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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Disappointed Reader

A little over a year ago, a good friend of mine recommended to me The Discerning Reader website and store for some good books at a great price. When I check it out, I was pleased to see that he was right! Not only that, but I found some great articles and the site called Antithesis which had some great Reformed stuff there. That was then. I am a little late on this train, but I feel that I should share my thoughts as a "disappointed reader". What happened to these guys? Do they not realize what a shabby job they have done with their business, and worse what has come of their inclinations and ideologies? As far as the business goes, there have been a number of complaints filed online as far as their business ethic and customer service/relations. For example, here is a complaint I found dated November 14, 2004, and another dated June 25, 2004. Tim Challies has also written about his encounter with the guys at The Discerning Reader in detail (dated December 2, 2004). Finally, Phil Johnson, in his great list of recommended and not-so recommended links has commented on the change-of-heart at the Discerning Reader. He says in his annotation: The story of this company's sudden meltdown is one of the saddest and most bizarre sagas of the Christian Web. The Discerning Reader is a Medford, OR-based bookselling business that over the years sponsored several excellent and well-designed Web sites—including Antithesis, Christian counterculture, and a colorful critique of postmodernism. At least ninety percent of their book recommendations were excellent and insightful. We highly recommended them for more than two years.Then complaints began to multiply about customer service problems at The Discerning Reader. Customer-service difficulties per se are inevitable and an understandable part of doing business by mail. What was disturbing here was the coarse and pugnacious way owner Rob Schläpfer lashed out at his customers with profanity-laced abuse. We know this is a fact, because (even though we never complained about customer service,) as we have sought to understand and make sense of the changes taking place on the various Discerning Reader-sponsored Web sites, we have more than once been on the receiving end of some choice but unprintable expletives from Mr. Schläpfer. As the controversy grew regarding Mr. Schlapfer and his abuse of customers, he began to attack the theological stance he himself had at first claimed to represent. He hypocritically wagged his finger at Reformed Christians, suggesting that their theology made them abusive and unloving. He has now given a wholesale endorsement and his highest rating to a book calling for evangelicals to embrace postmodernism. Since we once recommended this site and its sister sites with the highest accolades, we think it only fair to issue an equally strong warning: Discernment seems to be in very short supply these days at The Discerning Reader. Caveat emptor. Challies also has a forum where others have discussed this matter at length. Aside from the business side, these guys have become bed-buddies with post-modernism, and articles aforementioned in the quote by Johnson can attest to this. One has to wonder what instigated such a change among what was once a credible, creative, cheap place to buy great books. As you can see, I have taken them off my list of links on the side and will not be recommending them in the future. Sorry Discerning Reader, but I too disappointed in your lack of discernment.


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