Thinking Out Loud

June 13, 2012

Wednesday Link List

Did you catch the weekend link list? Lots of good stuff there, and here, too.

  • First link today is long — I didn’t get through all five pages — but it’s interesting: When we think of unreached people groups, we tend to think of groups that are marginalized, but Eric Metaxas says we should also consider reaching the elites. (Hey, that’s easy for him now that he’s preached the Presidential Prayer Breakfast…)
  • Brad Lomenick Skypes with worship songwriter Tim Hughes in London. Tim serves on staff at HTB, the birthplace of The Alpha Course.
  • Really enjoying the Phil Vischer podcast with Skye Jethani.  Episode two is now available to download or stream live.
  • Shai Linne is a Christian rap artist who, “eloquently explains the trinitarian nature of salvation with poetic clarity.”  Check out the video for Triune Praise.
  • Revell Publishing will issue a biography from Patty Mallette, aka Justin Bieber’s mom. “…a teen mom who had to overcome a drug and alcohol addiction; she now believes God gives second chances. The book is titled Nowhere But Up.
  • The SCL’s keep on coming: Here’s 12 Signs You Attend a Suburban Church.
  • When Jared Wilson left Nashville for rural Vermont, he was told the move was a real career killer.  But, reminded by Tim Keller, we need to jettison the mindset that small(er) town ministry is second rate.
  • InterVarsity Press’ Andy LePeau cites a study that shows enhanced (interactive) ebooks actually yield lower comprehension.
  • Truthinator posted a “parody of Emergent Church Planting” at Xtra Normal a few years too late, but we through it in here anyway.
  • Dan Gouge points out that for some people, the final takeaway from the tsunami in Japan is that Maru the cat survived.
  • Marriage Corner: Some people feel that patriarchy is based on pragmatics: “Somebody has to make the final decision. Somebody has to break the tie.” Richard Beck thinks there are not that many tie votes. (See all submissions — pun accidental — in this synchroblog series here.)
  • Should you date a non-Christian? I think you know where this is going. “Don’t misunderstand me here. You’re not looking for a saint, but you are looking for someone with a hungry heart for Jesus. If that’s present, Jesus will take care of the rest.”  The reasons are practical.
  • Looking for a smile today? Here’s a video and some analysis of what could be the worst eschatological song ever.
  • Gotta go…time for some food:

November 16, 2010

Losing a Christian Bookstore, Even in a Small Town, Is Sad

The staff at the Christian bookstore where I hang out several days a week has reason to be concerned.   Christian bookstores have been dropping like flies over the past few years.    For all the reasons you know, plus in Canada, one extra one:  Deflation.

Deflation is what happens to a business when its costs are going up, but the retail price of its products are going down.   It happens in Canada because the retail price of Christian books is indexed to the U.S. price, and the Canadian dollar has been holding its own during a period where the U.S. dollar has been battered on world markets.

So while our brothers and sisters in the U.S. have lost their stores because their economy has been so devastated, the resulting effect on their dollar means stores here have been hit hard because our economy is so strong, relatively.   (Don’t worry if you don’t get that.   I’ve been writing a blog for two years now just for Christian retail store owners, and not all of them fully understand the full ramifications of selling in deflationary times.)

The staff have been cautiously asking questions about the long-term direction of our little set of two stores.    I’ve told them not to be careful in asking questions.   This is a rough time for brick-and-mortar bookstores of all stripes, and every question can be on the table.

But I’m not really sure how to answer their questions.   I feel like God was in this when we established it all those years ago.   I often tell the stories of how God brought our little business into being.   But I don’t always see God at work in the day to day maintenance and ongoing operations of those stores.   There are encouraging moments, but mostly the sense we get is that things are slowly drawing to a close.

There are two reasons for this.

First of all we live in a province — Ontario — that is currently governed at what most of my readers would call the state level by a liberal government that is very, very anti-business.   Especially small business.   There is not enough space in this blog to list all the things that they have ‘undone’ during their time in power.  And are continuing to ‘undo.’   With all due respect to any entrepreneurs reading this who happen to live where I live, you’d have to be nuts to start a small business in the province of Ontario.

Second, one of our stores is located in a town where mathematics has dictated that one local church actually holds the deciding vote on which way our store there will go.   How can I explain this?   Remember a past Presidential election when it all came down to the Electoral College votes from the state of Florida?  Well,  Florida didn’t ask to be in that position.   They didn’t know, going in, that it would all come down to their state’s ballots.   But the mathematics of the situation ended up handing them the final election decision.    In this case, a local church that is ordering many, many, many packages of Christian resources per month online is holding the deciding vote.   And we’ve told them that.  And we’ve told them we’re sorry that the dynamics of the situation has ended up where it is.

A Christian bookstore has a whole lot to offer a local community.   I’m determined not to be another casualty — we even joked a few years back about being the last one standing — but with each passing day we see the proverbial marker writing on the proverbial whiteboard.

The only lighter moment today came from my youngest son:  “So, Dad, is there any way you can get paid to write a blog?”

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