A few weeks ago Ben Myers over at F-T posted an article about stealing books. After reading this I have to admit that I was "greatly convicted," to use the common language of my childhood denomination. For you see, I am a book thief. And really, not just your run-of-the-mill- never return- a -borrowed- book from your friend type of thief, but much, much worse.
I have in my possession a copy of Emil Brunner's Revelation and Reason, taken from my university library. Gasp! I know. The person who graduated valedictorian of this Christian school is very much guilty of taking a book from the library. I didn't borrow it or check it out, I totally just slipped it in my bag, with the intentions or returning it shortly. Well, I did not return it. There was no sinister motive; it may have originated more out of apathy than anything. As time passed, I become more cognizant of my sin, but I started to enjoy the situation.
The former president of the university, who preached every Wednesday in chapel, once preached a sermon aimed at people just like me. People who took things from the library and never returned them. People who did not pay fines. Evil sinful people, like me, who need to be sanctified. I listened to those harsh words of judgment, and thought "I would never do something like that." I did. I fear that former president, who since my thievery has died, is looking upon me with hot, judgmental eyes. In fact, I feel it.
The worst part of the thing is that I see it all of the time sitting on my shelf. I even packed it with me while moving to a different state. Somehow I think that perhaps the tome is obscure enough, at least for a school full of undergrads and youth ministry majors, that it will never be missed. Yet, I know I am wrong; even if I do have some sort of sinful enjoyment in knowing that I have a book that belongs to the university. I don't even particularly like Emil Brunner and his unreadable book, but it still sits on my shelf.
As part of this public confession, and penitence I will make arrangements for the book to be returned to the university. So do not fret.
Lord have mercy on me, a sinner, book thief.