Twice a year the House of Hope in Brazil has a Yard Sale accompanied by a barbecue. The Yard Sale is partly to raise money for the ministry, partly to give House residents a useful activity, and partly to make more people aware of the good work they do.
Actually I prefer their all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts and fish dinners, but I always make an effort to attend each event. This is one of the few things I can do to encourage and in a very small way try to repay my great debt to a good friend, House director Pete Latrenta.
The truth is I only go for the food. Wandering around looking through mountains of "stuff" donated to a charity yard sale is not something which holds for me great appeal. So I just get my hamburger and sit (ideally) on a comfortable chair or sofa hoping no one buys it out from under me. Kay does the wandering around. This time she found some lamp shades that "might work."
There was only a bench nearby, which I sat on as long as the body can endure such things. It was about this time I made The Mistake -- I started looking to see what was what.
I have few passions in life as regards tangible things. First, of course, are biscuits, of which none were provided. Unfortunately my second passion is books, of which there was a cornucopia dumped unceremoniously and unsorted on a table. My error was in stopping to look.
There is one book I've been looking for, "How Shall We Then Live?" by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer. At least this was my excuse for looking though the piles.
One on top of the highest stack was an introduction to wrestling. There was a lady older and smaller than I standing nearby and I offered to fight her for it. I decided, though, she could probably take me and went on to other things.
The books I did pull out are something of a window into my mind, if I do say so myself.
These are they, listed only by author:
Demons yes -- but thank God for good Angels -- a 17-page booklet from the Biola Hour apparently originally mailed in 1977 to La Palma, California.
None Can Guess, Michael Harper. Kay and I remember him from our Charismatic Movement days.
Basic Christian Doctrines, Carl F. H. Henry. Heard about this theologian for years, supposed to be "easy" to read. We will see.
The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ, H. R. Mackintosh. This looks too formidable, may be a while before I get to it.
The Incredible Power of Prayer, Roger J. Morneau. Maybe I need to read this first.
Jesus and Power, David Prior. For some reason I started this one first.
The Layman's Commentary on the Holy Spirit, John Rea. Another whenever-I-get-to-it book.
The Community of the King, Howard A Snyder. Back cover says it will help me find right church...?
The Secret of Instantaneous Healing, Harry Douglas Smith. Right...I'll save it for my doctors.
Three Steps Forward -- Two Steps Back, Charles R Swindoll. At least Swindoll is considered mainstream.
A Rustle of Angels, Marilyn & William Webber. Sounds like a woman's thing to me.
We inadvertently picked up one book of fiction by noted author E. M. Forster. I may never get to this book. Years ago family friend and Bible teacher Carl Ketcherside told me that life is too short to waste it reading fiction.
There was one other which got into the pack. The title seemed vaguely familiar, maybe something heard on the History Channel. I'll have to get back to you on that one.
Total costs, including the shades, $2.
Somewhere in my travels I met the Director of Education at a large Presbyterian Church in St. Louis. Being an older church building his office was quite big as such things go, with relatively high walls. The walls were covered from side-to-side and top-to-bottom with shelves of books. When I commented on his collection he said, "Everyone should have one lifetime in which to just read books."
He didn't mention anything about needing a third life for books picked up at Yard Sales.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.