“From Powell’s to the Prophet”

by DanWolgemuth on October 21, 2011

An extra couple of hours in Portland before a scheduled flight allowed Mary and me to visit the famous Powell’s Bookstore in downtown Portland. We parked within a block of the store and then walked to Burnside Street where we got our first view of the store. To say that the façade and general appearance of this landmark retail store was unimpressive would be a grand understatement. Frankly, I was convinced that we had obtained the wrong address… but not so.

Once inside the store my doubt and skepticism vanished… and nearly instantly. What a place. Technology of the highest order is incapable of competing with such accessible inventory; engaging nearly every sense in a shopping experience that was unforgettable.

Mary wandered to the Rose Room where Children’s Books were the order of the day; she’s always thinking of the expanding role of “Emmie” in our household… but as for me, it was the Red Room where books on Theology, Philosophy and Christian Doctrine dominated the shelves. I was a captive… and the time evaporated.

While I relished the time, I was also tutored by it. For on the Theology and Christian Doctrine shelves was a collection of wildly divergent perspectives on the faith in Jesus the Christ. Some of the volumes, in fact, positioned other thought and insight as superior to the claims of Christ. In sixty minutes I wandered through the condition of the human soul… in print. The leaning of the human will is positioned toward self-reliance and arrogant independence. From the Garden of Eden, to boardrooms, to the blight in urban neighborhoods, the enticement is the same… ME and ME first.

In reading the Old Testament prophet Micah, it’s almost as though he had walked the aisles of Powell’s before I did; he wrote:

“For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.” ~ Micah 4:5 (ESV)

… in the name of its god…

How twenty-first century. How culturally appropriate. How Pacific Northwest. “If it works for you… that’s great; I’m happy for you.”

But truth is… well, just that, truth. And it divides even as it unites. It flushes out the phony and it exposes the counterfeit.

The prophet Micah nailed it again:

“You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine. ~ Micah 6:14-15 (ESV)

Faith in lies lived out in full color… hundreds of years before Jesus, and two thousand years after.

The truth aligns our soul with the things of God… it liberates us, it satisfies us, it nourishes us, and it exposes the darkness for what it is.

From the aisles of Powell’s to the pen of Micah… the battle rages for the souls of mankind. “… but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.”

In His timeless truth.

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