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mcyoung27

Christian Bookstores

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BenReed   

I'm kebbie's long lost college friend. Thanks for visiting the blog. Though I've been described as a lovable cynic, I prefer the term realist. Missionary would also be appropriate. I'm just shining the light of truth into a very dark place.

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Andrew   

Welcome, Ben R! I've enjoyed what I've read of your blog so far. I'm still in shock about the decision of some Christian book stores to open on Sunday -- so much for keeping the Sabbath day holy, eh? Your blog is a helpful reminder that the Gospel message does not equal Christianity as it is widely practiced in the USA.

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BenReed   

The Christian bookstore I work for is open on Sundays from 1-5 pm. The employees are asked to work one Sunday a month, but we volunteer for the Sunday we would like.

The store is part of a family owned chain that is located throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. I cannot speak for Family Christian or any other large chain, but I know our owners struggled for awhile with the decision. I guess the store was always open on Sundays from Thanksgiving until Christmas, but this past year they decided to stay open every Sunday throughout the year.

For them the decision came down to a matter of stewardship. Retail venues charge them the same for rent whether they are open on Sundays or not. They felt it was a waste of money to remain closed.

What's crazy is how busy we are on Sundays -- and how rude most of the people are. It's not my fault they forgot to buy a baptism gift.

Anyway, I'm cynical enough that I think larger profits are still part of the motivation.

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MattPage   

Welcome Ben

We have an independent-ish bookshop in Loughborough, that doesn't have as much of the suave and expensive classy looking cheesy cringe inducing crap that you've described - it only has real tat. Soft focus posters of eighties be-clothed children with a bible verse plastered on it made all the more appeal ing as they seem to be pre-faded / dogeared.

What they don't know is that a large % of our church go there to buy ironic birthday presents - a competition to see who can get the worst item. As I type I look to the small foam american football that my wife gave me to sit on my desk, victoriously emblazoned with "Win with God", which testifies that what I say is true)

The best related story was when one of my friends decided to one of our friends such a present. On entering the shop he was delighted to find a bright yellow frisbee proclaiming "Smile, Jesus loves you"*. As he was paying the guy's face lights up (and it was already very very smiley). "I'm so glad you bought one of these" quoth he "I wasn't sure they would sell".

Suffice to say next time I went in said shop there was a whole rack devoted to selling said items.

Matt

*Quite what the point is of such an item is beyond me. Do the makers imagine it being used in a new form of beach evangelism where people pray frisbee hoping that someone will join in, and eventually noticing what the frisbee says and kneeling in the sand in repentance? Perhaps they hope that should the firsbee fly off target and strike passers by they'll pick it up and be struck by its simple yet profound message. Perhaps the more strategic disc-iples (sorry) will specifically pick out likely candidates to aim for, hoping not to knock their ice cream out of hand for fear of a lost opportunity? Of course such cold hearted strategy has no place in the post-modern church. What's the point of being so strategic that you can simply anoint the frisbee with prayer, and cast it randomly into the wind knowing that the Spirit will send it where he knows best, and send an angel down to ensure it reaches its unwitting target.

Matt (again)

Edited by MattPage

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BenReed   

I have a friend who works for a Christian publisher. He told me about a competition that takes place at the yearly convention they all go to. I guess all the sales reps from all the publishers get together and try to find the most offensive piece of merchandise they can. The "winner" has to buy the first round of drinks at the hotel bar.

One year, someone found a Christian wallpaper company that had just struck a deal with the Precious Moments people. They proceeded to create a border that depicted the Last Supper using Precious Moments figures. Now that is truly offensive.

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Crow   

my favorite is the painting of george w. nowthat'sjustcreepy.

Wow, I didn't know Washington and Lincoln were Charismatics. laugh.gif

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those of you who've posted to this thread should get a kick out of it. ben's a cynic, but he's a loveable cynic. and that makes all the difference.

I worked for the same chain...it makes you cynical after awhile. smile.gif

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Anyway, I'm cynical enough that I think larger profits are still part of the motivation.

Not a suprise to me. When I worked there I was told that the only reason the company carried Christian rock acts was for profit. That they actually didn't believe in it as an acceptable form of music-but it brought in cash. I was profoundly disappointed to hear this. That may have changed by now.

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I worked at the Edina store. But this was back in the early 1990's, back when it was a standalone store rather than inside the strip mall.

Which store do you work at?

Edited by Nezpop

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run   

So have you guys witnessed any Bible kleptomaniacs at your stores or people who just steal merchandise and try to return it for cash?

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BenReed   

Nezpop - I work at the Minnetonka store, which I guess used to be in Wayzata back when you worked for the evil empire.

run - We've had so much shoplifting that we now have to escort people to the bathroom and unlock the doors for them. I once found a wad of price stickers that had been taken off some copies of The Message - Gospel of John. They didn't even steal the entire book The Message, they stole a single Gospel that sold for less than $2. And they took 13 of them.

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Anya   

three cheers for Minnesota......I go to college in St. Bonifacius. I have to be honest and say I haven't bothered to find any nearby Christian bookstores there.........I tend to prefer B&N wink.gif

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Well, I just got back from a weeks vacation in Colorado Springs. Through a twisted turn of events my friend and I found ourselves on a Focus on the Family tour and in the Book center.

Yup! The evangelical papal figure himself is endorsing the Christina alternative to American girls. (What was wrong with Felicity, Sophia and Kit? And how nerdy would it be to go to a slumber party with the cheesy Christian doll instead of the super-duper cool Felicity of the initial American Girl Dolls).

Of course they had the Bush praying thing prominantly displayed as people entered.

In addition they have a section for singles. Since I am one I thought it would be interesting to see what the family man himself endorses for myself. Needless to say it was a great arrangement of Joshua Harris type stuff and True Love Waits literature for 20somethings. As I was holding a copy of a girl came up raving about the book. So I took this as an opportunity to encourage her to read A Sever Mercy by Vanauken (sp?). Of course Focus on the Family did not have it. . .

And to conclude this trip to the book center of Focus on the Family my friend and I saw the magazine version of the NIV which advertises the NT for girls to learn how to get a long with their mom and how to behave around boys. I don't know. . .maybe it's just me. . .but I thought I was supposed to read the Bible to get to know Jesus more, not for some utilitarian means to have a happier family. . .oh well

And finally when one enters the welcome center to go into the art exhibit (I didn't go in their for fear of loosing all control) there is a LARGE movie poster of The Passion which is signed by none other than evangelicals new best friend. . .Mel Gibson.

Anyways, just some "realism" to pass on to others!

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BethR   

Here's an online alternative to junk in Christian bookstores:

Mr. Gruff witnesses to atheists?

I'm not entirely sure they're serious, but the page does include a link to a Christian site, evidently with reconstructionist or theonomy leanings and advocating young-earth creationism, and Christian reconstructionists are usually VERY serious.

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(A&F link to the Donald Miller warning thread.) LifeWay has now turned into a parody of their own selves.

LifeWay Christian Resources refuses to carry Rachel Held Evans' second book -

Just ahead of the book’s release Oct. 30, evangelical author Rachel Held Evans announced that LifeWay Christian Resources had refused to stock her second work, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, which describes her humorous year-long attempt to follow the Bible’s rules for women. LifeWay, which is operated by the Southern Baptist Convention, gave no official reason for the censorship, but it wasn’t difficult to guess. Just a few months earlier, Evans had revealed a tangle with her publisher over the word “vagina,” the inclusion of which they feared would be too offensive for Christian bookstores. Evans had allowed other mild profanities (“damn,” “kick-ass”) to be stripped from her manuscript, but she drew the line at “vagina.” Her publisher, Thomas Nelson, allowed her to keep it in, but their fears proved correct ...

It was about four months ago, but in case you missed it, Evans wrote her take-down of Christian Bookstores here.

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Attica   

That's a great article.

On a related note. In the last several years I've attained several more literal Bibles, some of them such as Young's Literal and the Emphasized Bible were translated over a century ago, by buying them from the internet. I've never seen any of these particular Bibles in a Christian bookstore, only the King James family of Bibles such as NKJV, and NIV which a lot of Christians love.

I've sometimes wondered if these more literal Bibles often don't make it to Christian bookstores because their translations present some concepts that don't line up with the brand of Christianity that is often invested in the distribution, and bookstores.

Edited by Attica

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I obviously haven't read Evans' book yet. I've been disappointed and highly critical of Christian bookstores and retailers for a while now. But the reasons I'm hearing for why LifeWay has refused to carry her book still actually surprises me. I probably shouldn't be surprised but I still am. It's so ... just astronomically out of touch with the rest of the world (and from the younger generations). Being separate from the world is one thing, but this is just super highlighting their out-of-touchness. As Evans already pointed out, their banning The Blind Side is another crazy example. I love football and I didn't like The Blind Side because I thought it ran like a Hallmark movie. In spite of that, LifeWay banned it for offensive content.

There are way too many real life stories today that should only have appeared as parodies in The Onion.

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