A Sad Day for me….

I have to throw away a vast significant majority of my books……

some of you may or may not know, when we came to the canyon nearly 4 years ago, we unknowingly moved into a mobile home (the church parsonage) that was filled with toxic mold.  we began getting sick right away but had no idea it was the mold.  we lived in that situation for a year and half, nearly two years before we realized the house was run over by toxic mold (we did a home test kit (petri-dish) and had it verified by a professional mold remediation specialist).  We moved out a few weeks later.

The problem is, mold is microbial and infects anything and everything that is porous.  Again, mold is microbial and infects anything and everything that is porous….

Books are porous; paper is porous; anything that is not solid and can be washed and or wiped down with bleach water – has to go….

Therefore, due to the mold, whatever books we had in the old house (we have since had the house replaced.  It was too extensive to remediate, and too dangerous) have to go.  All of them.  All my books accumulated over the years; all my college notes; all my seminary notes; all personal notes or workbooks; ALL OF IT.

TODAY.

Last night, Debbie was reading a book I have, that was in the old house (I tried seeing if I could keep them in boxes until I could know if they were okay, they aren’t) and within minutes she had a pretty severe reaction to the mold from just one little book.  It took hours for her to recover, late into the night.  It was terrible.

What kinds of books?

Waltke’s OT Theology, which got and have barely been able to get into

Von Rad’s Two in One OT theology

all my NT intros (Johnson, Gundry) and OT Intros…. BAM!

my copy of G.E. Ladd’s  NT Theology and his commentary on the Revelation

Gordon Fee’s God’s Empowering Presence; Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God; a copy of How to Read the Bible for All its Worth that Dr Fee himself signed for me years ago – GONE!

Stan Grenz’ Theology for the Community of God and his Primer on Postmodernism, which he singed for me just weeks before his untimely death… GONE.

my copy of millard erickson’s Christian Theology – GONE.

Aland’s Synopisis Quattor Evangelorium which I got at AGTS and may not be able to replace…. GONE.

most all my Greek and Hebrew Language books (Waltke OConner; Wallace, Gesinius; Black’s NT Grammar with lots of notes; Seow’s Hebrew Grammar with tons of notes (that Debbie also used and has better notes because she learned Hebrew from the incomparable Wave Nunnally…. all that)….GONE.

my hard copy of Bauer… that I got before it was as expensive as it is… sure I have it on Bible Works, but still, it was nice to have the hard copy….

my IVP Black dictionaries, my zondervan pictorial dictionary set…GONE.

my copies of Keener’s two volume work on John – this hurts alot…. it was given graciously as a gift.

most all my books on the Holy Spirit I listed….ALL GONE.’

my books on the theology and praxis of missions… GONE.

most of my pastoral theology books (Oden’s pastoral theology)… WHOOSH – in the trash….

various pastoral counseling books that were pretty useful  POOF,

my Inductive Study Bible that I did work in a vast majority of with tons and tons of personal observation, interpretation, and application notes….  BAM!!

many that I have gotten but am till working through that are for all intents purposes are BRAND NEW!!

not even sure if I can keep my Hebrew Bible or Greek NT….

all of Debbie’s books, notes, etc.

my copy of Bauckham’s WBC commentary on 2 Peter Jude

my WBC commentaries on the Psalms

the list goes on and on and on…..

All of it.  Has.  To.  Go.

I knew this day was coming and I was trying to avoid it, ignore it, wish it in to non-existence and so on… can’t do that anymore.  It is either stay sick and unhealthy or get rid of the books and get healthy again…

such a sad sad day.  I am truly being reminded our lives consist not in the abundance of our possessions…. they consist in Christ alone.

many of these books do more than sit on the shelves, they represent some sentimental value – they often represent memories and experiences (even personal life transformations) we may have had when reading them or in the context in which we purchased (or were given) them and read them and so on.  It sure is hard to sit here and list the essentials to replace and say goodbye to others that may or may not be replaced.

Thanks for letting me share (and for those who have offered to help replace some of the essentials).

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83 responses to “A Sad Day for me….

  1. yes, I am distraught… in great turmoil… how am I going to replace these things? and my wifey say they have to go – they may have been affecting our infant son too. Mike, and maybe too much work.

    the whole deal with the mold, it’s not unlike loosing a house to a fire….

    I am sick to my stomach.

  2. That is terrible news!! I’m sorry to hear that. Is there any sort of insurance that will cover that? Your church or denomination? I’ll start looking through my stuff to see what I can give although I don’t know that I can cover shipping costs right now.

  3. This is horrible news. I didn’t realize the mold would affect your library. I’m with Bryan here and wonder if the house insurance will cover it.

    You might create a list in an Excel document or something of things you consider essential to replace. I wouldn’t be surprised if a bunch of people have review copies that they are done with that they would be willing to send you. You might get a bunch of it replaced and only have to pay shipping costs.

    Praying for a positive outcome from this setback.

    • Bryan and Nate – thanks for the concerns. I do appreciate it and for letting me voice my sorrow over having to do this – I was just in the office area where I have the books and couldn’t do it – I have to get back to it. I even have some review copies I’ll have to apologize to the publishers for having to maybe toss. (I am working on that list of essentials).

      we looked into all the insurance stuff and sadly in the process we learned (remember this is a small small church) the insurance was outdated and didn’t cover the house or anything in it… it was real hard to handle. We have since got all the insurance stuff worked out so it is all up to date and proper, but at the time, having just come into the church and working through what needed to get updated and fixed and all that, by the time we learned of the mold and all it was too late. probably 80-90% of our belongings got left behind in the house and were taken with it when it was removed. it was like the house burned down, very little if anything could be recovered… I had false hope about my books.

  4. Oooh, sorry to hear that, Brian. I’ll be putting Learn to Read New Testament Greek and a few other books in the mail to you. If you will send me your mailing address I’ll get them to you ASAP.

  5. Brian, that’s brutal. I’m really sorry to hear about that. I’ll go through my books and see if I have any that match the one’s you’ve lost. At the very least, I know I have an extra copy of Erickson’s Theology that I’d be happy to send your way. I think I also have an extra copy of Dan Wallace’s Beyond the Basics. I’ll see what else I can come up with.

  6. Brian: As soon as you get your list together let me know and I’ll post it along with an announcement on my blog. I’m pretty confident that most, if not all, of the publishers you had review copies from will understand once you explain to them what happened and I suspect that many, if not all, of them would happily replace the lost books.

  7. What’s your address, Brian? We should all send you a copy of something. As I read this post, I felt like I got kicked in the gut… seriously. I’m totally willing to get a rally going to get some good books sent to you.

    • Tim, that one Gordon Fee signed for me, that was at the CCF retreat we went to and he spoke on Philippians as a special gesture to Brady (he said he didn’t do retreats anymore, but he did it for Brady and CCF…

      address is P.O. Box 1609, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023.

  8. That is a huge kick in the guts Brian. I am sorry to hear of this. I am glad that you have nutted out what is causing your sickness. Who would think that such a small thing could cause so much havoc.

  9. Brian:
    I’m really sorry to hear that. I’ll send Waltke’s OT Theology to the address above. If anyone else has offered over email or anything already please let me know. I’d hate for you to get two! 😉

  10. (this is Brian’s wife, Debbie)

    yes it is sad…Brian has boohooed about it all day…thank the Lord I was gone, taking our son to see the dr. who is 2 hrs away. And what do I see when I came home after a long, arduous day with the kids & driving??? All of the boxes of books neatly stowed out on the front porch & not in the garbage bin!! lol! although at the time I wasn’t at all in a lol mood…

    Maybe we need to have a funeral pyre out at the campgrounds for all of these books?

    Brian, my dear loving husband, I think you need closure.

    PS – The Lord is soooo good to us & has already restored + given us more than what we lost. Also did he mention that our car needs to be replaced too 😉 [preferably to a mini-van] hahaha

  11. LOL, great comment! It’s always good to have someone to bring us back down to earth on occasion. Brian, it sounds like you need to get your chores done.

  12. I could just speak for myself but I’m sure this is one of every bibliophile’s worst nightmares. Please put up a list, as others have requested, and I would love to bless you with a book as well.

  13. I just went by the post office and found out it would only be about $13 for me to send like 30 lbs of books to you. I thought s&p would be a lot more expensive than that. Put the list up and I’ll see what I can send you, and I can cover the s&p too. Some of the books will have highlighting and notes in them. I can give you both Grenz books, although they won’t be signed like yours were.

    BTW this post is a good argument for the value of investing in ebooks. Matter of fact, now that I think about it, people can gift Kindle books now so you might want to consider making a Amazon wishlist of Kindle books if you were interested in going that route.

    Oh yeah, your wife’s comment cracked me up. Obviously she’s taking this much better than you are. Did she lose books too?

    • Bryan, we’re thinking hard about doing Kindle books (those that are available) and thinking harder about actually getting a Kindle eReader and not just doing the free kindle app on the computer) for the very reasons you are mentioning – and for obvious reasons not all books will be available by Kindle by more and more they are. That is fine as I can focus on rebuilding reference stuff and keep the smaller lighter stuff on the eReader. So, that is a good suggestion

      Debbie lost a lot of stuff too – she didn’t have even close to as many books as I did but still she lost all her college/seminary notes/books, etc (we both did) and when they took the house probably 80-90% of our belongings went with the house due to mold damage: pictures from the past, clothing, our bed, mercy’s bed/crib, a day bed we had, games, blankets, towels, etc, whatever, you name it, all that; most all of Mercy’s toys and clothing were lost (Samuel was born just before we moved out so not too much for him to care about) GONE. If it was non porous we tried to keep it and clean it up (bleach water, etc)….

      that said, no, she did not have the same emotional attachment/identity issue with books like I do – it was upsetting but she was really affected by the mold in her own body (especially after Samuel was born since he had to come by c-section and her immunity was down) she’d break out in massive hives, rashes all kinds of stuff – it was terrible – so she just wanted to be rid of whatever made us sick – me? I was a fool and tried to think maybe I could save my books and continued to jepordize my families health in doing so.

      What do you think about getting the actual kindle reader verses just using the free app on the computer?

      Bitsy – thanks for your thoughtfulness.

      • Brian, just remember that computers can die, kindles can break. What happened to you can happen in any variety of ways.
        I love my kindle but most of the stuff you’re looking for is not available.
        God will be faithful.

  14. Oh man Brian! That is awful. I’ve been cleaning out my books little by little. While I don’t know that any of the religious ones will be on your list, I’ll be happy to send you any that are.

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  16. Brian,

    Your post has moved me.

    I felt lead to send you my copy of Grenz’s Theology for the Community of God, his Renewing the Center, and the 1st edition of Grenz’s Sexual Ethics. I’m also adding a couple more. There is no need to keep all the books I have, since our possessions are for sharing.

    • yeah, I need to work in that – I did make a list (excel file), not of EVERY book but just the ones that I had to decide were really essentials (though there are others I listed – deciding what is and isn’t essential can be challenging!) – I need to figure a way to post that.

      • To post your Excel file you need to insert it into a blog post just like you would an image. There is a star-shaped button (at the top by Upload/Insert) called Add Media, click on it. Then select your Excel doc and upload it. The last step is to click Insert Into Post at the bottom, which will hyper-link to your file in your blog post.

        Also, you might be able to make a second wishlist that only has the essential books listed. If you go to your wishlist on the left there is an option to create a new wishlist with a new name.

        I would guess that if you can get both of these things done this weekend you have a good chance of getting many of them replaced. If you put up a new wishlist and linked to the Excel document in a new post, all of your blog readers could link and trackback to it all over the place… I know I will.

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  18. Brian;
    I have a number of charismatic devotional books from the 60’s & 70’s that you might have thrown out and not listed. If you let me know what you had; I will have a look in my boxes and send them to you.

  19. On the kindle reader. Ron bought me a netbook last year so that I could do Kindle and Nook. I have loved it. Most of the time, my iPod is fabulous for both, but there are times when I need to read graphs/charts/tables and it’s awful for that because of it’s size. The netbook also has other uses and it’s easy to travel with, but the cons are not as long a battery life (although the one he got me does get about 10 hours), neither Kindle or Nook has all the features and it’s a little bigger.

  20. Thanks Craig!

    to all others, if you do decide to get something off my wish list please know it is kind of a mish mash of stuff and not well sorted out and sometimes I add stuff to save and look at or think about later to decide if it is any good – so if you see something and know it isn’t that great or whatever, use your own judgment about that if you know what I mean.

    Thanks again for all the gracious generosity and support! It’s moving really! 🙂

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  23. Mark Stevens :

    Brian, just remember that computers can die, kindles can break. What happened to you can happen in any variety of ways.
    I love my kindle but most of the stuff you’re looking for is not available.
    God will be faithful.

    Mark I think when you buy a kindle book you always have access to it either by comp, or kindle or other. if you really want to, there is a book called creation untamed by freitheim that is only $9.99 as a kindle book. He is a Lutheran OT Scholar/Theologian. 🙂

  24. Living in Papua New Guinea, I often have to clean mold off of books, of course, I suspect it’s not “toxic mold.” What I have done is gently wipe the books with a damp rag dipped in a mild bleach water solution. Years later, formerly moldy books are still mold free. Perhaps it’s not worth the risk in your case, though.

  25. Hey man,

    I’m away from home for the semester but when I get back I have a number of books that I’d love to send your way if you are interested:

    1. The Politics of Jesus by Yoder
    2. The Story of Romans by A. Katherine Grieb
    3. An Updated translation of Plato’s Republic
    4. The Last Word by N.T. Wright
    5. Simply Christian by N.T. Wright
    6. Acts commentary by Willimon
    7. Commentary on Luke by Tannehill
    8. Commentary on Judges/Ruth by Younger (NIV Application)
    9. Roger Scruton’s short history on modern philosophy
    10. Commentary on Galatians by Scot Mcknight
    11. The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen
    If any of these catch your eye, or if you want all of them, take them. I can’t stand half of ’em, and they say that one mans trash is another man’s treasure. I’d be happy for you to take them off my hands. all of them are in virtually perfect condition. Email me at blue_steel14@hotmail.com

  26. Brian:
    I’m personally not a fan of the Kindle or really any e-ink reader. I had one for 2 months and gave it to my wife. It’s good for casual reading like of fiction or maybe biographies, but not really for anything you have to move around in or want to really annotate. It’s just too slow and limited. As Bitsy mentioned a netbook is really good for Kindle books, plus it has other functionality. I also had a Nook Color which I hacked (rooted) and was able to put the Kindle app on it and it was also really great: 7 inch high resolution screen, long battery life (long for the type of device it is), small and light, can do other stuff too like surf the web, email, video, music, other ebook apps, etc. For $250 it was a great deal (especially since I paid about $250 for the Kindle when I got it only a year earlier).

    That’s terrible that y’all lost so much and your health was so affected. I’m really sorry to hear that.

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  29. Nathan Stitt :

    To post your Excel file you need to insert it into a blog post just like you would an image. There is a star-shaped button (at the top by Upload/Insert) called Add Media, click on it. Then select your Excel doc and upload it. The last step is to click Insert Into Post at the bottom, which will hyper-link to your file in your blog post.

    Also, you might be able to make a second wishlist that only has the essential books listed. If you go to your wishlist on the left there is an option to create a new wishlist with a new name.

    I would guess that if you can get both of these things done this weekend you have a good chance of getting many of them replaced. If you put up a new wishlist and linked to the Excel document in a new post, all of your blog readers could link and trackback to it all over the place… I know I will.

    Nate – that is a good tip! I am working on it right now! 🙂

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  42. That totally sucks that you had to not only live in a toxic environment for so long but that you had to get rid of your precious books. So sorry to hear about it. 😦

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