Toronto's best bookstore

While we were away last week, we stumbled across the best bookstore I've found in Toronto. It's a dangerous place and I wouldn't want to go there often for fear of having to sign over my paycheck. The name of the place is Nicholas Hoare. Toronto Life says:
The most beautiful bookstore in Toronto, this Front Street enclave lets the books sell themselves. No booming soundtracks or importunate clerks, just quiet music, creaking floors and hundreds of beautiful books turned outward like icons in a church...There are no section titles (the better to make you browse, my dear), and the whole place whets the literary appetite.
I'll be going back.

Nothing but it

I was reading in U2BYU2 about the early days of the band. They would go to these music competitions and see other bands. A lot of these bands were a lot more skilled. Bono says:
There were bands there that could play in time and in tune and with great confidence, all of which we couldn't pull off. But, you know, some bands have everything but it. We had nothing but it.
I've been in churches that have everything but it. I'm longing to be part of a church that has nothing but it.

To create an earthly thing

This post is from the defunct blog "Dying Church"

Last week I talked about an old book called Brethren, Hang Loose. Robert Girard reached a crisis point in ministry when he came across a book by Watchman Nee. Here's a sample of what he read:

To create an earthly thing is easy for us. If we are content with an outward, technical Christianity - a "movement" based on an earthly foundation, with an earthly structure and organization - then it is quite possible for us to do the thing ourselves. But we have been apprehended for something utterly different from this. The Church is spiritual, and her work is heavenly. It must never become earth-bound.

Pastoral ambition

This post is from the defunct blog "Dying Church"

From Soul Journey:

"I am convinced that personal pastoral ambition, and a pastoral ethic centered around productivity and success is brutal to our souls and destructive to the souls of the people we lead. I believe there is a better way. But it requires us to walk right into the messiness of our own ambitious hearts, ready to die to those ambitions. We must become skilled at detecting the odor of personal ambition, then flee from it as if the church's future depends on it. For I believe it does." -Kent Carlson

What needs to change

This post is from the defunct blog "Dying Church"

Connor Carney comments on my latest column at Christian Week:

I know exactly 2 people my age who go to church on any kind of regular basis. Most of the rest would never set foot in a church -- and it's not because the church places too many demands on them.

The church, in fact, either makes no demands at all on people, or makes only demands related to supporting the church. These aren't the kinds of demands that make an organization worth joining. As much as modern Christian leaders like to talk about making the church more "relevant" to the culture, they're usually just talking about modern music or casual dress or new technology.

But no music, dress code, or technology will make the church relevant. The church is relevant if and only if it changes lives. And, frankly, the church is not changing very many lives. Church members come to church, are entertained by well-produced music and smooth speeches, and then go home and live their lives in pretty much the same way they did before. If the church is going to survive through my generation, that is what needs to change.