Company of Saints: April 2006

On Monday, Sunnie saw couple of ten year-olds take an armful of books from our window. She was a bit concerned but reasoned that the sign does say "Free Books" and we do want people to take them. Then the kids returned and put some back. Turns out they had cruised the neighborhood asking if anyone wanted a book. Two people came into the store that afternoon as a result of their efforts. Best PR we've had all year. Sunnie said we should add them to the payroll. Jelly beans and chocolate eggs.

Paul brought in a four crates of books including classics, theology, literature and 23 (out of at least 53) volumes of the Complete Works of Luther. On Tuesday, Doug and I stacked the incomplete Complete Works on the top shelf, shuffling Barclay, McGee, Theime, Cooper, "Preaching" and "Church Growth," to make room.

On Wednesday I set aside Martin Buber, Pascal and a stack of classics to look over. Phil called and I tried to figure out if we'd read P.D. James' Children of Men. I priced a couple of the first editions Sunnie had separated out and then left for Toastmasters giving Ward instructions to sort the remaining two crates into some kind of order. Later that afternoon I returned for our weekly prayer time. When I left at 5:00 Nick was sitting on the floor happily messing up Ward's piles.

On Thursday I snatched a Jacques Ellul from the shelf where Nick had hidden a bunch of books he's hoping no one will buy until he's gone through them. If you show up this week, when we're trying to figure out where to put all these fine treasures, you will undoubtedly get a good deal.

"A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation. Lend and borrow to the maximum." --Henry Miller, novelist (1891-1980)

And buy! Don't forget buy!
We do often loan books to staff, people who are in our groups and classes, folk like Terri who returned stacks of reference books with twenty-dollar bills tucked into them, and the occasional person who we can't resist foisting a book upon. Also to Carolyn, who once in a while does actually pay for a book.


DEEP PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTION: What is that resonate satisfaction that comes at the end of a good story? What exactly is being delivered? Truth? Hope? It also comes when you finish writing a rough draft of a story--even if you know that there is still work to be done honing and polishing the work. What is that joyful sense of arrival, of completion?

"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it." --J.D. Salinger


UnFRIENDS: Some sleazebags are sending out fraudulent email from *** (You notice I didn't write "emails." Dave's long comedic rant has convinced me that "mail" is already plural. One does not receive "mails." --Even though there has been a great plurality of mail by the aforementioned sleazebags.) This spam using our companyofsaints website is usually investment advice. (!) I realize that Christ died for the sleazebags, too. However, reaching deep into my Christian charity all I can find is, "Let 'em burn." Pray for us sinners.

MY investment advice is: If you're looking for quick easy cash, Christian books may not be your best commodity. On the other hand, for long term investment--really long term investment--a few Christian books are an imperative.

"If stock market experts were so expert, they would be buying stock, not selling advice." --Norman R. Augustine, industrialist


THE HOME STACK: Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Church $6 and Robert Middleton's InfoGuru Marketing Manuel (see have thrust me into the depths of trying to figure out what we're doing. (When I figure it out, you'll be the first to know.) Three novels: Bill's Cordelia's Honor, which I've had for 6 months and plan to return without a $20 bill; Wallace Stegner's The Shooting Star $2, which was fun because it takes place in the bay area; and One More Spring, a small shabby $1 paperback about three homeless folk living in a park--written by Robert Nathan in 1933. The home stack also includes Joyce Rupp's The Cup of Our Life $4, a 6-week prayer/meditation guide from Joanne; and Self-editing for Fiction Writers which I'm going over just in case someone shows for the workshop on Monday.

Sunday, May 14, ComedyMasters, 4 to 6 at Britannia Arms: "Angels Watching Over Me."
Monday, May 1, 12:00, The Word Shop: "Edit That Story"
Tuesday, May 2, 7:14, The Word Shop: "First Tuesday Writers"
Friday, May 5, 1:30, The Word Shop: LIFE RULES!

For more info on classes & workshops, hit reply--write words, or visit our website:

Settling into my chair with Jacques Ellul's Hope in the Time of Abandonment, I notice the previous owner's name on the fly leaf. Herb was the pastor who provided covering for a nonprofit organization I directed thirty years ago. I reminisce about the SC Community Switchboard, meditate on the circle of relationships that passes books from hand to hand, and give thanks for the grace that gathers us all together into the company of saints.

"Every saint has a past and every sinner a future." --Oscar Wilde

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