Books and My Friend Lance
Last week, I lost a dear friend to cancer. Lance was the manager of a splendid little bookstore in Streetsville, ON called Ontario Christian Books. I discovered this book store in the mid-nineties while pastoring in Campbellville ON, and it became a place that fed my soul through stimulating conversation, wonderful friendship, and many marvellous books! I’ve always loved to read, but, my relationship with Lance and his inner sanctum of wonderful tomes, took that love to a new level of learning about spiritual reading, and to some specific volumes that forever altered my way of seeing the world. Spiritual reading is one of the means by which we are spiritually formed. We discover wise companions whom the Holy Spirit uses to inspire us by their writing and reflecting. Sadly the sustained attention that spiritual reading requires is in short supply these days as we have become enslaved by our digital devices and betrayed by our miniscule attention spans. I am no less distracted than the rest of you, but, I have a sacred history with some extraordinary books that keep me seeking their presence. This also keeps me coming back to bookstores and their offerings of life. Alas, for many different reason, there will not be many Ontario Christian Books around before too long. However, churches are learning communities; and when those stores have disappeared we will be much the healthier by creating our own book stations, our own conversations stimulated by reading, and our own Lances – literary mentors who will lead us to the right books for the right time in our lives.