Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Winter Solstice, New Agers, Donnie Walsh, and Bonhoeffer

I had someone wish me a "happy winter solstice" yesterday. I was taken aback by the wish and all I could respond with was a "you have a happy holiday as well." He then proceeded to hand me a instant Lotto scratch off ticket, which, as I was walking to my car, I scratched off and won two bucks. Steve, the guy who wished me the "happy winter solstice" is a weird duck. He is the leader of a merry band of, as we call them at the store, "crazy crystal new agers." Usually on the weekends Steve and his merry band come to the store and set up shop in the cafe. Sometimes they'll have a bunch of crystals and sometimes they'll have this little pyramid made out of copper tubing that sits in the middle of the table. Now, I don't know exactly what they do because I'm too busy worrying about finding the newest Jan Karon book. So, what the crazy crystal new agers do is a bit of mystery to me.

He gives us things, though. I have yet to recieve them so I might not be all that special, but he likes to give people socks, I don't know why, but he does. I have gotten some little rocks from him-- a little green one and a little brown one. The green one is actually quite pretty and I have it on my desk (somewhere) buried under papers, I imagine. The green one is supposed to be helpful in me making wealthy-- please note, it hasn't worked yet. *chuckles*

He gave me the little brown stone one day because he saw me rubbing my head becase I was trying to get rid of a migraine headache (next to impossible at work). He asked what was wrong and when I told him he ran out to his car and came back with the little brown rock and a set of four or five stapled pieces of paper. On each page was a list of rocks, stones, and minerals and what their "properties" are; the little brown rock supposedly cured headaches. Okay, Steve, thanks. I put it in my wallet and left it there for a while. I think it is now on my desk next to the green rock.

The other day he asked me about the ring I wear on my right hand. It is plain silver ring with an ichtus, or as some people call it "the Jesus Fish." I tried to explain to Steve, as quickly and as quietly as I could (I was on the clock and I feel uncomfortable doing this kind of thing on company time) the basics behind the ring and what it meant. I don't know if he understood it, if he cared, or if he was just trying to be nice (I have a feeling it was the former instead of the two latter instead of the other two choices).

Working in a bookstore does present some interesting experiences. For example, yesterday, Christmas Eve, Donnie Walsh, the GM of the Indiana Pacers came in. He is not a hard guy to miss. He is short and stocky, but he has a very distinct voice- a gravelly, smoke hardened, Bronx inflected thing. I didn't recognize him right away until he spoke. He came in yesterday for some books on "Jesus' words in aramaic" and "contemplations on the Psalms." We actually had a couple books on the topics. I couldn't find the C.S. Lewis book on the Psalms, but we did have one by Bonhoeffer, and I also got him to buy The Cost of Discipleship after I talked up Bonhoeffer for few minutes.

I have read about three or four of Bonhoeffer's books and they have all made me work awfully hard. One of my favorites is Life Together, a book that deals with Christian community and how to work together as Christians. It is a wonderful little book. Cost of Discipleship, though really cooks my noodle. I had often heard the phrase "cheap grace," but I had never trully understood the idea behind it, once I got it though my spiritual life took on a new meaning. Bonhoeffer is good for a spiritual frying pan to the head every now and again.

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