I spent this morning sorting books in preparation for the annual second-hand book sale in aid of the Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum of Primitive Methodism. Each year tens of thousands of books are sold. I have attended the sale for a number of years now and usually buy at least one box worth every year, usually going to the sale on at least two days, as they bring out more books as the sale goes on. They usually have a large selection of older theological works and popular Christian paperbacks, along with tens of thousands of non-Christian books. I use the opportunity to stock up on books that I would not otherwise spend money on. I buy works by unorthodox writers like feminist theologians, knowing that I would hate to have to buy the books new. I also buy books that look like they might be interesting or of possible use in the future, even though I may never get around to reading them. I experiment with authors I know little about. Most years I have a number of really good ‘finds’.
As a helper this morning I was able to choose a couple of books to purchase from the boxes that I sorted through. I picked up a mint copy of Richard Bauckham’s Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World for 33p, along with some Emil Brunner, Rosemary Radford Ruether and a couple of others for the same price. Tomorrow morning I will be at the sale from the start and will hopefully purchase a few dozen more.
Most years I get at least one book from the lunatic fringes of the Christian faith. In the past I have bought books arguing, for example, that eating meat is evil and all Christians should be vegetarians. It is always good to have a few such books in your library. This year my father purchased a copy of Charles and Frances Hunter’s Handbook for Healing, which is superb. It teaches that sugar is ‘Satan’s counterfeit’ (on the strength of Jeremiah 6:20), but that honey is ‘God’s answer’. It gives step-by-step instructions for dealing with different diseases. For example: ‘Cleft Palate — (1) Cast out the spirit of inheritance [just as in the case of overbite, for instance]; (2) Lay hands on the mouth commanding a creative miracle; all the tissues and structures to be normal.’
If you are in the area, you might consider visiting the book sale some time in the next week. Even if you don’t find any books that you like you can see Mow Cop, the beautiful birthplace of Primitive Methodism. The sale starts at 10:30 tomorrow morning and lasts for a week. Full details can be found here.