Saturday, August 28, 2010
Damaging the Cambridge ESV: 2 Days Inside a Dirty Backpack With Over Five Inches of Rain
Some of you are wincing right now. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. This time, He preserved. I took my Cambridge Wide Margin ESV on a two day backpacking adventure with a group of six inner city Detroit High School students, during which time my Goatskin Bible was pressed into a 60 pound pack and endured rain and dirt. The results were troubling, but I am blessed to still have the Bible in full working condition, with only superficial damage. Some of you may ask why on earth was I so foolhardy as to pack my most precious possession on such an expedition. Firstly, before I bought the Bible I made a commitment to the Lord not to obsess over it. Yes it was expensive, and yes it contains my unreproducible thoughts on God's word, but it's still just a book and I have other Bibles. Secondly, I wanted to have it with me for comfort. The trip was intense physically, spiritually and emotionally (a number of the students were emotionally disturbed and threatened physical harm). Lastly, I was working long days on 4-5 hours of sleep after days with long physical activity and my judgment was probably not the best.
Lets assess the damage (or lack thereof):
One of the reasons I bought the goatskin leather, smyth sewn Bible was its durability. I wanted something that would survive the tribulation (for others' sake or mine: no controversy intended). This Bible should last a lifetime, although I may have forfeited the manufacturer's warranty at this point. As you can see the art gilding was rather severely damaged on top and the pages are somewhat wrinkled and stiff in the top corner. A large amount of dirt crept into the gutter as well; I picked most of it out, but some remains to be dislodged.
The most disappointing damage personally was on the soft, supple goatskin cover, which now has a few marks where items in the backpack pressed impressions into the leather. While this does not make me overjoyed, it was bound to pick up some blemishes and I hope to grow old with this Bible full of battle scars.
Overall the Bible underwent the trial amazingly well. It is fully functional. The pages are slightly wrinkled and have some orange discoloration where the art gilding was rubbed off and bled through. The gilding on the top is roughed up quite a bit and the cover has some impressions pressed into the leather, but in a few months this will just be character and will remind me of the ministry. My hat goes off to Cambridge for creating a product that survives such an ordeal with grace, and my thanks goes to God for preserving my possession while still humbling me and devaluing material things.