behind the scenes stuff---I'm nosy, for starters, but our large role there necessitates interfacing with sound guys and schedule keepers and stage hands, not to mention most of the key speakers.  I can't tell you how complicated it all is and how these few manage it.  We're tickled to be a part of it year after year, selling books about this same theme: God cares about all of life, Christ's redemption is broad in scope, and we need to think faithfully as we serve the culture God has placed us in, making a difference in big and little ways.  Students, especially, get to think about this as they ponder their life's callings in the university classroom.

MELLEBY SAYS "MAKE COLLEGE COUNT"

This is why we did a special shout out and celebration for the brand new Derek Melleby
make-college-count-a-faithful-guide-to-life-and-learning.jpg book---inspired in no small part by the Jubilee conference itself---Make College Count: A Faithful Guide to Life + Learning (Baker; $12.99.)  Derek did a workshop for first year students, and in a side-bar event nearby, for nearly 150 high school seniors.  This little book is a pre-Jubilee primer, the best resource of its kind to get high school kids thinking about these great questions that will frame their college years.  You'll hear be promote it as the graduation gift-giving season approaches this spring.  In a way, I'm sure this year's Jubilee felt like a real celebration for Melleby and his closest friends and family.  He mentions Jubilee in his book, so it was fun to do a quick hat tip.   Yay.

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Not every great conference has great authors.  But it is our experience that the buzz of the book display, the fame of the authors, the quality of conversation around speakers who are passionate and writers who who care enough about a topic to write a whole book on it creates, most often, a vibrant and robust setting for serious transformation, for big ideas, for on-going commitments to read and learn and grow.  A cynic might say that it is obvious why we think this, as it is all about the money for us.  (Yes, at least one blog--written by a person who does not know us at all--suggested as much.)

Think what you will, but we know in our hearts that it is our great joy to watch folks buy good books, to anticipate the growth and learning that will take place, and to hunger for God's glory to be known as His people do good works.  From engineering to the arts, from political theory to fighting slavery, from writing fantasy to thinking about math, from reforming our food habits to reforming our engagement of popular entertainment, there is much good to be learned. There is much to be done.  Jubilee is about God's claim in Christ over all of life and Christ's gospel of grace so transforming college students that they, empowered by the Spirit, involves themselves in local congregations and attempt to transform the world.  I wish you coulda been there.

See lots of great pictures of Jubilee 2011 here. Thanks to Andrew Rush.

As we unpacked the rented truck in the snow when we got home Monday night, a friend and local customer offered to help.  It was a great blessing.  Now I'm sick, we've got boxes everywhere, and we are off to two other smaller events before regrouping and heading to IAM Encounter in NYC next week.  Pray for us if you can.  Thanks for caring.

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