June 2, 2009
FedEx Treat Us Well--Mostly
Last week the FedEx truck rolled up the driveway of this telecommuting IVP editor. From my office I could hear Mr. Remo, our eighty-pound Shepherd mix, welcoming the truck with excited barks. You see, our regular FedEx man (and the UPS person before him) brings Mr. Remo dog treats. And for me it’s IVP mail, usually new books. So Mr. Remo and I both have something to look forward to in FedEx deliveries.
Well, the next thing I heard was the FedEx truck horn blowing.
Stepping out, I saw the delivery man inside his truck with the door closed. “No doubt a vacation substitute for our regular FedEx guy,” I thought. He wasn’t going to take any chances with this rabid, barking dog on the loose. (I detected a traumatic experience with dogs somewhere in this man’s past, one that could not be overcome by a wagging tail.)
I approached the van and the delivery man began to hand me the goods through a crack in the door. But as Mr. Remo made his move to stick his head in for his treat, the door was shut. I called him off. One more try and the package was in my hands. And while Mr. Remo wore a baffled where’s-my-treat? look, I knew from the size and heft of the box that I had my treat—more new IVP books to browse.
Lately an embarrassment of riches have been rolling out of IVP Academic and landing on my doorstep. Recently it’s been the first Ancient Christian Texts volume (Ambrosiaster’s commentary on Romans and 1 & 2 Corinthians), Tom Wright’s Justification, David Firth’s Apollos Old Testament Commentary on 1 & Samuel, Mark Noll’s The New Shape of World Christianity, Gary Habermas and Anthony Flew tackling the question Did the Resurrection Happen? and others. This week I hope to see John Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One (which I blogged on last week here and here) and Douglas Sweeney’s Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word land on my doorstep. You would think it’s September or October, when we release a truck load of books in time for the academic conferences.
Last week, to my delight, it was the first two volumes of the Ancient Christian Doctrine series, We Believe in One God and We Believe in One Lord Jesus Christ. The series editor is Tom Oden and the first volume is edited by Gerald Bray, the second by John Anthony McGuckin. Each volume comes with an introduction by the volume editor and the format is like that of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, with the text of the Nicene Creed guiding the volumes’ structure rather than the text of Scripture, and with patristic comments following.
For my morning cup of coffee, the ACD has quickly jumped the reading queue to first place. Sipping from these rich blossoms of patristic thought (florilegia) goes well with my aromatic mug of Columbian Supremo. And I mean sipping, for they invite and reward meditative reading.
I was going to say that I cannot imagine anyone teaching a course in systematic theology and not requiring these volumes as reading. But I realize that’s idealistic. So I will back off and say I can’t imagine my teaching a seminary course in systematics and not making these volumes required reading. They are a wonderful introduction to patristic thought—a virtual topical conversation by the fathers—and the volumes are broken out in a way that should fit many a one-year sequence of theology.
My concern now is that our regular FedEx delivery person gets back from vacation soon. I’m not sure how long Mr. Remo will gladly suffer “no treat” deliveries. (I’m dropping my old joke that the dog bones in the driveway are all that’s left of a FedEx driver who failed to comply.) And I fear my own treats will be dry up with a notice of “non-delivery for reason of vicious dog.”