Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but, although there are new books in the shop and I”ve got my tote bag loaded with titles I’m trying to read, we were in the big ‘ol state of Texas. And what a wonderful time it was for us! We had the privelege of selling books at the national Christian Legal Society conference where we served lawyers, judges, law professors, idealistic young law students and mediation specialists of all sorts.
With our ample collection of titles on Christian views of jurisprudence and books on Christian lawyering we sat around our book display from 7:30 am until 11:30 pm or later…talking books and all sorts of stuff about justice, faith and fidelity in an increasingly anti-Christian legal environment. What kind of titles? We had tables and tables, packed. For starters, Joseph Allegretti’s wonderful The Lawyer’s Calling: Christian Faith and Legal Practice —written by a Roman Catholic who takes up Niehbur’s “Christ & culture” catagories and calls for “transforming” approaches, or Howard Zehr’s Mennonite book on restorative justice, Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice nicely illustrate some of our basic titles. We of course displayed all kinds of public policy books on civil liberties, church/state stuff and the American constitutional legacy. (And that was just that section of books!)
For a look at a scholarly, faith-based book which is highly esteemed on law, these days, a title that ought to be better known, consider the recent two-volume collection (from Columbia University Press) co-authored by the amazing legal scholar from Emory Law School, John Witte, Jr. (mentored by Harvard Law’s Harold Berman, himself a 20th century genius and man of deep faith.) These are called The Teaching of Modern Christianity on Law, Politics and Human Nature. At $75 a piece, they may best be borrowed from inter-library loan, but please know that we stock them! Go here for a bit of a glimpse. (Please be sure to come back here if you need to order, though.) For a bit less ($30) his brand new, forthcoming one should come soon from Eerdmans entitled God’s Joust: Law and Religion in the Western Tradition and it should be quite good.
So, thanks, CLS, for the good work you do, nurturing networks of attoneys who want to make a difference in their field, learn the ways of God’s Kingdom, also in modern-day legal matters, and who desire to give good witness to Christ’s redemptive ways. From family law to peacemaking mediation, from human rights activism to standing up for God’s ways in public policy, from mentoring young law students (who often find themselves misunderstood and mocked by professors and classmates) to doing relational evangelism among peers in the guild, you encourage and equip, strengthen and support those lawyers who are in strategic positions to accomplish much for Christ. Thanks for letting us sell books, make conversation, and profit a bit by serving this astute organization.
Once again, those who “get” the Hearts & Minds bookstore vision will understand how thrilled we are to be promoting academic books on legal theory and vocational resources on serving God in one’s marketplace calling. Even if you aren’t intersted in these books (although you may know someone who is) I hope your heart is encouraged just a bit that an organization like this exists and that we get to offer our wares to them.
Of course they had dozens of workshops and many seminar leaders recommended specific titles. And we promoted certain stuff we are fond of—ahh, it was fun talking about Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope to this largely Republican crowd, or talking about the worldview behind reformational books like Paul Marshall’s excellent primer on faith and politics, God and the Constitution: Christianity and American Politics or David Koyzis’ serious study Political Visions and Illusions: A Survey and Christian Critique of Contemporary Ideologies (all booksI truly wish I would have sold more of.)
There were excellent keynote speakers there, too, and we were happy to host autograph sessions with some of them. Bill Hull, whose many books on dicipleship and disciplemaking are well worth reading (we now have his Choose the Life DVD’s that have his dynamic teaching for small groups use; they follow the matieral in the book by the same name. Go here to learn about it, and then call us if you think it would be useful for your group.) It was a particular delight to meet novelist Randy Singer (himself a lawyer and cheerleader for the mission and ministry of CLS) and we not only sold his legal thrillers, but his co-authored book on vocational calling and discernment Made To Count: Discovering What to Do With Your Life. Particularly charming and inspiring is his novella The Judge Who Stole Christmas. His newest is the clever The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney which includes the story line of a book the lead character, a kidnapped judge (I won’t say more) writes which, in fact, is a nonfiction apologetic work Singer has actually released, The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ. A book within a book deal, and you can read either, or both. Cool.
For me personally, it was a great blessing to dine with Gary Moon, an author I’ve long admired, who most recently edited a volume on how different religious traditions do “spiritual direction” (Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls: A Guide to Christian Approaches and Practices was co-edited by fellow psychologist, David Benner and published by the scholarly arm of InterVarsity Press.) I love his thoughtful book on spiritual formation, Falling for God: Saying Yes to His Extravagent Proposal (published by Waterbrook.) It is highly recommended not only for being well-written and mature, but how it nicely introduces classic writers (such as Julian of Norwich) with excerpts of a few devotional classics. Thanks, Gary, for your good work, kind heart, and encouragement to us to keep at this bookselling thing.
And for those who care, not only do Beth and I thank CLS, but our ever-faithful behind the scenes servant, heavy-lifter and van driver (who is still out somewhere in Appalachia as I type), Gus C. Perhaps you didn’t see the proverbial face of Jesus in a tortilla down near the border, but you saw the face of Garber in Jay Farrar’s sideman, and that is pretty awesome! May God’s blessings be upon you and yours.