Friday, September 02, 2005

Books and Xianity, Part Deux

I poked my head into a christian bookstore the other day, killing a few minutes before I had to be somewhere. Browsing the book section (it's kind of funny that there is a book section in a bookstore isn't it? Maybe just a little funny?), I noticed something kind of disturbing, at least disturbing to me. What I wanted to look at were theology-type books. But I couldn't find them. What I could find were many, many books of "christian fiction." In theory, I have no problem with "christian fiction" existing (except for the general idea that I don't think christians should be promoting the division of "sacred vs secular" in any type of art medium, e.g. music, visual/fine art, etc.). But certainly that should not make up 90% of the books in a christian bookstore, or any bookstore for that matter. So that made me kind of sad.

In thinking about this, I began to think about other types of books that seem prevalent in either christian bookstores, or in the religion-christianity section of a general bookstore. Aside from fiction, there are an unusually large amount of books on morality. All that is well and good. But the message of these books, at least the popular ones, seem to be about the immorality of those "out there". That is, they are books about why "we" are good and need to be on the watch for the evil of "them". It just seemed odd to me that books written by people who proclaim the name of the One who said "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:5) are focused so much more on the evil of "them" than on the evil of "me." Not that immorality of others should be ignored, but there seems to be plenty of immorality going on by "us", enough at any rate to keep us busy or at least warrent at least as many books as the immorality of "them." But then again, nobody wants to pay money to read something that convicts and challenges them. Paying money to read about how bad those outside my group are is much easier and certainly much more satisfying emotionally.

On another note, I was at Borders a while back, and noticed something that I thought was really funny. So funny that I had to go grab the wife and tell her (for the record, I'm not sure if she thought it was as funny as I did, but she humored me). I was poking around the philosophy section. Next to the philosophy section, they have their Metaphysics section. Not good metaphysics a la Aristotle, etc., but the weird new-agey kind. Anyway, next to that was the New Age section. Next to that was the section entitled Astrology. Then the section entitled Astral Projection. Then (this is the funny part) there was the section entitled Speculation. If your not laughing, at least a little to yourself, here's why I found this funny. The section was actually called Speculation, and it was in the row of sections that progressivly, let's face it, weird and more and more absurd. And by calling the section Speculation, it was as if they had given up on trying to make this stuff sound even remotely plausible.

Ok, it was at least funny to me.

Making fun of bookstores is so much fun.


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