So I’ve walked into a Christian bookstore lately. One of the two big chains in Australia, Koorong. Which is far superior than Word Bookstore, IMHO.
A long time ago, I would have been attracted straight to the tables which contain piles of the latest book by some-megachurch-pastor-i’ve-never-heard-of-but-i’m-sure-it’s-gonna-be-good-because-look-at-the-promotions-and-that-snazzy-front-cover. Not any more.
Now I head straight to the markdowns section. Apart from being a cheap-ass Asian (we damn near always look for bargains), these days I find the best value and quality books there at maybe 30-40% of the regular retail price. Because everyone else is buying the books by said megachurch pastor or some televangelist that happens to be on at 4-something am on commercial television here in Australia. But the good stuff, by say N.T. Wright, or even John Piper (even though I don’t necessarily agree with his views all the time) is there in the markdown/remainders bin/table from A$26 to A$7. What others don’t buy works out well for me.
And at the time of said trip to Christian bookstore, I was there because my mom and I had to pick up a gift for a housewarming party. A plaque of some kind that is inscribed with some Bible verse or a cheesy like heck slogan on a piece of wood about 25cm x 10cm in size. For forty-something bucks. And I couldn’t help but notice how cheesy and ridiculously overpriced the gifts were. I didn’t bat an eyelid at the rest of the trinkets on sale there (including those famous “Testa-Mints” which will make your breath minty-fresh the Christian way instead of the way those heathen Eclipse mints will).
Jeff Dunn’s beaten me to the punch in terms of recent posts on the amount of “Christian crap” there is in Christian stores now.
His essay “Selling Jesus By The Pound” on Internet Monk is compelling reading for anyone who has entered into a Christian store and thought to themselves “If I buy one of these plaques for a housewarming, it will be much better than spending less money on a similar plaque, without the Christian sentiment, that looks better and is designed better at the department store.”
Or who has lamented at seeing yet another book by Joel Osteen on sale on how I can have my better life now. Or something like that. *stifles the urge to puke*
Or who has seriously thought that listening to a Christian band or watching a Christian movie is much better than listening to or watching a “secular one”.
He is doing a series that continues on from this first piece and the next article up is “Surprise! God Does Art”.
I’m looking forward to more of Jeff’s analysis.