Bags of Bran

I’ll Start My Pursuit of Humility by Selling off My Books
June 9, 2016, 4:45 pm
Filed under: Destined to get me in trouble

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

-Erasmus of Rotterdam

I recently read a short article entitled “You Don’t Need a Massive Personal Library.” As far as it goes with the given motivations, it is good advice: if your motive is to have an imposing presentation office like a seminary executive or CEO pastor, then your large library would be so many peacock feathers, and about as useful. What is interesting to me is that the author assumes that a) these professional Christians need/read/use the books in their fancy libraries; and b) that having a library beyond a few hundred volumes smacks of hubris unless the owner is a professional Christian. He also assumes that bookshelves are trophy cases, and cannot be put in out-of-the-way places. So the books must go.

A man decides to start his new life of humility by getting rid of his books. It sounds like the plot of a P. G. Wodehouse story, or a tale of the Wise Men of Chelm.

If you are prone to narcissism to the point where you think that your library needs to go away, perhaps it’s time to examine some other things. For example, you don’t need to go to expensive conferences, whence you probably impulse-bought many of your books. You don’t need expensive suits (or expensive jeans, now that we’re post-Driscoll). You don’t need trendy glasses or pomade. You don’t need Apple products. You don’t need to drive a new car. You don’t need a new motorcycle. You don’t need season tickets. You don’t need a big screen. You don’t need your wife to be a trophy wife. Your kids can wear hand-me-downs. Your home can be modestly furnished. You don’t need to get a haircut every eight days. You don’t need a gym membership. You don’t need to eat at expensive restaurants.

Why you’d start your new life of humility by getting rid of books is beyond me, but if you’ve addressed all of the above and still find yourself pierced through because of your burgeoning shelves, by all means. We’ve got Google now.


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Ummm… is it contagious? – Mum 😉


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