We live in an age of brittle celebrity. You can become famous for, well, being famous. Some of the most popular shows on television are aimed at catapulting unknowns into stardom, and while these shows may be about the people we see on the stage, we know it’s really about us. You don’t publish a book, a play or a song without a pre-existing platform, and in the circular reasoning of book publishing, you gain a platform by first being famous. And what is the evolution of prayer books and rosary beads to smart phones if nothing else but a search for personal meaning? We have all become journalists and photographers and our subjects are ourselves.
The Christian community is marginally in a better place but not immune, although one could argue we should be. Mega-church pastors become Christian celebrities; some Christian authors sell books simply by putting their names on the covers. And we buy and consume according to Christian fads, trends and what’s hot at the moment, much like our secular cohorts do. And perhaps we wonder if only Christian celebrities are the ones who can accomplish the big things for God.
And then comes along a book, a small book, a book about the small things, the little things, the small steps, the people whose names will never be plastered across a mega-church marquee, a book that says what we Christians know to be true: it’s not about who you are, or how big your following, or how big your platform, or how recognizable your name is in George Barna’s polls. It’s about your willingness to serve right where you are, because God doesn’t care how famous you are.
“Most of us will make a difference in this world,” writes Deidra Riggs in Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are, “but not because of some grand or large-scale initiative. No, most of us will change our corner of the world and make an impact that stands the test of time through the small and seemingly insignificant (to us) interactions and decisions and conversations of our average days. We make a difference where we live, and incrementally, that place begins to shift (emphasis added).”
The lady knows of what she speaks. She writes from life experiences – jumping from an airplane, the chopping down of a beloved cherry tree, fear of the water (as in ocean), moving from a comfortable Philadelphia suburb to what looks like the end of the earth (flyover country, aka Nebraska), a baby daughter rushed to the hospital. She ties each life experience to Scripture, and she does it in a conversational way, a real way, like you’re sitting with her at the kitchen table and she is telling you her story and it turns out to be your story at the same time.
Riggs is a writer and editor, and she’s also the wife of a pastor. That move to Nebraska? Her husband accepted a position at a church in Lincoln. Initially, things didn’t go well, whether it was the mice in the pantry or parishioners leaving the church with no explanation. She will tell you, and she does: she was miserable, and kept questioning herself, her husband, and God. Seven years passed before she reached the point she did when riding her bike one day: “This is good.” And she could see what God had seen – the difference she and her husband would be making.
Every Little Thing is more than a good book. It’s something that even many Christian books aren’t: it is a true book. It is the experience and wisdom of one woman speaking our common language of the heart, our common language of faith.
Photograph by Lode Van de Velde via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.