Hearts & Minds BookNotes

annotations, blurbs and ruminations

to enlarge the heart & stimulate the mind

and to happily generate mail order business for Hearts & Minds bookstore

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Location: Dallastown, PA

My lovely wife Beth and I own and operate--proprietors makes us sound more classy than we really are--a cluttered, diverse and independent bookstore in Central Pennsylvania. After well over 20 years, we are still not sure what to say when people ask if our shop is a "Christian bookstore." I do a monthly book review column over at our website; we hope that these new blogged bits will afford friends and customers the chance to see other books I happen to be reading, wishing to read, pretending that I read or at least believe that others should, if not read, know about. We have three children, attend a Presbyterian church in York, PA and have no hobbies.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Book of the Year?

Is Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith by Diana Butler Bass (Harper SanFransico; $23.95) the book of the year? Some surely think so, and we are very excited about it, as I posted earlier this week. As always, Diana is a gracious writer, an astute observer, and a faithful Christian servant, helping us all along the journey of faith as she explains the best practices of those vibrant mainline churches that she visited. It is quite a road-trip, a pilgrimage, and it is so well-written. I've got a few qualms here and there, some beefs I may write more about later. But, know this: it is among the best books I've read all year, and very important, interesting, and helpful.

Here are the chapter titles from Part II, which she calls "Ten Signposts of Renewal." (Her description of why signposts, a playful comparison of driving by map and intuition and real-time looking around rather than MapQuest is clever and insightful.) So here they are, signposts for the journey:


Know any churches that embody some of these practices as they form a counter-cultural spirituality for the sake of the world? Are they modeled after mega-churches? Did they get that way from strategic planning sessions and church growth seminars? Do they have strictly conservative theology? I didn't think so. Ms Bass is on to something, here, debunking the myth that only evangelical churches are growing, and inviting us to serious reflection on what it means to come home to authentic community in a vibrant mainline church.

It really may be the book of the year...

See the last blog post for the 25% off BookNotes Blog Special discount deal. Call us soon.

For a great link to the research project site that Bass worked for, go here (The Project on Congregations of Intentional Practice.)