Mike Reith, contributed
Two years ago an odd thing happened in Clovis, though few noticed. A gateway appeared—a portal that takes those who enter into a place very different from the world they know. It’s not a new concept—humans have long been fascinated by the idea. Alice had her looking glass. Dr. Who traveled in a police call box named Tardis. C.S. Lewis disguised his as a simple wardrobe. My personal favorite is the Stargate—when you walk through, you find yourself in another world somewhere across the galaxy.
More about the Clovis portal later …
Can technology produce portals and gateways? Time will tell. But portals of a different kind do exist today—places where serious effort has made possible what is otherwise unlikely. Most portals are found in the form of libraries that store massive collections of books concerning a particular area of human knowledge. Some are in the form of museums that have collected and organized resources from around the world. Portals are passageways to a richer and fuller understanding of truth.
But such places are few and far between, and not accessible or near to most of us. And even when they are, we find ourselves facing more information than we can possibly sort through, much less read. The Internet has given us the ability to locate data, but it’s still difficult to weigh what is important, what is less helpful, and what is false and misleading.
Museums have a unique way of handling the problem of comparing and sorting. A curator works somewhere in the bowels of the building, examining new finds. He has a knowledge of the breadth and depth of what exists. He understands the subject well enough to know which items are the most valuable specimens, which are genuine, which are fake, and which convey the most information to the museum’s visitors.
The most beautiful quality of truth is that it cannot be destroyed. It is of God. God is Truth, and all truth must be consistent with who he is. Or, it’s something else. It can be twisted and distorted, for a time. But it remains. It can still be found. As Francis Schaeffer proclaimed
in his book, “He is there, and He is not silent.” God has spoken to us in the collections of writings we call the Holy Bible, and very clearly concerning the means of salvation.
With 2,000 years of Christianity behind us, there is an enormous collection of additional writings that expand our understanding of the Bible. The authors range from Augustine to Luther, and from Calvin to the well known writers of our own time. So many books, so little time. Can we find the gems? Is there a curator of Christian writing and books?
Some work has been done for us. Past giants of the Christian faith identified the best thoughts that expounded Biblical truth. They, too, sought to study the knowledge and wisdom of past theologians and writers. Some of the results were creeds, confessions, and catechisms that you may find as the doctrinal foundations of your church. And those same giants of the faith then contributed their own writings to us in the form of even more books. The stack got higher and harder to sort through.
Visions of a Portal
Several years ago, Ed Flores experienced a growing passion to make accessible the treasures of the past two millennia. After prayer, contemplation, much research, and seeking counsel, Ed set out to make possible something that did not exist in our area—a portal to the best Christian material that he could reasonably assemble. Ed wanted it to meet the needs of any visitor—from the non-Christian seeking something about Christianity, to the Christian seeking a firmer foundation and a broader understanding of truth.
The Clovis Book Nook is more than a treasure trove of truth. It’s a place where any person can walk in off the street and receive a warm and caring smile, and if God wills, hear the gospel. And
they can walk out with one or more books that will fit them well. Ed and his wife Linda offer selections from a large menu that is sure to please the new Christian seeking meat and potatoes, the parent seeking good material for a child, or something for even the well-read pastor or theologian. As I write this, over 900 titles sit on the shelves. Thick or thin, easy or challenging, new and used, they range from simple pamphlets to in-depth writings. And you will find excellent Bibles for people of any age.
What you won’t find is just as important as what you will find. You won’t find the standard fare of the average Christian book and gift shop. Ed strives to ensure that every text offered addresses the truths of the Bible. Sorry—no selection of colorful Bible covers, no music, and no inspirational decorations, coffee mugs, or knick-knacks.
The Book Nook isn’t about business. It’s a non-profit effort to reach the lost and feed the sheep. When a person comes in searching for meaning in life, or is simply curious about Christianity, Ed and Linda switch seamlessly out of guide mode and into sincere and loving evangelists. I have been honored to meet regularly with Ed and other men to lift these people up to our gracious Lord, praying that they may come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And nobody is left hanging. If someone is looking for a church, Ed and Linda are always ready to recommend one or more of the many local church congregations.
Is it Amazon or Barnes and Noble? Thankfully, no. It’s something much better. It’s a portal. With a guide. And, it’s about books that glorify God (and with a good coffee shop across the street.)
Join me in wishing Ed and Linda a hearty “Thank You” and “Godspeed.” And please stand with me in praying that God would use the Book Nook to save the lost and feed the Valley, from the milk of the gospel to the meat of the Reformation.