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Bill Reimer on the Regent College Bookstore

If he shall not lose his reward who gives a cup of cold water to his thirsty neighbor, what will not be the reward of those who by putting good books into the hands of those neighbours, open to them the fountains of eternal life? – Thomas a Kempis

Earlier this year, at a celebration of Bill Reimer’s 65th birthday, Loren Wilkinson noted,

“For over a quarter of a century, Bill has done his best to make available, to a steadily growing public, books that explore every facet of the Christian belief that the incarnation of the Creator God in Jesus is an essential guide to living in and understanding our increasingly complex world.”

A former Regent College student sent us this article which appeared in the Regent College Bookstore Blog. I’ve shortened it slightly on the one hand, but on the other, I’ve reiterated the quotation which appears above since it deserves to be posted somewhere in all our stores. (Under the circumstances, we had to steal the picture as well!)

Click the title below to read in its entirety:

Theology’s Last (book)Stand?

For 29 years I have worked in the back corner at my desk on the floor of the Regent College Bookstore, surrounded by volumes of biblical studies and commentaries. We have 272 linear feet devoted to biblical studies and 120 feet to theology. Additional footage is devoted to a broad range of Christian studies: poetry, literature, history, biography and of course a good selection of bibles; even 40 feet for CS Lewis and friends. If you have traveled this continent or been abroad then you know that there are literally only a handful of theological bookstores that remain…

How has bookselling changed people often ask me? I once wrote a blog about this … Since then the world of bookselling has changed forever. In some ways books have become more accessible in remote places. But much has been lost.

Here are a few of few of my observations from back in 2005:

  • Regent Bookstore remains one of the few stores in the world, on a public university campus, that sells a wide selection of books in the area of Christian Studies.
  • Regent Bookstore is non-profit and is owned and operated by Regent College. All proceeds go towards the operation of Regent College programs.
  • Regent Bookstore is an employment centre for Regent students and their spouses.
  • Regent Bookstore sponsors lectures by authors and speakers.

All of these observations still apply to Regent Bookstore in 2018. We remain on the UBC campus and have regular customers who are agnostics or atheists but they tend to like this place even though as a religious institution there is an invisible barrier around it in the eyes of many…

The store began in the early 1970s. The 1960s and 1970s saw a renaissance of Christian book publishing.

It is not surprising that Regent College sprang up during this time. Klaus Bockmuehl, late professor of theology at Regent, writing out of this period commented:

The printed word remains also today an ideal tool of Christian proclamation facing a powerful spirit of secularism and Godlessness: it may well again prove a sling of David for a giant doomed to destruction.

Maybe this sounds a bit grandiose today but those were the days when there was a battle for “truth.” Klaus ended his essay on books by retrieving the words of Thomas a Kempis, written 700 years before:

If he shall not lose his reward who gives a cup of cold water to his thirsty neighbor, what will not be the reward of those who by putting good books into the hands of those neighbours, open to them the fountains of eternal life?

This is a collective challenge to the Church. Many bookstores have survived by “crowd sourcing”. Thus far Regent Bookstore has not needed a fundraising campaign in order to continue on. You enable us to exist by buying books for your edification. Consider buying a book, reading it, and then passing it on to a friend. Finally, if you live afield then consider supporting us by purchasing downloads of Regent lectures at regentaudio.com. **


*Quotation source: Celebrating Bill Reimer, Regent website.
**Now through November 30th the site is offering free audio in honour of Eugene Peterson.

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