His books are not a diminishment of historic and intellectual Christianity. They are a translation of Aquinas, Barth, Calvin, and the rest into the language we all speak innately but are all too often deaf to: the language of our quotidian lives, in which the undifferentiated mass of uncertain “certain things” forms the alphabet of grace.
Establishments like The Bookstore, when at their best, are not exclusively or perhaps even primarily in the business of providing people with printed texts. They are places in which proprietors like Tannenbaum foster community in the context of a shared love of the written word. When the need to physically isolate undermines the ability of such places to foster this community, they are at risk of becoming less essential to their patrons.
Fran Liebowitz suggests that “a book isn’t supposed to be a mirror, it’s supposed to be a door.” Universities are the same. They are not meant to simply reflect the times and trends. They are intended to open doors to existing knowledge and doors to a reimagined future.
Christian monastic pioneers saw that books left on the windowsill are more likely to make an impression on those outside than on those within.
I just completed Nicholas Carr's excellent book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, and--because that's the sort of person I...
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