Thursday, July 05, 2007

Beginning the "Strange Life": Look At All the Books!

Oh, no. It's turning into a "series."

In a phrase that my college roommate swore was coined by Edwin McCain, "There is honor among thieves." Well, having seen the libraries of a few of those with whom I will share a seminary campus, I must say that there is also honor among those covetous of books.

I'm a tools person. Ask my wife. I want the tools, man. Based on my present self-diagnosis that my personal library is severely anemic, I'm afraid that seminary life won't be any different. In Athens, GA, from whence I came to this land flowing with Owen and Goldsworthy, I could confidently count on that copy of the IVP Dictionary of Biblical Theology to be right where I left it in the local Borders, usually with my bookmark still in it. Not much demand. The (sing.) Athens, GA Christian bookstore was a place where the grips of Left Behind and Mr. Osteen were strong, stubborn, and choking.

In contrast, once I arrived in Louisville to reconnoiter the seminary this spring, I felt what it must feel like to see a real Picasso after studying a print (or a thumbnail) for a while. "Whoa," I would say to myself sometime during the third browsing hour at the SBTS LifeWay store, "Ladd's NT theology is a lot thicker than I imagined!" My wife, fellow book-lover, realist, lovingly convinced me that the tour of campus would be much more helpful with the guide and that Warfield was not a necessity that particular afternoon, so we left with very little damage (just a copy of The Bruised Reed, not bad).

Not that this is anywhere close to the most important unanswered question I have about starting seminary, but: how is one supposed to read all these great (and, to me, newly available) books with so little time and without neglect of that Primary One?

Seriously, I'm sure that handling the budgetary gymnastics of affording required books for class (not to mention those little extra ones) is difficult, as is managing one's reading time, family time, prayer time, play time, and work time. So, what am I going to do with all these books baiting me here in Louisville? I should probably read more of the ones that I already have, to be honest, but where's the "honor" in that?

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