Thursday, February 02, 2006

Trip to the Christian Bookstore

Thanks for tuning in. I've been busy putting together another blog, a politically-oriented one, and trying to figure out which ways to go with it.

I took a trip to the Christian bookstore today. We have a very large Family Christian Store in our town out near the mall, and every once in awhile I get bored and go in. 20 years ago we had 5 Christian bookstores within a twenty minute drive; now we have two. Time has not been kind to the mom-and-pop variety Christian bookstore. These days, unless you are part of a big chain or you serve some specific constituency (Catholics, African-Americans, fundamentalists), you can't survive.

When I first got saved Christian bookstores were a lifeline for me. I hooked up with the latest bands (when Christian music was about ministry) and see a decent variety of books. After awhile I was even helping other consumers with knowing bands and musical styles. These days the variety of music has greatly expanded, but the selection of books haven't. Whereas in times past you might see two copies each of thirty different books, classics and modern ones, these days you might see thirty copies of two different books. You likely will see few books from more than five years ago, unless it's purpose-driven or asking what Jesus would do.

And the subjects have changed. I saw a book today entitled The Naked Christian, which encouraged an authentic and honest faith. I respect the sentiment and agree with it, but I remember about 15 years ago when the band The Seventy-Sevens released an album they wanted to title Pray Naked. It was released with the band name as the title and the name of the song "Pray Naked" blotted out. How things have changed.

And is it just me or are there a lot of books about sex in the Christian bookstores these days? I guess that's a sign that the subject is no longer taboo, that we feel freer in discussing it. OK, I guess. Or it could be a sign that Christians are just obsessed with the subject to a degree on par with the rest of society. Moving on....

You want the fad books, you got 'em. The Purpose-Driven this, the Purpose-Driven that. WWJD merchandise has been relegated to the discount rack to make more shelf space for Joel Osteen. Attempts are still being made to cash in on current trends in popular culture. "Desperate Housewives in the Bible"? Yeah, that's going to make people forget about Spurgeon. Emergent church, emergent worship, emerging as a post-modern emergent emerger- check.

I'm also not comfortable with the number of politically-oriented books that populate the shelves. I think it perpetuates the myth that to be a Christian means that you need to be a conservative flag-wearer. Maybe they think that the liberals don't bother with Christian retail outlets and get all of their books at Borders or Barnes and Noble. Well, you certainly can get them cheaper there. But I digress.

I remember the day when I could go into the Christian bookstore and get something of substance, something that would make a change in my life, something that would hit my spirit hard. These days it's like cotton candy. Sure, it can fill you up, but it's all empty calories.

I bought my son a couple of birthday presents, and then I actually did pick up a book for myself. A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McClaren. There might be a blog entry out of this book. We'll see.


Blogger Barefoot Guy said...

I am a musician who has been heavily influenced by Keith Green. I would be honored if you would check out my music. All music on my site is free for download.

I don't mean to be a pest, so if this message is an annoyance, please delete it and accept my humblest of apologies. I just want to share my music with people who love Jesus.

"All my music is free."

12:07 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home