The Big Hoot-Nanny
Yesterday I went to the
CBA...er...I mean the ICRS. That's the International Christian Retail Show. It's the one time each year when all the publishers of Christian books and music and the manufacturers of Christian trinkets and "art" and gifty-type-things meet up with all the owners of Christian bookstores to let them know what they'll be selling soon. It's also a time for authors to meet with publishers and network, schmooze and suchlike.
There's a lot of good that happens here. I mean it. There are really good books being written, and some of them even get published!
I attended an author appreciation breakfast that Broadman & Holman offered (they published The Gospel According to the Da Vinci Code). I got to take my dad with me there, and, honestly, if it hadn't been for him, I don't think anyone would have talked to me. I don't really fit the profile of a B&H author, I guess. He looks more the part than I do.
I got to meet up with a friend I haven't seen in years. Mike Murray works for Integrity Music, and he was on the floor all day yesterday. We're going to have dinner tonight, and I can't wait to catch up with him more!
I spent an hour with Andrew and Eric Wolgemuth (and their new associate whose name I cannot remember -- I apologize for being terrible with names -- she was very nice and is, I'm certain, very competent). We discussed possible books for the future -- some of which I'm sure I'll discuss here on the blog in the coming months. I had a really good time with them, and -- again -- it demonstrated the fact that there are actually people in the world who care about good ideas and good books and are doing everything they can to see those ideas and books make their way to a wide audience.
I got to see Denny Boultinghouse and the folks at Howard Publishing. Denny has been a friend of the family for decades, and it's always good to hear how things continue to develop for them. Who knows? Maybe one of those book ideas I talked to the Wolgemuth clan about will make its way to Howard Publishing?
I met up with my good friend "God, I Don't Understand" Kenneth Boa. He introduced me to some nice people, including Rob Bowman. Rob's co-authored a few books with Ken as well as several books of his own. He's a smarty. And he's got a great sense of humor. The three of us ran the gauntlet of aesthetic assault (there's a giant room with booths displaying all the items one might find in a Christian bookstore -- some good, some bad, some ugly...very, very ugly) together until Rob had to go meet with someone at NavPress about a possible book idea.
Ken and I continued and discovered this:
It's an action figure. Of Jesus. Riding a motorcycle. You can't see it, but Jesus is wearing a t-shirt with his own face on it -- the same logo is on the gas tank of his bike. The crown of thorns is detachable, by the way -- just in case you would rather see Jesus with his hair blowing freely in the wind (like his cape-like robe!) and not be reminded of any of the blood and pain and hurting stuff.
Okay, what do you do with this? First of all, Jesus must live in Florida or some other such state where they don't have helmet laws. They also have action figures of Jesus riding a bull -- like at a rodeo -- I'm not making that up. And there's one of Jesus riding a skateboard and one of Jesus surfing and one of Jesus holding up a sign that reads: "Will Work for Food".
They're all named variations on the same theme. The motorcycle-riding Jesus is called "I Am Freedom". Surfing Jesus is called "I Am Spirit". Skateboarding Jesus is "I Am Youth". I asked the people if "Will Work for Food" Jesus was called "I Am Hungry". They didn't laugh.
They're serious about this, folks, and -- frankly -- I don't know what to make of it.
So, I'm asking you. What do you think about this? Good? Bad? Tacky? Reasonable?