Wednesday, September 04, 2013

What It Means to Pack Up Books

I don't have a Kindle, so packing up shelves of books does not mean that I am joining the e-reader generation and bidding adieu to print. I'm not changing jobs nor even relocating offices. We're not moving, so that's certainly not it.
But I am packing up books. Boxes of books, in fact, sit around the basement floor awaiting their next move. Some will be donated to the local library. Those are mostly kids books, so packing up books means growing older, moving on and saying goodbye to the young children who are now young adults.
Other books will wind up being recycled. Those are mostly obscure text books, so packing them means saying goodbye to old academic concerns that no longer seem remotely important to the middle aged adults who look back on younger selves who once studied these texts with eyes on a future that didn't unfold quite they way they must have anticipated.
Still others are going back to my study at church. Packing them up means saying goodbye to the hotshot young preacher who thought he was going to write a book on the church-in-postmodernity but, instead, simply tried to live -- or is it lean -- into that whole complicated reality just a bit. Putting Brueggemann and Derrida in the same book turns out to have been a lot more work than putting them into the same box. Now they'll form the basis for an interesting church library that I will leave behind when, somewhere down the road, I leave the wee kirk and congregational ministry.
Packing up books means saying goodbye.

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