Skip to content ↓

The Future of Discerning Reader

Articles Collection cover image

In early 2006 I became the owner of Discerning Reader. Some may remember that before I owned the domain name, it was a bookstore and one that shut down and disappeared under strange and sudden circumstances. A few months after the store closed, the domain went up for auction and I purchased it. In April of 2006 I relaunched it as a book review site dedicated to discerning reviews of books that are of interest to Christians. (The real old-timers around here may remember that I had an existing book review site that I folded into Discerning Reader.)

My hope was that the site would fulfill several functions:

  • It would become a place where a great group of reviewers would review books that Christians were reading or considering reading.
  • It would become a place where we would be able to link to other discerning reviews from across the Net, building a “meta” site for reviews.
  • It would become a valued part of the blogosphere, sharing information about new books, upcoming books, and so on, thus making it a hub for Christian readers.
  • It would become a place that would resource churches and ministries, helping them to spread the news about worthwhile books.

Sadly, Discerning Reader has never been able to become all that I had envisioned. With all of my responsibilities in life, it was never able to get the first or best attention; with all of my financial responsibilities in life, it was never able to get the infrastructure and staffing that it required. What saddens me is that I know there is still a place for Discerning Reader and that each of these four functions, if done with excellence, would make it a valuable resource for Christian readers.

I still believe in the vision I had for Discerning Reader, but I am increasingly convinced that I will not be able to get it there. Thus it saddens me to say that I am planning on shutting down the site. There are several options I am considering:

  • Dormancy. Holding on to the site but allowing it to go dormant. This means that all the existing content will remain, at least for a while, but there will be no new updates.
  • Selling. I may sell the site and the domain to someone who has a similar vision but who has the time, resources and energy to make it more than it is today. Alternatively, I may sell the domain to someone who wants to use it for a very different purpose (though I would do all I can to ensure it didn’t go to someone who was going to turn it into a spam site or something else inappropriate).
  • Overseeing. I may hold on to the site and find someone who can manage it. In this model I would need to work out a way to pay someone for his work, potentially by re-launching after a Kickstarter campaign or something similar.

Either way, the site cannot and will not continue in its current format. Since I cannot do it with excellence, I would rather find a way that something excellent can be done there.

If you are interested in purchasing the domain or if you have any other thoughts about its future, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me (If you to know about buying it, please contact me instead of leaving a comment).

I would like to express my gratitude to all the people who visited the site over the years and to the many people who prepared reviews for it. I’d especially like to thank Mark Tubbs whose assistance and management of Discerning Reader has been invaluable.


  • Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    It is something we have all observed at one time or another and something we have all wondered about. Why is it that those who seem most likely to come to Christ so often reject him? Why is it that those hear the boldest invitations and who have the greatest opportunities so commonly turn away?…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (February 17)

    A La Carte: Think you’re immune to adultery? / One of the most hopeful reminders about sanctification / What do we do with dreams and visions? / Have you ever asked your church elders to visit and pray for you? / The neurodivergent believer / Preaching advice for busy pastors / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Open the Bible)

    This week’s Free Stuff Friday is sponsored by Open the Bible. They encourage you to enter to win a series of books from Open the Bible and Pastor Colin Smith! Included in the giveaway are: For All Who Grieve by Pastor Colin Smith. Written with compassion and understanding, yet honestly facing the difficult questions that…

  • Moral Vision

    From Washington & Jefferson to Trump & Biden

    The United States has produced more than its fair share of fascinating figures. Over the course of its storied history, it has produced a host of figures who have shaped the nation, the continent, and the world. Many of these have been its presidents and politicians, though others have been its inventors, its business leaders,…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 16)

    A La Carte: What does the Bible say about dealing with divisive people? / How local churches can bridge a widening gender divide / Never preach to one person / Five pictures of the church / Two ways, two ends / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 15)

    A La Carte: This is what courage looks like / An important ministry skill no one talks about / Why you can’t get to heaven through the Mormon faith / Questions a pastor doesn’t want to ask / Christian displays of affection / Help! I don’t enjoy the Old Testament / and more.