One of my favorite things to do is wander around used bookstores, filtering through the collections that have their own mysterious stories to tell. In the age of electronic literature, I’m beginning to feel as outdated as some of the centuries old memoirs in these shops. Students on campus purchase ebooks and ‘vooks,’ and yet I sense that all this new technology looses something in translation–or rather digitization. I love the smell of an old book, the way the corners of the pages crinkle, the feel of its weight in my hand. But paramount, it’s these tangible books that turn authors into old friends in a way I just cannot imagine an online text could. My oldest and dearest such friend is Kurt Vonnegut Jr. You probably know him too.
Now I only allow myself one of his stories a year. I will be terribly disappointed when I’ve read every one and will probably begin again when the time comes. He weaves a special magic between an otherwise ordinary jacket using simple words to convey something profound. He turns ideas over and creates characters that are both ordinary and extraordinary. Put simply, my love of Vonnegut will endure as long as I do. So it goes.
Together, we shared the past weekend on Cold Mountain (yes, there is such a place). It was my first time away from work in I don’t know how long. Under the October sky, he told me the story of Howard W. Campbell Jr. in Mother Night. There is perhaps no greater pleasure in the world than getting lost in the pages of a good book. Real pages. The kind that turn and bend, fold and tear. Those that envelop you into the story. I hope such books persist. For as long as they survive, the old friends who composed them live on as well.
I am very excited to note the forthcoming publication of a book called A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions. It totally belies the idea that science and faith can’t work together toward common goals. The authors are a husband and wife team; Katharine Hayhoe is a climate researcher who focuses on global warming’s regional impacts, and who shares the 2007 Nobel Peace prize with Al Gore and the IPCC; and her husband Andrew Farley is an evangelical minister.
Just look at the incredible juxtaposition of endorsements for this one:
“Climate scientists are best able to tell us if, how, and why Earth’s climate is changing. Ethicists and religious scholars and leaders are best able to tell us how we should respond to the knowledge that science provides. Authored by a climate scientist and a religious leader, this book provides a unique perspective on Christian responses to the findings of climate science. Anyone who is open to messages from both science and Christian scriptures will be struck by the insight and synthesis of this remarkable author team. With clarity unusual in science reports and impeccable logic, A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, is a compelling call to action.”
James J. McCarthy
Agassiz Professor of Oceanography, Harvard University
President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008)
“Yes Lord! A scientist and a pastor writing a book together about faith and global warming! How cool is that? What a beautiful sign of the times we are living in. A whole movement of Christians are convinced that our faith in the God of heaven has to affect the way we live on this earth. May this book continue to move us closer to God’s dream for the world.”
author, activist, recovering sinner