So much for my keeping a daily journal of my CBA experiences! It's amazing how busy it is here. By the time the vening roles around, all you want to do is turn in for the night, which is what I've done. So, sorry for not living up to the promise of providing daily updates of my "wild" times at CBA. These three days (M-T-W) of special sessions, wandering the floor visiting various ministries and publishers, hearing amazing musical acts, and establishing contacts, has been a whirlwind to say the least! I actually kept notes the first two days, but then realized that I should just enjoy the experience of meeting and greeting and learning what I can while I'm here. While I am obviously pleased at meeting several authors and musicians that I've enjoyed for some time, I've gotten the most enjoyment by meeting those artists/writers that are new to me. On Monday at lunch, they had a new artsit luncheon, in which several young, up and coming artists were spotlighted. The coolest thing was sitting next to the rhythm guitarist of a relatively new band called "DecembeRadio." Man was this guy nice! And it turns out he grew up only a few miles form where my mom was born and raised. He even told me about Gassaway, West Virginia before I brought it up! Nobody's ever heard of that town except my family! But he played there and told me a great story of how a near tornado ripped the tarp off of a trailer they were playing on and his guitar's next got snapped. But the townspeople took up an offering and more than paid back the cost his guitar! Cool hunh? Later, the next day, he made it a point to tap me on the shoulder on the floor of the convention center to say hi, even though I hadn't seen him. Very cool. I told him, next time he and his band were in town, that they HAD to stop by Baker. I also suggested that they play at Hope, since their music rocked (think Christian version of Lynnyrd Skynnerd). Last night we all went to an outdoor concert nearby in town featuring Bebo Norman (much better this time), I think the acoustics of the inside venue were not very friendly to anything electric. Once he, and the others, were outside, they sounded great. I was especially excited to hear Jars of Clay, since I've liked them from the beginning. They didn't dissapoint! They played several hymns at the end of their set, but boy was it not your old hymns of yesteryear! These great hymns were revamped and on fire! Everyone was on their feet (me included) for their last several songs. I was toast by the end of the evening, but it was a good toast.
To go into all the authors I met this week would take a separate post in itself. But suffice it say that I have been seriously geeked. To paraphrase Roberto Clemente, Crossway has been vedy, vedy good to me! I even met John Piper's son. It's a good thing I was saying nice things about him (not hard to do if you know me)! Last night we had the chance to hear severeal Nelson aurhotrs speak at a heavy hors deurve (I can't spell that stupid word!) get together. Max Lucado led in prayer throughout the night. Now I know why he's so well loved. He truly has a pastor's heart. We were all impressed by his gentle godliness. FOr me, the pleasant surprise of the evening was getting to know authors that I knew "of", but didn't really know. They each shared some apsect of themselves that really brought their humanity. Phil Visscher, of VeggieTale fame, shared quite openly of his rise to success and then subsequent fall, and of what he's doing now. Truly a testament to grace. He even thanks God for his trials, since they led him closer to Christ. Mark Buchanan spoke eloquently of being careful not to be too busy or to "push" when God would have us recline as Lazarus did. His illustration of Lazarus being a witness of Christ's power, simply by reclining (and breathing!) at the table with Christ, spoke deeply to how we can best reveal Christ to those around us. We don't need to push when God says relax. Amen! But most of all, I was impressed by Erwin McManus, who spoke of his emigrating to America from El Salvador during their war in the eighties. Afterward, I spoke with him and admitted that while I knew of him, I didn't know anything about him. But that now I knew much more of who he is, and that that would help me immeasurably in helping my own customers in referring them to his books. I look forward to reading what he's written. Well, as y'all can imagine, I met numerous other folks, and it was all cool and I was in official "geek" mode. But what I found most exciting was meeting some of the vendors who were there (some for the first time themselves!) to share what they could of Christ's work in them. That was cool. I got some info, and am hoping that we might be able to work together in the future. The two that jump out at me are soem young men who market shirts and other clothing accessories, but with a message that I think will really resonate with young people, especially the disaffected. I am really excited about them. Also, there was a couple from Palestine who were selling Rosewood carvings of the holy family and other Christian and Jewish themes; all produced in Bethlehem! Oops, it's almost dinner! So I gotta run. I'll probably write when I'm back in Holland. Peace!