Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Travesty of Modern Christian Bookstores

So, last week I experienced a shock when I crossed the threshold of our local Christian bookstore. Well, to be perfectly honest, it was series of shocks.

I mean, first off, where are the books? To be fair, I must admit that this franchise dropped the "book" part of their name a couple years ago. It's now just a store. A Christian store. So, I guess the emphasis is no longer on the book part of the store.

Which is rather obvious when of the available merchandise real estate, less than 25% contained books.

I went to the bookstore looking for several copies of Passion and Purity. There was not a single copy of this book on the shelves! (or even in the back) Now, I know that this is partly my fault for waiting until the last minute. (okay, 90% my fault) But, it's a classic, people! Reading it changed my life.

But, this is not the end of the day's travesties.

There was not a single copy of any book written by Elisabeth Elliot! Not one. Not Shadow of the Almighty or Through the Gates of Splendor. Not A Chance to Die or Let Me Be a Woman. Not a copy of any of her more than 20 titles. None.

That's a sad commentary on any store that carries Christian books.

But the saddest thing of all is that the girl manning the register had never even heard of Elisabeth Elliot. That was shocking to me. How can you mingle in Christian circles in the USA and not have heard of Elisabeth Elliot?

She knew of Lisa Terkeurst and Ann Voskamp and Jennie Allen. She'd heard of Jesus Calling, Prayer of Jabez, 40 Days of Purpose, 1000 Gifts, and Duck Dynasty devotionals.

Which brings me to the last (and maybe not least) shocking thing about the bookstore that is not a bookstore.

Duck Dynasty.

I love watching Duck Dynasty. It makes me laugh. I applaud their stand on issues. I'm a fan.

But, I must not be that be that big a fan because I am not a fan of walking into my Christian bookstore and being inundated with DD. (especially when there is no EE to temper things)

It would be one thing if there was a display containing all the DD episodes on DVD. But, that is only the tip of the tragic iceberg. There is a plethora of DD merchandise in the gifts section, t-shirt section, and media section.

And, while they may not carry Elisabeth Elliot's classics, they do carry Duck Dynasty titles in most of their book genre sections. Men's issues, women's issues, marriage, dating, Bibles, devotional, Christian living, biographies and even charismatic. It hasn't hit fiction yet, but I'm sure it won't be long...

I wish I was exaggerating.

I bet Miss Kay knows who Elisabeth Elliot is...

Maybe my Christian bookstore expectations are too high.

I think it must not be a commentary on the store, so much as on the general populace. Because stores carry what sells.

So, if they aren't carrying much more than DD, we must not be buying it.

And therein lies the real tragedy.

Are we more willing to read books that tickle our ears than books that convict our hearts and are the impetus for changing our lives? Have we lost our discernment? Have we traded meat for milk?

Do I just need to change my Christian bookstore?

Maybe all is not lost...I was able to purchase 4 copies of My Utmost for His Highest. Another classic. Another life changer.

What are your thoughts on Christian bookstores?