Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On Books

I was in my local Borders’ the other evening. Although I have friends who once were in the Christian bookstore business, I still prefer the larger chains. Reason? Books! They actually have books! Many of the Christian bookstores I have seen seem to have anything but books. Sure, I can purchase Prayer of Jabez travel coffee mugs, Witness Wear T-shirts, and prints of bodybuilders dressed as angels, wings and all (if you’ve seen these pictures, you know what I mean. If not, well, they’re beyond description). Conspicuously absent from many Christian books stores are an ample supply of books. In fact, some have dropped the word “book” from their title.

Years ago, there was a Christian bookstore about 30 miles from my house that actually carried an impressive selection of books. I found commentaries, language and reference works – it even carried a complete collection of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit. Not too long ago, I visited the store again and discovered that they had moved to a strip mall on the edge of town. Now in a new location, they acquiesced to the spirit of the age. I no longer found the selection of books I expected. But if I wanted the latest CD of whatever Christian grunge band was currently “hot,” I was in the right place. I was surrounded by gawd-awful art, music, and all things Rick Warren and Joel Osteen. I was very disappointed.

My intent in this was to post some thoughts on reading, but the rabbit trail beckoned. I will save that for another time. I mentioned my friends who owned a Christian bookstore. They sold the business. The owners said that, if they had their way, they would stock substantial supplies of theology and commentaries and such like. But they also knew that in so doing they would lose their shirts. The Christian community is not interested in the stuff that some would like to stock. For these books, we will need to look elsewhere. That’s why I have links to 2 online book dealers that carry the “tools of the trade.”

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