The World According to kcillini77

February 24, 2007

It’s True, But Will It Sell?

Filed under: America,Christianity — kcillini77 @ 10:04 am

don’t want the song i want a jingle
i love you Lord but don’t hear a single
and the truth is nearly impossible to rhyme

but i know the songs with all the hooks
and i know some lies that will sell some books
so grab ‘em fast, i’m running outta time

just keep selling truth in candy bars
on billboards and backs of cars
truth without context, my favorite of all my crimes

Derek Webb, Ballad in Plain Red

On my last trip to Mardel, a Christian bookstore in our area, I found a great bargain on the clearance shelf. The book was Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror, by Os Guinness. Published less than two years ago, this hardcover was offered for the bottom basement price of $6.97 in order to clear space on the shelves. I’m only to page 38 so I’m not ready to give a review, but I can tell you that Guinness is a profound author who wrestles mightily with truth and does not shy from it. The book is not fun, it doesn’t promise ten steps to happiness, but it is leading me to examine the human condition and my life.

Before I searched the bargain bins and found this gem, I was welcomed by a huge display of the latest bestsellers. To be sure, there are wonderful authors up there that have a lot to teach us: Max Lucado, Rick Warren, John Eldredge, Beth Moore, for example. But mixed in are the works of self-help “experts” who relay the latest trends in pop psychology peppered with Christianese (think Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, TD Jakes). Also there are doomsday prophets who point to the next technology as the mark of the beast and lead millions of Christians down the road of speculation based on esoteric readings of scripture alongside current events (John Hagee, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins).

I never want to pay more than I have to for books, but this trip reminded me why I prefer to buy my books from an outlet like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Don’t they sell all of those same books, along with obscene material and pornography? Yes, but they don’t sell under the pretense of being a Christian store. They ARE the world, what they sell represents the world. I am happy that they even sell books that represent truth in their mix.

I recognize that there are numerous strains of theology and eschatology in Christendom. I may have offended you by calling out an author you respect as being one I don’t agree with. But here’s the point. As Christians, we should care deeply about truth, wisdom, and discernment. If I ran a Christian bookstore, I would not refuse to carry any authors. In fact I would probably stock authors like Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins for the purpose of comparative study. But my feature shelf would not be based on what has sold the most copies. It would be full of books that speak truth most powerfully. If I didn’t, I think I would be held accountable for knowingly steering people to junk theology.

My bookstore would probably go bankrupt in six months.


  1. But if you sold coffee, I would go, read a few pages of several books and put them back on the shelf….and I would at least buy a cup-o-Joe!

    Comment by Joshua — February 24, 2007 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  2. Not if I didn’t make good coffee!

    Comment by kcillini77 — February 24, 2007 @ 10:46 am | Reply

  3. sweet. Glad we see eye to eye. BTW, thanks for visiting the blog.

    Comment by Kevin Leggett — February 24, 2007 @ 10:15 pm | Reply

  4. Os Guiness for 6.50! Wow, now that’s a steal, no, that’s highway robbery.

    Matt, give me an email so that I know your email address. Reach me at michael [dot] r [dot] caron A*T gmail. I hope that’s spamified enough.

    Comment by Mike — February 28, 2007 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

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