A Little Retail Aversion Therapy

kinnon —  May 2, 2008 — 2 Comments

I promised myself I’d pick up Robbymac’s Post-Charismatic whilst here in the UK. This meant a trip to the local Christian bookstore in the town near us, here in Surrey.

They had one copy of Robby’s book. We purchased it. They also had a new Adrian Plass and the Mission-Shaped Questions book. Got those too.

But the shop itself gave me the heebie-jeebies. Joel Osteen stared down at me from the walls. A hand-written sign recommending his latest missive as one of “the best Christian books today.” Osteen and Joyce Meyer dominated the “best seller” section of the shelves.

Worship-industry CDs covered the walls like locusts. JIMB songs waiting for their ones and zeros to attack the laser of my CD-reader.

Worshipreneur Israel Houghton’s first foray into book writing watched me from the new book section. “Forward by Joel Osteen.” I thought of the time we waited two hours for Houghton to show up for an interview. (But that was in another life.) I wondered if it would feature a section on a worship leader’s need for humility.

The woman who entered the shop looking for a particular style of book completed the Twilight Zone nature of the moment – a moment in desperate need of Rod Serling’s narration.

She was looking for a book for a friend who couldn’t conceive. Her loud voice bounced off the dross-dipped racks, “it needs to be a book that tells stories of how faith can deliver God’s miracles.” I considered offering the Philip Yancey book struggling for shelf space in front of me, The Gift of Pain. But it would not have served her faith-filled purposes.

I paid.

And stumbled outside into the light.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to A Little Retail Aversion Therapy

  1. I had friends who started a Christian bookstore,well,for books.

    They had wonderful books, all kinds of books, Catholic, Protestant, dead and alive authors, books that challenged, taught.
    Then CBA happened, and wonderful books became harder to get.
    And then they needed to carry more Jesus junk because that is what people wanted. The Jesus junk and latest Christian celebrity author books paid the utility bill.
    And my friends got sadder.
    Then CCM took up more book space because that’s what people wanted.
    The listening stations and latest celebrity band CD’s paid the utility bill.
    And my friends got sadder.

    Last time I went into the store they told me they’d sold it. They couldn’t take it anymore. We talked about that. It was sad.

    I don’t blame them one bit. I’ve not been in a ‘Christian’ bookstore since.

  2. Bill … I am with you and Bene D on this one. I rarely go into Christian bookstores, can’t stand them. Even my preferred one, Ontario Christian Books in Streetsville, has the Jesus junk in the front half; you have to wade through it to get to Regent College authors at the back.


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