A very good friend of mine suggested I read Rob Bell’s Love Wins and write about it for my blog. So I did, and I will. I got half-way through the book and decided that I wanted to buy a copy for my in-laws (my copy is from the local library). I thought that this would be the perfect excuse to visit the Family Christian Store in my town. I hadn’t been in one in over a decade. I remember buying devotionals and bibles and books for bible study groups there when I was in college. Even then the aesthetics and selection were off-putting.
As I walked around I reminded myself that this was no different than boring and badly designed ‘occult,’ pagan and/or New Age bookstores. Plenty of those have bad art, bland books, and silly tchotckes of their own (my own personal hell is riddled with half-naked porcelain fairies). Even though I visually fit more with the Family Christian Store clientele, I am more at ease in a goth-style shop. It was good to remember that no one demographic has the market on bad taste.
Today I noticed just how few books they sold. One corner was made up of items for churches: collection plates, stoles, etc. The back half was dominated by a wide array of Christian music. Christian music isn’t always awful, but mostly is, especially the stuff that was piped in over the speakers. One wall – and it was a big wall – was displaying ugly framed art and shelf after shelf of hideous porcelain tchotckes. A few shelves in the middle sold books.
I also noticed that the few books on politics were by Mike Huckabee, George Bush, Michelle Bachmann (although her’s might have been a memoir), and other politically and socially conservative folk. As far as I could tell, they didn’t have any politically or theologically liberal authors there.
And they didn’t have books by Rob Bell. Just books that clearly wanted to be his.