Please bear with me. Fresh on my mind is something that came in the mail this afternoon [Tuesday 27 November]: a Christmas catalogue for a well-known “Christian bookstore” chain. Yes, you’ve –no doubt– heard of the chain. In fact, you’ve probably darkened their doors before. Well, some of you might even be avid shoppers in their aisles. Please simply hear me out…
I use the term “bookstore” very lightly, for their selection of BOOKS is a bit sparse amid all of the following, which is why I also use the term “Christian” with a pinch or two of salt:
- a “Christian” note writing set in a fancy decorative pump shoe
- “Christian” tumblers (one for your frozen drinks and one for your hot drinks)
- “Christian” tobogans
- a “Christian” baking dish
- “Christian” apple cider
- “Christian” notebooks
- “Christian” shower gel
- “Christian” body scrub
- “Christian” body lotion
- a “Christian” alarm clock
I’m not saying that none of these items are appropriate for a Christian store; neither am I saying that any of these items are inherently bad. What I am saying is that our “Christian bookstores” are so littered with everything but books that they hardly carry anything remotely resembling great books. Take a look at the theology section (probably a single shelf). Take a look at the biblical scholarship sections (probably a couple of shelves, one for the OT and another for the NT). Most of the books you’ll find are written –not by those gifted in these respective fields, but– by anyone with a recognizable name who “pastors” a few thousand people.
Furthermore, I’m also saying that the content of our “Christian bookstores” is the tell-tale of our pop-“Christian” culture. We want our Christianity miles and miles wide and just a smidgen [or two, depending on the day of the week] deep.