My wife’s Paw-Paw calls himself a junkologist. For the past several years, he has gained a reputation in middle Tennessee for hauling off whatever people call him to come and get – everything from exercise equipment to sport coats to sewing machines. He dutifully loads it up on his trailer and brings it back to his storage shed in Lebanon, TN, which becomes the distribution center for his family, friends, and people in need. Admittedly, some of the stuff he winds up with won’t be showing up on Antique Roadshow anytime soon, but he has also brought home some real treasures. The parsonage in Curve has benefitted tremendously from his findings; between him and other family members, the only piece of furniture we had to purchase after getting married was one mattress.
With this kind of track record, you can imagine my excitement as I listened to a voice mail from Paw-Paw a few months back, telling me about his most recent haul. He had just left the home of a Nashville-area lawyer, who had parted with a massive library of “religious books,” and now they were stored safely in a pile of cardboard boxes in his shed, my name scrawled across the lid in sharpie. They were awaiting my inspection. Paw-Paw is a member of a little country Baptist church in his community a lot like ours here, and he was looking out for the library of his grandson-in-law.
At first, I tried to keep my expectations low. After all, “religious books” is a pretty vague category; who know what this guy’s perspective was? I resigned myself to the possibility that I would soon be the proud owner of the essential works of Harry Emerson Fosdick and Norman Vincent Peale. But as time went by, I became more optimistic. Surely there would be some classics mixed in there – an old copy of Augustine’s Confessions or something. Despite my best efforts to the contrary, my hopes were soon soaring. I just knew this faithful brother had been an adjunct faculty member of Southern Seminary and a card-carrying Founders member. My anticipation heightened each day that I looked at my bare shelves.
Through a series of unexpected setbacks, we didn’t make it to Lebanon at the beginning of October as planned, and so I set my sights on Thanksgiving weekend. On Saturday morning, we arrived at Paw-Paw and Me-Maw’s house. I bounced around anxiously outside the shed as Paw-Paw twirled the dial on the combination lock. We entered, I saw the books stacked before me, and I greedily began to separate the wheat from the chaff. One thing quickly became obvious: the man loved Hal Lindsey. But as I sorted through the end times predictions, I came across some real jewels. I thought I’d bring back a report on a few of the ones that made it home to Curve. Some are known classics, some are surefire useful reference tools, and others just sound interesting:
Book of Common Prayer
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Life Together
Broadus, John A. Commentary on Matthew
Burton, Joe W. Road to Nashville: From Vision to Reality: The Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention
Criswell, A.W. Why I Preach that the Bible is Literally True
Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol
Koehler, Walter J. Counseling and Confession: The Role of Confession and Absolution in Pastoral Counseling
Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity
Martin, Walter. The Kingdom of the Cults
McGee, J. Vernon, The Whole Word for the World: The Life and Ministry of J. Vernon McGee
Robertson, A.T. A Harmony of the Gospels
Ten Boom, Corrie. The Hiding Place
Wardin, Albert W., Jr. God’s Chosen Path: The Life of H. Franklin Paschall (a Union University graduate)
Wardin, Albert W., Jr. Tennessee Baptists: A Comprehensive History