In preparation for the long flights and anticipated sleepless nights on the PVA/AFE Outdoor Legends Tour to visit our servicemen and women in Southwest Asia, I was stalking the aisle of a favorite used bookstore last week. I know, I know—why not just download magazines and books on my iPad? Well, there’s no guarantee we’ll have much in the way of battery charging opportunities along the way. And, call me an old-timer, but there’s still something about a real ink-on-paper, lick-your-finger-to-turn-the-pages book that destresses me like no computer ever will.
I was working my way through the usual aisles and cubbies in the nonfiction sections when I made a different turn and found myself in a new aisle for me. The overhead sign said “Religion & Philosophy.”
These aren’t shelves I’d normally give much of a second glance, especially when I’m looking for reading material for the deer stand, but this time there may have been some divine intervention involved.
Many friends who I’ve told about the upcoming Outdoor Legends Tour have recommended I take along a travel-sized Bible. Those who have been in battle zones tell me reading the Bible there has an even deeper impact and meaning. As I glanced about the Religion stacks I notices shelf after shelf of Bibles, and there on the end of a bottom shelf was a small basket containing pocket-sized versions of the Bible. And there, in the very front of the basket, was a book titled "Heart of the Outdoors: The Bible for Sportsmen." It’s basically a new international version of the regular old Bible with “added commentary” from famous outdoor figures like Al Lindner, Dwight Schuh, Kathy Butt, Charlie Daniels, Ed Weatherby and more.
The Bible is not foreign to me. I’m the product of church-going parents, 9 years of Lutheran grade school and nearly 28 years of marriage to a devout Christian. But before the chance encounter at Half Price Books, I’d never before encountered a religious book, much less a Bible, targeted at hunters and fishermen. The coincidence of this book crossing my path at just this time was too much, so I paid the $3.95 price, and it’s in the pile of gear I’m taking on the Tour.
It’s funny ... I’m especially anxious to read the views of my fellow outdoors folk regarding how the Bible impacts our lives in the field. The stack of gear still needs some winnowing, but "Heart of the Outdoors" is for sure coming with.