Thursday, July 17, 2008

Final dispatch from ICRS

It's been raining in Orlando all week, so of course it's finally starting to clear up on the last day of the show just before I head home. I'm in a cybercafe on the trade show floor here at ICRS, and it's a bit of a ghost town. The last day of the show is always pretty quiet, more so this year because of low attendance, and perhaps also because it's Orlando and many folks are taking today off to head to Disney or Epcot or something.

A few more notes of various observations from the last few days:

Andy Crouch had a good word for us at our author dinner. He talked about how at a trade show like this, it's very easy to feel inadequate, to see the big signs featuring the hot new books and faces of the bestselling authors, to always be comparing ourselves to the next bigger author or publisher. And it was a nice reminder that all of us are already in a very privileged location to be in this work and industry, and that we can rejoice and delight in the work we have and the books we get to write and publish. (He said much more, and much more eloquently, but this is just my inadequate summary and distillation.) As Andy's editor, I presented him with a framed book cover, and I commented that when I first met Andy ten years ago, he was handing out copies of re:generation quarterly, which I had written for. And I contributed a few articles to RQ during his tenure as editor. So he was my editor, and now I'm his editor. And I'm grateful for our continued collaborative relationship, especially on his book Culture Making.

Yesterday our author Ruth Haley Barton of The Transforming Center was signing copies of her new book Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, which uses the life of Moses as a springboard for exploring the spiritual challenges of being in Christian leadership. (She spoke on this at the National Pastors Convention in 2007, and you can hear the podcast here.)

There's something of a dueling study Bible smackdown in the works from two major Wheaton-area publishers. In this corner, weighing in at 2528 pages and 25,900 study notes, is the NLT Study Bible from Tyndale. And in this corner, weighing in at 2752 pages and 20,000 study notes, is the ESV Study Bible from Crossway. Both release this fall, and both are touted as the most comprehensive study Bibles ever. Both have impressive lists of editors, contributors and endorsers. And I'm sure both will serve the church well.

I picked up a few more books of interest. The timely We the Purple: Faith, Politics, and the Independent Voter by Marcia Ford (Tyndale). A Christianity Worth Believing: Hope-filled, Open-armed, Alive-and-well Faith for the Left Out, Left Behind, and Let Down in Us All by Doug Pagitt (Jossey-Bass), which is competing with Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy for longest subtitle. Donna Frietas's Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America's College Campuses (Oxford) is a landmark study and an important read for anybody in campus ministry. And as I continue to discover the literature of the field of disability studies and theology of disability, I'm glad that a friend at Eerdmans gave me a copy of Receiving the Gift of Friendship: Profound Disability, Theological Anthropology, and Ethics by Hans Reinders.

Show closes this afternoon, and after tearing down, we'll head home this evening. It's always fun to be here, but I'm eager to get home.

P.S. Funniest Christian knick-knacks and Jesus junk this year? Perhaps the EvangeBall evangelistic soccer ball, or the "Walk in the Light" flashlight.


Sean Harrison said...


Thanks for your post — I found your blog through the oh-so-noble Google alert system. I enjoyed your notes on ICRS and the description of “a dueling study Bible smackdown in the works.” I love it!

One correction: The NLT Study Bible is 2528 rather than 2560 pages, because we were able to drop a half form late in Production. (For your readers, Bibles are printed on large sheets of paper that are folded into 64-page “forms,” also called “signatures.” We were able to squeeze it down to 2528 pages and then use a half sheet, or 32 pages, at the end and reduce our paper usage by the equivalent of 2.7 million pages in the first 85,000 copies.) But the 2560 number had already gotten into the product descriptions in a couple of places.

But you put it best: "I'm sure both will serve the church well." That's what it's all about, and that's our prayer (for both study Bibles).

Al Hsu said...

Thanks, Sean. I've corrected the post.