Thursday, December 19, 2013

I Visited a Christian Bookstore Today

I visited a Christian bookstore today.  It was a national chain.  It was packed full of cheerful shoppers.  With happy Christmas muzak flowing from the speakers

Perhaps 'bookstore' is a bit of a misnomer.  Less than a third of the floor space was devoted to books.  Being somewhat interested in history, I looked in vain for a single title having anything to do with Christian history.  At least they had four shelves under the label of 'Theology'.  Four shelves.  A small portion of one aisle.  Had I been interested in 'Christian Fiction' or 'Christian Romance' I would have found aisles and aisles full of the latest hot titles and authors.  At least as hot as one can be under the label 'Christian Fiction'.  There was a burgeoning Christian Music section.  But the CD covers all had variations on the 'disaffected group of males with distracted stares' theme, as unimaginative as the mass-produced muzak dulling my sense of hearing and doing who-knows-what to my brain.  I wonder if scientists have done studies on the effect of constant exposure to Christmas muzak on one's cognitive abilities.

But it was what I found in the rest of the store that was just amazing.  I got permission from a clerk and wandered around with my little camera.  This is what I saw.

Such a cheerful tree ornament emblazoned with colorful implements of Roman torture and death.
I confess I've never seen 'Scripture Candy' before.
I hope the risen Lord of the Universe has a sense of humor...
It took me a while to connect the gummi caterpillars and butterflies with Jesus.  Am I supposed to meditate on spiritual transformation while I eat the butterfly? Still working on this one.
Another depiction of a Roman means of execution, emblazoned with an American flag (why?) and the Lord's prayer for good measure.  Covering all bases.
These flag emblazoned execution implements are evidently popular.  Too bad the quote is about Israel and not about us.
So cute!  And spiritual, too.  You can feel good about giving this to just about anyone!
I love the subtle, not too obvious, witnessing value of this natty hat.
I'm not sure what a 'Cardinal Snow Globe' has to do with the Glory of God, but I may be thinking too hard on this one.
How could anyone refuse 'a message from God'?  An ideal gift for your non-Christian relatives and friends.
Just think of all the witnessing opportunities this 'soar on eagle's wings' wallet will open up for you!
Still trying to figure out what the Roman implement of execution, slogan and verse have to do with the sewing kit inside...  I'm stumped.

And now, it being a 'bookstore' and all, there are lots of different kinds of bibles.  These are just a few of the lots and lots one can choose from:
How could I, of all people, resist the 'Safari Bible'?
And I'm sure there's a niche market for this somewhere.

I cannot for the life of me figure out what the 'flora & fauna Bible' is all about.
The historian in me thinks this is a bit creepy, but I'm trying not to judge a book by its cover.
The Bible to resolve all difficulties?
My elementary school was segregated until 1969.  I'm so relieved they've finally taken steps to integrate at least this Bible.
It's already pretty long.  I'm not sure how much more [expanded] it needs to be.
Words escape me.  Just weird.
My favorite.  I must have one.
All those Bibles require something to carry them around in:

On my way to the door, I came across a few more choice items that I had to muster all the willpower I could to keep myself from rushing to the cash register and emptying my wallet.  Here's one:

I'm sure it was only a matter of time.  Will my hands get cleaner because it's 'Scriptural'?
This is what most of the store looked like.  So you can see that I really had to pick and choose what to share with you, dear reader.
I must say, that was an astonishing cultural experience.  I learned that 'bookstore' doesn't necessarily mean 'bookstore'.  I also learned that 'Christian' more often than not means having some sort of Scripture verse or Christian emblem or slogan affixed to the item or its packaging.  And I also learned that American Christians seem to think this is normal.  I've been in Africa way too long.

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