I can now say I have traveled to a place, to do a thing, and my book was involved.
It was quite an experience.
I sat at a table, with the cover of my book blown up and printed on a canvas, inviting passers-by to come and chat…
It was quite an experience. I would be lying if I wasn’t a little nervous…
I was pleasantly surprised
I fully expected a lot of raised eyebrows at the site of my cover. I was anticipating angry retorts, disapproving nods and general disdain directed towards me. If there was any of this, I didn’t see it. If anyone was offended, they kept their thoughts quietly to themselves. What happened instead was just the opposite. Instead of divisive arguments, I found myself having constructive dialogue.
I was pleasantly surprised.
Mentally I prepared more for explaining a cover to someone who was bothered by it. I was prepped to answer questions of concern, and in doing so, I neglected mental prep for productive dialogue. The majority of people who came to talk to me were nearly all 20+ years older than me. They came to ask about the book but also to ask questions about millennials. Almost without exception, they desired to better know and understand a millennial perspective, especially in regards to what the church needed to do to reach them.
What I suddenly realized was that I had become in those moments a sort of generational ambassador for millennials. I also realized I needed to do more homework and mental prep to be able to have those constructive dialogues that were at the heart of why I wrote this book in the first place.
My first traveling excursion schlepping books to a place was a cake walk. All I had to do was drive down the road to the next city over with a trunk full of books.
Right now I am sitting in Arizona, visiting family. However, since I “did a thing*” my luggage looks a little different than it did the last time I was here. I wonder if travel will ever be the same. If you follow my Facebook or Twitter, you will know that I ended up packing a 100 books for this journey.
Now I doubt this will be the norm going forward. I don’t foresee future trips where my luggage is mostly full of hipster Jesus. The reason for so many on this particular trip is due in large part to a single order of 60 books. The person who ordered these books lives in AZ, so it made sense to bring them along for the flight. The other 40 are quickly finding homes in the desert as well. This trip was 100% about visiting family, but I suppose it is impossible to stop being an author, or a Pastor for that matter when you travel, especially when you and your wife have loving moms who have already presold your book to all of their friends.
So who knows, maybe I need to slightly adjust suitcase contents to allow for a couple of books to travel with me on all future trips. I do have a couple more travel plans where the sole reason for the trip is to speak about the book and as well as the millennial perspectives on the church.
I don’t know what to think anymore. I did a thing; people have thoughts about it, and now the TSA wants to have a closer look at my luggage. I can only imagine what they thought was in it when they were running it through x-ray.
I find it all quite ironic. Like I mentioned earlier, I am more apt to prepare for disapproving questions regarding my cover. However, what seems to keep happening is an increasing number of exciting conversations about how to bridge generations gaps. The discussions generally end up in dialogue about how the church can become more faithful in living out the Great Commission, especially in regards to millennials. My favorite moment of irony was being told by a sweet older woman, one who I thought I was about to be lectured by, that she loved the cover of my book.
God works in mysterious ways.
From preparing to defend what some have called a “blasphemous front cover” as one of my Amazon reviewers said, to having conversations where there is clearly a shared hope that one day church will be full of people who look like that same hipster Jesus, “blasphemy” and all.
Here’s to a hopeful future…
Until next time…
* When I first announced writing a book I started my announcement off by saying “well, I did a thing…”