I’m back from two wonderful but intense days at Christian Resources Together, a gathering for people in the Christian publishing, supplying, and retailing industry – and yes, that includes content creators such as writers. I’ve been in the Christian resources biz for over twenty years, nearly 18 of those in the UK. So for me it’s a rare time to see, greet, and hug familiar faces from the past (a few mates were playing STL Bingo during the award ceremony, which hints at their affection and humor, and will only mean anything for those in my industry).
This year was special because I moved officially from “publisher” to “author.” I’ve loved being an editor, launching all of those wonderful Christian books out into the world to be ambassadors for God’s good news. And I grateful now to be one of those authors too, with her baby arriving in the world. For Finding Myself in Britain was shipped directly from the printer to the conference centre, as the official launch doesn’t arrive until the first of October. In fact, my publisher, Steve Mitchell, saw it first there. For me, the feeling was surreal to walk into my room in Swanwick and to see my book there on the bed, complete with chocolate for the participants to savor and enjoy.
I was captivated by Bishop John Pritchard’s talk in particular. Here are some of his quotes, worth pondering:
“God doesn’t know how to be absent.”
I agree, but many people feel the absence of God when they go through tough times. Do you find this a challenging or encouraging statement, or somewhere in between?
“In the Bible, water is always dangerous to the Jewish mind.”
I never knew this, and want to do some biblical investigation. What about Proverbs 25:25, “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land”?
“Pray, but not as though God is an outsider. He’s here.”
Yes, I love this, and sense the influence of Tom Wright.
I also learned that Thomas Hardy became disgusted at the reaction to his novels so he gave up writing them and turned to writing a poem a day. Many are pedestrian, but some are brilliant. Hmm; maybe I should try to write a poem every day. I did that during Advent last year, and loved it. I learned other things too, but those nuggets seem worth sharing.
I came away exhausted but encouraged. What heartened me the most was the family-like atmosphere, with the organizers Mandy and Steve Briars called the “grandparents” of the group. How wonderful that we can laugh together and enjoy one another’s company, especially when times in the Christian resources business have been so tough.
If you went to CRT, what were your impressions?