Steve Turner, David Dark and hitting a bear

Sorry I haven’t had time to post anything this week–I feel obligated to keep readers posted on new books or Hearts & Minds adventures. I am taking a spiritual gifts class at my church and while “name-dropping” isn’t named in the Pauline lists, I’d like to think of it as one of my gifts. I am only partially tongue in cheek—-I know how it annoys and irritates many friends. Still, I don’t mean to brag about authors we’ve met or places we’ve been (Oh The Places You’ll Go says Dr. Seuss) but I like to tell of those people. So it isn’t really about me, but about what they have to offer.
To wit: tonightÕs lecture by Steve Turner was brilliant; clear, basic, reasonable and very important as he made the case for people of faith to be well-represented in the popular arts, entertainment, journalism and media. (I hinted in a previous post that this conference was coming up at Messiah College–hat tip to Jeff Rioux for pulling it off.) Turner is a rock critic and has written very reliable biographies of Marvin Gaye, Jack Kerouac, Van Morrison and, most recently, the highly-regarded, very interesting, authorized biography of the late, great Johnny Cash (The Man Called Cash.) He is also a poet and children’s author—he spent time out our favorite Swiss study center, L’Abrai, in the early 70’s where his vocation of writing and being involved in rock criticism was confirmed and affirmed. Essentially, he lectured around the themes found in Imagine A Vision for Christian in the Arts (InterVarsity Press) which is a delightful, readable and, for some readers not school in faith-based cultural engagement, very innovative work. We highly recommend him. And so enjoyed being with him again…he said nice things about our 10 tables of books; I wished our regular customers and BookNotes readers could have been there. It reminds us why we do what we do and why these kinds of venues and conversations are helpful and urgent.
Also met the altogether charming, funny and younger-than-I-expected David Dark–last month I published an excerpt of his excellent and provocative meditation, The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea. His stunningly interesting, insightful and wise Everyday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons and Other Pop Culture Icons (Brazos Press) will be the basis for his contribution tomorrow. His talented and very groovy folksinger wife, Sarah Mason (yes we stock all her excellent CD’s) blew us away. What a voice and what a good songwriter! Other songwriters and preforming artists were equally excellent (I was frustrated that I was out selling books and missed most of the concerts, but folks were very glad about it all. Tomorrow night is Jeff Tweedy of Wilco fame.) More on that later, I’m sure.
I’m packing and boxing books (nearly 4:00 Borger time; AD, I keep reminding myself) for the next two big gigs we are heading to right after the pop culture conference. So I’m exhausted and yet…
A van we are borrowing to take our portable bookstore to the next event was being driven across the turnpike by my often-anonymous yet omnipresent good and faithful friend. He hit a bear (or the bear hit him) right on the turnpike, out by Breezewood, and, well, is still shaking. Van ruined, police astounded, driver okay. Those that know him will know that he will buy the tape of Turner’s talk. If you hit a bear–heck, if you saw a bear tonight, let me know. I’ll buy you a tape of the talk, too.
Otherwise, buy Imagine and Everyday Apocalypse. Support these new friends, join their conversation, and keep your eyes wide open. You will be richly rewarded as you learn how to see what God sees–as Bono puts it in one very tender U2 song– in ordinary life, contemporary
art and modern expressions of the human drive to tell stories and create beauty.