Day 119 – Christian Bookstores: Dens of Robbers?

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them,“‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” Luke 19: 45-46 NIV

You know the first thing that came to mind as I read this passage tonight?

How sick I get when I walk into a Christian bookstore, one in particular.

It’s about all I can do to run in, find the book I want (they carry a handful of decent books) and run out.

But most of the time, I am appalled at the fact that these stores are making money in Jesus’ name, while at the same time:

  • Not just selling, but promoting horrific books that insult the gospel. Really, these books are treasonous –  teaching Christians to expect God to bless them as if He is a cosmic Santa Claus, not the One who told us to take up our cross and to expect persecution and suffering.

    Rembrandt’s Paul in Prison     (Now THIS is art!)

  • Then there’s the so-called art. What a bunch of crap. Just tacky junk that insults our Savior’s creativity. Do you think you can find a single reprint of  Rembrandt or Tintoretto in one of these places? Not a chance. Nor do I see the really fine paintings of Christian artists I know (who sell really well in secular settings).
  • Then of course there are the CDs and DVDs. I admit, I have been blessed by much modern Christian music, but what is it with so many horrific Christian movies and videos? The single worst movie I ever saw was one from the Left Behind series. Veggie Tales is a happy exception to the rule of mediocrity.

Why do the Christian bookstores sell this crap? Because people buy it. I have no idea why the Christian community has such poor taste, but it is a dim reflection of our Creator.

I really believe some many of these stores are no better than the money changers. They push “Christian” bestsellers, even if by selling these books, they lead the body of Christ astray.

I feel such anger about this. Can you tell?

Every time I go to this one particular bookstore, I find myself muttering my disgust (of course, all gussied up in nice words) to the hapless sales folks.

Maybe I just need to go in and drive everyone out, knock over the tables, break a few Christian tchotchkes, burn a few books.

However, Christ’s anger was righteous. I am not sure mine is. Maybe I just don’t like being associated with people of bad taste and poor judgment.

In any case, I just decided – I am not going to patronize this particular bookstore anymore, even though it’s a hassle to drive across town to a less offensive Christian bookstore or order something on the Internet and wait for its arrival or hunt in secular stores for Christmas decor that actually incorporates Jesus and his birth.

It’s just plain bad stewardship to let these “Christian” bookstores  make any money off of my purchases.

Just sayin’.

Today’s Readings: Ruth 1:1-2:23, Psalm 52:1-7, Proverbs 15:4-5, Luke 19:28-48. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).

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6 thoughts on “Day 119 – Christian Bookstores: Dens of Robbers?

    • Ha. I read that scary article and actually put a link to this post in the comments there and have received some visitors back here! The Lifeway bookstore is better in our town then the one I know refuse to visit. I still don’t get why they have bad art in these stores. This year of blogging has shown me so much good Biblical art out there. Almost every day I can find a classic painting illustrating the passage I am reading. Also, I have no doubt that Lifeway forces and huge SBC connections helped land Beth Moore and Rick Warren, etc., in the bestseller lists…

      • It’s like Christian radio. It’s possible to put out a thousand compilations of holy words with a decent tune, but it’s not that common to find a really well-crafted song with meaningful lyrics.

        And I don’t know if they just don’t have an audience / market for it, but it would be nice to find more scholarly works available in those stores.

        I used to collect Precious Moments, back in the day when being a Christian felt revolutionary, and I was astounded to learn that someone actually made sweet Christian figurines.

  1. I stumbled across your blog and liked what I read.

    Also, I completely agree about Christian bookstores and trinkets and other things in general. I feel that if we, as Christians, want to be taken seriously, we have to take EVERYTHING about it seriously. Knick knacks can be cute, yes, but most of it is crap. It would be nice for a Christian movie to come out that isn’t hokey or slaps you across the face with the message in the first 2 minutes of the movie.

    Perhaps I am being harsh, but it also annoys me that secular things can be of such creative and artistic value, but almost as soon as the Christian label is placed on something, its value diminishes because of things like that. I think that things are starting to head in the right direction and that Christian things are starting to be presented in equal aesthetic value, but we still have so far to go.

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