So I’m sitting here shaking my head at the over three foot tall poster with brightly colored paper taped on cardboard which I convinced Beth to make, listing, in rather large type, the almost 70 categories of books we have to pack to eventually put in the rented truck, heading West to JUBILEE 2011 next week. I can prop this bad boy up in our basement warehouse, and see what I’m needing to do. Make a big sign. Check. Pray and ponder, study and sweat. Check. Get busy boxing up the titles, selected from stacks laying around everywhere, from garage to cellar, from van to back office. Nope. Can’t get in that zone yet.
okay, so it isn’t this bad..
Soon, though, we’ll be pulling and packing, maybe listening to the new Over the Rhine CD or the recent Indelible Grace Live Hymns album (you really ought to order that from us) or an old fav to get me going, Zwan, the first post-Smashing Pumpkin’s project of Billy Corgan. And Bill Mallonee, perfect for the near despair and “just over the horizon” hope we have prepping for these exhilarating gigs. Music is a must as we’re pulling the books. If I really need to ramp up out of a slump, I break out the Bach.
Few folks really know how much mind-numbing back room works goes on planning and executing these off site traveling bookstores. If you’ve seen us on the road, this Jubilee conference is a lot bigger than anything we do anywhere else. And, getting ready for this one, is more complicated because there is so darn much going on, so many topics and speakers and issues.
Just today I was negotiating the shipment of a very innovative architecture book rethinking notions of “sacred space” (see the stunning website of their award-winning design firm VisioneeringStudios) hoping it arrives in time. And we’re trying to figure if historian John Fea’s forthcoming book that is slated to release from the bindery just next week—Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction (WJK; $30.00)–will be shipped to our site in time. He will be there, and won’t have seen it yet. We will have it before the Westminster/John Knox warehouse, Lord willing, so that will be very fun. We had a very interesting hunt looking for just the right books for a workshop on faith and food; they’ll be drawing on Pollen and Berry and the new localism, framed by serious Christian convictions about home and place; we have so many on that topic, but which are most useful for this gang? I know they will use Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know by Robert Paalberg (Oxford University Press; $16.99.) I think I’ll show ’em the new Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas: Fighting Back in an Age of Industrial Agriculture by Mark Winne (Beacon; $24.95.) If only I can remember who distributes that publisher, nowadays.
And that was the easy part, researching more books, making some calls, thinking about related, relevant titles, and getting publishers do get us the goods.
So, here we go, needing to ask you to pray for us again. We will talk to many of the nearly 2000 participants at this upbeat and zany gathering for college students, and they will have good questions, important book needs, wanting to read the right stuff. Jubilee is loud and big, but it is, in a joyful way that is hard to describe, studious. Students want to consider—some for the first times in their lives—the implications of their religious convictions for college, for career, and for their citizenship in the 21st century.
I mentioned in our last post that Gabe Lyon will be there, talking about the vision behind his last book, The Next Christians (Doubleday; $19.99.) I featured it at the LWCC Summit on work, which I wrote about in the last post, and offered a discount on my last blog post about it, because he writes about the notion of calling, and how folks are thinking in terms of not just employment, but of holy vocations, so it was a great fit for that event. Gabe is right that there are new sorts of faith expressions around the evangelical churches these days, and Jubilee is a part of that story. Jubilee has helped create that story.
Next Christians is mostly about how younger adults are drawn to faith that is principled, active, caring, and creative, faith that enables them to take up careers and vocations where they see themselves as agents of restoration, seeking God’s best for the world. Lyon’s hosts the Q Society Room DVDs that we’ve reviewed before are and these are somewhat indicative of what Jubilee is like. (In fact, that innovative architect and design firm I mentioned? Mel McGowan is on the Q DVD Where You Live Matters and he will be speaking at Jubilee 2011 next week. He is an example of the caliber of the folks who speak there, evoking deeper faith and action from these twenty-somethings, showing how to be a serious Christian and passionate about your calling, career or service. You won’t get the energy or loud music, but those four DVDs and their companion study books really are the sort of thing we’re talking about. Check ’em out with you group!
Not all of the speakers are as hip and splashy as all that, though, and some are doing important work with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. There will be workshops on stopping human trafficking, including one or two by IJM staff; you may know books like Not for Sale or Just Courage or The Good News About Injustice; we’ll have ’em. Few conferences or movements bring together the thoughtfulness of nurturing the Christian mind and topics like work and vocation, all alongside this big passion to help mend the world of some of it’s hurts. Only God builds Christ’s Kingdom, of course, so we lift high the cross. But we do so with intentions to be agents of change, in service to our neighbors.
A keynote speaker, Bob Goff, who plays a significant part as a mentor to Donald Miller in Million Miles in a Thousand Days will be back–do watch his fantastic, funny talk from last year at jubileetv—and has a good chapter in a collection of pieces about stepping out and getting involved in social reformation. It’s called Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice edited by Mike and Danae Yankoski (Zondervan; $16.99) with a foreward by Eugene Peterson. We couldn’t be happier to promote it. Great chapters, handsome, colorful look, excellent authors, very useful. And Bob’s chapter, “Why I Do What I Do” has as much verve and spunk as he does. Good advise from an international activist and all around good guy.
Another speaker or two will talk about writing (Denise Frame Harlan has that amazingly good chapter in Spirit of Food: 34 Writers… that I’ve raved about here; heck, she talks about CCO in that chapter, so it’s great she’s speaking) while another speaks about mathematics from a Christian perspective. (Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith is coming out later in 2011 from HarperOne; somebody out there has to care, eh?)
A fabulously energetic couple from New York will join us—he is an actor, and she a dancer. Jeffrey Overstreet will bring together his passion for visual arts and writing by doing a workshop on his great book about film, Through a Screen Darkly: Looking Closer at Beauty, Truth and Evil at the Movies and another on writing fantasy. You may know his Auralia’s Thread series is considered some of the most nicely written fantasy stuff in quite a while. The first three books are Auralias Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, and Raven’s Ladder. The fourth installment, Ale Boy’s Feast, will be arriving in March. Three cheers. Students who love fantasy and those wanting to learn to write will so enjoy Overstreet. (By the way, it is said that the director of WALL-E, during the last months of him making that great animated film, was reading Jeff’s movie book. How cool is that?
Yes, Jubilee is all about equipping students to be faithful to Christ, living their lives–including their studies and their eventual careers—for the advancement of God’s glory. We hope they learn, are inspired, network with other students, and buy books so that they might be more faithful to Jesus. We hope that church leaders pay attention, and see this broad Kingdom vision, this emphasis on cultural engagement, work, vocation, thinking faithfully, living out discipleship in all zones of life. What would a local congregation look like if this Jubilee vision–the Lordship of Christ making a transforming difference in people’s lives and in all of society—was thoughtfully proclaimed and modeled? How can you nurture in your circles a deeper commitment to the grace of the gospel and the willingness to think about new ways to connect faith and life?
Please look here to see the speakers at Jubilee. If you read it carefully, you see many are authors and we will have their books there. (Or, in the case of the important indie musicians playing their recorded work. Don’t miss the descriptions of Zac Williams and the unique Colonizing the Cosmos, who we love, by the way.) There are nearly 20 authors who have published books, some of them a lot of books, and we are thrilled to cross paths with so many good writers and Godly teachers. Check these out, pray for us as we pack them, and let us hope that they sell. These books in the hands of college-age disciples–those Next Christians–will rock the world. Maybe you should pick up a few so you can be a part of the movement, whether you come to Pittsburgh or not.
mentioned here or in those bios shown at the
Jubilee website link,
we’ll offer you
Or maybe you should just drop everything and head to Jubilee. Stranger things have happened. Be a last-minute show up there, and we’ll give ya some free books at the mammoth book table display. If you can choose, from the over 70 categories. Come on!
If you go, or if you know some college student you can convince to go, they’d hear, among others:
Daniel Sepulveda, a professional athlete, from a little outfit called The Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dr. Curt Thompson, a psychotherapist who wrote a wonderful book on brain studies, Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections Between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships (SaltRiver; $14.99) I’ve been touting this for much of the year. Very, very interesting.
Soong-Cha Rah, author of the new Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Moody; $14.99) A must-read on multi-ethnic ministry.
Charlie Peacock, recording artist, Grammy-winning producer, and mentor through his Nashville Art House. Author of New Way to Be Human (Waterbrook; $12.99.) This is a perfect example of ordinary discipleship stuff with this creative, engaged, real take. Right on. Just a few left!
Andi Ashworth, co-founder of Art House, and author of Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring (Waterbrook; $12.99.) One of our favorite books on the vocation of homemaking.
Walt Mueller, Director of CPYU, and author of, among other good stuff, the seriously brilliant Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture (IVP; $18.00.)
Lisa Sharon Harper, New York activist and author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican or Democrat (New Press; $24.95.) An important voice! With a forward by John Perkins.
Eric Metaxas, most recently, author of the award-winning biography, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. (Thomas Nelson; $29.99.) See my review, here.
James Emory White, author of Christ Among the Dragons, Serious Times, and The Mind of God. (InterVarsity Press; $17.00 $15.00 and $13.00.) A visionary calling folks to thoughtful engaged cultural reformation. I recommend these three, especially.
Kent Annon, just back from his work in Haiti, will launch his brand new book After Shock: Searching for Honest Faith When Your World Is Shaken, the follow up to the excellent Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle: Living Fully, Loving Dangerously (IVP; $16.00 and $15.00.) These will str
etch you for sure.
Did I mention Derek Melleby? There are more speakers, but I have to mention Mr. Melleby. I’ve already announced his very new book Make College Count: A Faithful Guide to Live + Learning (see my description here.) It is published by Baker, selling for just $12.99. It’s a small, handsome, well-designed hardback. In many ways, Derek’s book is at the heart of this whole Jubby shindig. The CCO, the campus ministry organization that sponsors Jubilee, is all about helping students think about their experience in higher education in ways that are fresh, meaningful, and good. That is, they invite students to wonder what God thinks of it all—what is a Christian perspective on college?
This is the extraordinarily important question for college students that Derek and his co-author Donald Opitz raise in their earlier book, The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness: A Guide for Students (Brazos Press; $13.99.) In many ways, that book is “the” Jubilee introduction, helping students this this “outrageous” idea that God cares about their college life and that a Christian worldview can provide insight, direction, meaning and purpose to their classroom work. I dare say if it weren’t for the influence of the Pittsburgh Jubilee Dr. O and Derek never would have thought to write Outrageous Idea. And if they would have, it wouldn’t have been so good. I still say that there is simply no other book for collegiates like it.
And that is important (if I may preach just a bit more.) Many don’t get it. Even some who care a lot for students don’t quite get it. They don’t see that young adults want a vibrant faith, ought to bend their knee to Christ Jesus, and that when they do, they will have an entire new vista of meaning and coherence in their sense of vocation as students. Their renewed minds will necessarily lead them to consider their academic work in a new light (literally, a new Light.) Because Derek studies the transition high school students make as they move off to college, he was convinced there needed to be a resource to give to younger students, inviting them to ask the big questions about the point of college, before they leave for campus. Can their church experiences and faith from their high school youth groups sustain them into being intentional Christian students in their college years? Make College Count: A Faithful Guide is that book, the small, but handsome, short but powerful gift item to give to high school kids, or first year college students. Derek will be at Jubilee, too, doing one good workshop for high school students and their parents, and another for younger college students.
I am sincere when I say Derek’s work at Jubilee is really as important as any. Yes, they have scientists, PhD’s in economics, internationally known preachers and several professional artists, playwrights and novelists. They have a former White House speech writer, and a State Department staffer who has, well, she has traveled extensively into countries I can hardly spell. They have exceptionally successful and thoughtful business people and there are workshops on everything from sports to medicine, engineering and psychology, from being a college professor to being a homemaker, from fighting for justice in Africa to thinking about new ways to heal our racial tensions and our hurting urban schools. But Derek? His little Make College Count is the starting point, helping students at least enter the conversation of what God thinks about their higher learning and why they have reason to think that the Christian faith will help them get through it well. It isn’t a bad question to consider, is it? Please pray that we help them answer it well.
Want a Melleby book autographed? We can make it happen. What a nice gift to a student transitioning to college. Just give us the name of the guy or gal. Give ’em that now, and who knows, maybe they’ll want to attend Jubilee 2012.