Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pruning My Bookshelves

In times of transition, it is important to consider what should survive said transition, and what should be left behind.

As the Coffeefamily prepares for The Big Move next month, I've been attempting to figure out the best thing to do with my books. To be clear, I'm talking about all my pastor-ish books. Novels, books of poetry, dictionaries, my Sandman graphic novels, Coffeewife's huge textbooks from nursing school, etc., are going to the house regardless. No, I mean all the theology, church history, Bible reference, church models & ministry, liturgy, pastoral care, preaching, and Catch-all Shelf With Lots of Campolo, McLaren, Lamott, Lucado, And Yancey That I Don't Know How Else To Classify.

A couple years ago, it made sense to move all this stuff to the parsonage study. Now that I'll be living a few miles away from the church and I do most writing at the church, it doesn't make as much sense to lug them to the new house.

Anyway, as I've been slowly moving most of these books back to the church office, I've discovered a couple things:

1. They won't all fit on the shelves at the church. I'm actually going to buy an additional bookcase for my office.

2. Why the heck do I have some of these books, anyway? Chicken Soup for the Soul, some of the aforementioned Lucado books and such, some grossly outdated books that I thought I wanted at some point. I've got a nice stack designated for the thrift store.

And then there's the question of what goes to the house. While I was debating whether any of them would go to the office at all, I figured out that creating a space at the house to reflect, which is the main reason why I had the books at the parsonage to begin with.

So my Bibles, hymnals, and spirituality/devotional books are going to the house. It makes sense. I hope to create a similar sacred space at the new house, much like what the Pastor's Study has been for me at the parsonage.

And I suppose that that has been the biggest learning for me through this anticipated transition. Those books helped create a sacred space at home, but I don't necessarily need them all in order to do that at the new house. But the certain thing is that I'd like to have such a space again. That plus a lack of space in my built-as-an-afterthought-church-office for all of my books made it somewhat of a pragmatic thing.

I've been grateful for this realization concerning sacred spaces. I suppose that I've never really thought about its importance since beginning ministry here, since church and home have been 40 yards or so away from each other. And I never really thought that that's what I was doing when moving the books home to begin with.

And so I prune my bookshelves, and continue the work of creating both a work and home sanctuary.