I spent a day at the Christian Booksellers Association (now called ICRS or something like that) and it was a GREAT experience. Why? Before I tell you let me explain what CBA is. It is a gathering of all the top publishing companies who are courting all the top store owners to buy all their top stuff. In other words it is a pose down of the best of the best who are trying to attract customers and clients.
The biggest authors, the next new thing music artists and then small fish like me gather together to walk the endless aisles, peruse the plethora of booths and shmooze.
Here’s why I’m glad that I went:
- It reinforced to me the importance of standing out from the crowd. In a Christian world of bumper sticker messages and “Revolutionary” signs and symbols it all became white noise after awhile. As I wandered around it seemed like everything started looking and sounding the same.
- Social Justice and “good for goodness sake” type acts of random kindness seem to be the flavor of the month. I just hope that in all of the service projects these holy hipsters remember that the gospel message meets the deepest needs of the sinner’s soul (mine included!)
- It reminded me of how much a peon I am. In a Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, John Maxwell world of BIG NAMES mine is in small caps, in a small font on a small page at the back of the book. It was quite a humiliating experience. And I’m thrilled for it. I want to go every year just to recalibrate my view of myself. It’s kind of funny that a lot of teenagers who have gone to Dare 2 Share don’t even know my name. They know me as “the Dare 2 Share guy” or “the GOSPEL Journey guy”. It used to drive me crazy. Now I kind of like it. I’d rather teens remember the words “Dare 2 Share” than the name “Greg Stier”…and I’d rather them remember the name “Jesus Christ” than the words “Dare 2 Share.”
- The last reason I was thrilled to go to CBA was to reconnect with old friends. My old friends at Moody, one old college buddy, a Dare 2 Share alumni youth leader from almost a decade ago and some newer friends at Focus on the Family and Tyndale. It was great fun.
All in all it was eye-opening, humiliating, exciting experience. Can’t wait to go next year!