I recently sought out to purchase a new book and remembering that I had a gift card for The Missing Peace [which is a local Christian bookshop] I went down with a friend to make my purchase. We were quite dismayed to discover that the place had closed down and was no longer open for business, which meant that my gift card was essentially null and void. We speculated when and why it shut down. Was it the high rent costs for small businesses in this city, the products they carried, the interest or lack thereof? That got me thinking that I could never run a successful Christian bookstore, for a few reasons.
- If I were selling books that speak about God and that seek to convey truths about who Christ is, I would consider it a ministry. I don’t know how the two can be separated. I am selling people books that have eternal implication for the souls of those that read them, and that is very serious. For that reason I would never be able to stock the kinds of big selling books and authors that typically lign the shelves at Christian book stores. Some authors that you would not find on my shelves would be TD Jakes, William P Young, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Brian Mclaren, Doug Paggit, Tony Jones, Rob Bell, and other like-minded ilk. Making a buck off those books is not going to happen. I wouldn’t have any of those authors in my store due to their propagation of elements of biblical heretodoxy that are unsound at best, with the other half being false teachers and straight up heretics at worst. How could I expose people to that and offer my tacit approval through promotion, selling and disseminating ? How could I in good conscience make available through my efforts this literature that offers deceptive opinions on God and the nature and person of Christ? You can also cross off books about people allegedly going to heaven and/or hell and writing their accounts about it.
- I also wouldn’t be able to sell all the goofy Christian trinkets, like pencils with bible verses, testamints, coins with angels on them, any and all precious memories figurines, tiny red-and-white life preservers that announce “Jesus Saves.” Fruit of the Spirit health drink for your soul, flashlights with “Jesus is the light of the world” on them. Coffee cups with verses ripped out of context like Jeremiah 29:11 and pictures of a spotted fawn with Psalm 42 “As a deep pants for water” slapped on. Bumper stickers that say “Jesus is my co-pilot”, t-shirts that say “spirit” Instead of “sprite” and all other kitschy Jesus junk. That’s a huge chunk of store profits, but I’m fairly certain the veins in my forehead would burst before I could engage in such goofiness.
- Don’t even get me started on the Music.
In retrospect, I’m not sure why the Missing Peace stocked their shelves with so many bad books. I don’t remember there being much kitschy stuff there anyway, and I don’t mean to suggest that the Missing Peace sold or supported any of those things. That sort of thing only bothers me a little, but not nearly as much as their seeming affinity for prosperity preachers [Joel Osteen, TBN Crowd] modalism [TD Jakes] and progressive emergence [Brian McLaren] If they did indeed consider their bookstore a ministry of sorts, then unfortunately there didn’t seem to be much discernment. It strikes me as a bad ministry with the promotion of some really bad theology, and if that’s the case then I’m actually kinda glad they went out of business. If they considered themselves simply a secular bookstore that just happened to stock a wide array of religious books, then I don’t have a problem with that, and I really wish I would have been able to redeem my 50$ before they shut down.