‘Christian bookstores’ and the unsustainable bubble of the evangelical subculture

Some evangelical “gatekeepers” imagine they can still control the boundaries of their subculture and thereby can continue to control the lives and souls and thoughts and imaginations of those within it.

Or, if you prefer to put the most charitable spin on it, these gatekeepers imagine they can still guard the boundaries of that subculture and thereby protect the lives, souls, thoughts and imaginations of those within.

That used to work. It doesn’t anymore. The gatekeepers are still ferociously guarding their gates, but the walls on either side of those gates have crumbled into dust.

Consider the latest losing battle for these gatekeepers — a lopsided defeat in which they seem to imagine they’re still the winners: LifeWay Christian Bookstores will no longer be carrying DVDs of the movie The Blind Side.

Pastor Rodney L. Baker of Hopeful Baptist Church of Lake City submitted a resolution to the Southern Baptist Convention, demanding that LifeWay pull the PG-13 film over its language content.

“BE IT RESOLVED that the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in annual session June 17- 20, 2012, in New Orleans, expresses dissatisfaction with ‘The Blindside’ and any product that contains explicit profanity, God’s name in vain, and racial slur,” reads the resolution in part.

The resolution will be introduced to the Southern Baptist Convention at its Annual Meeting next week in New Orleans.

Although LifeWay has already agreed to pull The Blind Side, Baker still intends to submit the resolution as a way of sending a message about LifeWay and the content of its products.

Marty King, communications director for LifeWay, [said] he had hoped the move on the part of the book store would remove the controversy from the New Orleans meeting.

King understands how this works. “Controversy” is Step 1. Step 2 is to resolve the controversy by banning anything that any gatekeeper suggests might be “controversial.”

The Rev. Rodney L. Baker’s resolution didn’t pass, but he still got his wish — ensuring that good Southern Baptists in good Southern Baptist bookstores will be protected from profanity and Sandra Bullock. But if Baker imagines that this will somehow keep Southern Baptists from buying, owning and enjoying this movie, then he’s living in a fantasy of the distant past.

Here is the Amazon listing for The Blind Side on DVD. You can buy it new for $7.56 or used for $1.50 or so. The page also features tons of five-star reviews from viewers who describe it as “family friendly,” “inspirational” and “uplifting.”

LifeWay Christian Bookstores is a large and still-influential chain with 165 locations across the country. But which do you suppose sells more DVDs — LifeWay or Amazon? Do you think it’s even close?

More people shop at Amazon. More Southern Baptists shop at Amazon. More conservative, evangelical and fundamentalist Southern Baptists shop at Amazon. Southern Baptist evangelicals are still buying and watching The Blind Side, but LifeWay no longer sees any of the revenue from those sales.

The walls are gone and no one — not even conservative, sheltered, evangelical-leaning-fundamentalist Southern Baptists — needs to go through the gates or the gatekeepers anymore.

Mass media — from television to FM radio — chipped away at those walls for decades. Then the Internet came along and bulldozed them to the ground. (See earlier: “The evangelical bubble cannot be sustained, part 1” and “The evangelical bubble cannot be sustained, part 2.”)

But even though those walls are gone and cannot be rebuilt, the gatekeepers still maintain some of their power — partly through inertia and custom, partly through demagoguery that convinces their intimidated followers to pretend the walls are still there.

The so-called Christian bookstores still help to shape the evangelical subculture, even though its borders have become much more porous. Their timidly, tepidly cautious conservatism eschews all potential “controversy” and they have, through long habit, trained Christian publishers to adopt a similarly cautious, timid and tepid approach.

Rachel Held Evans discusses the chilling effect this has in a recent post titled “Christian bookstores and their chokehold on the industry“:

Christian bookstores have developed a reputation for producing a highly sanitized customer experience, purging from their shelves any language, content, or theology that doesn’t meet their uber-conservative standards. Walk into your local LifeWay and you will find plenty of Precious Moments statues, specialty Bibles, Veggie Tale movies, and Thomas Kinkade prints … but little trace of art or literature that intrigues, agitates, and inspires — as true art should! The Christian bookstore experience is, in a word, safe. But safe is not how Christians are called to live, and safe is not what artists who are Christians are called to create. In fact, based on LifeWay’s own standards, the Bible itself — which includes profanity, violence, and sex — should be banned from the shelves.

What most people don’t realize, however, is that the problem of sanitized Christian bookstores extends far beyond the inventory on the shelves to create an entire Christian subculture that is so sanitized and safe it often fails to produce art that is relevant to our culture or our lives.

Now I’m going to say something that will probably get me into some trouble, something that many editors and writers are afraid to say for fear of losing their jobs or their book contracts, but something which desperately needs to be spoken out loud: Christian bookstores have a chokehold on the Christian publishing industry. And this chokehold not only affects the inventory you find on Christian bookstore shelves, but which books are contracted by publishers, what content gets edited in the writing and editing process, and the degree of freedom authors feel they have to speak on their own blogs and platforms. As a result, the entire Christian industry has been sanitized, while its best artists look elsewhere for publication.

Evans gives several examples to illustrate the point, then describes how this chilling effect also influences the theology, politics and academic credibility of the evangelical subculture:

But what is perhaps most disturbing about this whole culture is the pervasive, stifling fear it has created among writers, editors, and publishers. I have spoken to former editors who left Christian publishing because they were exhausted from living with the fear that they would be fired for sticking their necks out and championing “edgy” projects. I know authors who are afraid to share their egalitarian views on their blogs because they might lose their book contracts. I too have hesitated before being honest about my views on gender, politics, and homosexuality for fear of repercussions. No one seems to like that the industry is this way, but many are just too afraid to challenge it.

For all the amazing people who work in Christian publishing, and for all the amazing books they produce every year, there is this undercurrent of fear and insecurity that undoubtedly stifles our collective creativity. And this fear and insecurity is a direct result of the unreasonable standards held up by Christian bookstores.

All true. And desperately sad once you realize just how little it takes for a project to be regarded as “edgy.”

Oddly, though, I think I’m more optimistic about all this than Evans is. That’s kind of a role reversal. She’s supposed to be the hopeful young idealist challenging evangelicalism from within, while I’m supposed to be the jaded old cranky exile, lobbing cynical criticism from the outside. But again, inside and outside don’t mean that much anymore now that the walls are down and all that remains of the old boundaries is a scattering of fortified gates standing alone on the open landscape.

So I don’t think that Christian bookstores can maintain their chokehold on Christian publishers much longer.

Those publishers finally seem to be realizing what Warner Home Video — the successful marketer of The Blind Side on DVD — already knows: You no longer need Christian bookstores to reach Christians.

Yes, old habits die hard, and many publishers remain fearful of doing anything that might jeopardize the once-necessary imprimatur of LifeWay and the other bookstores that were once so influential within the former boundaries of the subculture. But being publishers of books, they’re in a better position than most to also realize the inevitable truth about bookstore chains — which is that if they’re very lucky, they may just barely out-survive newspaper chains. Even the most timid and subculturally captive Christian publishing companies have already begun relying more on Amazon than on any of those old-guard brick-and-mortar chains. The publishers have already seen what the future will look like, and it doesn’t include much of a role for LifeWay, et. al.

The walls are gone. There’s no longer any need to pay the toll to use the gates.

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  • Münchner Kindl

    But there is a widespread, and as far as I know international convention in colloquial English that people say “I will do anything/eat anything/go anywhere/let my children do everything” as an expression of a general approach, but with an unspoken sub-clause to the effect of “anything or everything within the constraints of what a person in my culture would regard as unlikely to cause serious or lasting harm directly or indirectly.”

    Thank you, that was the first helpful thing so far. Unspoken sub-clauses that mean roughly the same what I explicitly said: that filtering some stuff is a good idea.

  • hapax


    Someone has to still have those lists because I’m sure they still apply, but I’m not sure exactly where to look.

    I printed those out years ago because I needed to explain to our cataloguers what the library’s definition of “Christian fiction” was (for shelving purposes, not cataloguing purposes — something like THE MESSIAH OF MORRIS AVE will still receive a “Christian fiction” genre heading, but won’t be shelved in that section).

    The ECPA and related organizations no longer provide them publicly — I’m not sure because of blowback or because they prefer to keep them proprietary information, but I suspect the latter.  You don’t want people “outside the tribe” scrutinizing the formula and using it to game the system after all.

    I don’t have them with me right now, but as Lori says, they were astonishing in their specificity.  Not just “no sex no swearing no violence” as you might expect;  there were specific doctrinal positions (e.g., rejecting the efficacy of sacraments or the necessity of ordained hierarchy in order to achieve God’s favor) that must be explicitly affirmed somewhere in the text.

    I think most established writers in the genre already know these, at least subconsciously.  It’s sort of like how, in the LB books, the previously secular and worldly Buck suddenly starts talking in Evangelical-speak the moment he says the magic words, and nobody finds that weird;  that’s just how people talk.  In the Christian publishing world, these guidelines aren’t stringent;  that’s just how people write.

  • Münchner Kindl

    What they don’t get is how you got from “I don’t restrict my children to media intended for children” to “I show my children violent (and in the case of some of those studies you cite, illegal) pornography.”

    Which is nowhere in my post at all. It’s those misrepresentations of what I said in my post that make me wonder if people read it or just applied some weird lens to totally misunderstand it.

    I did not advocate showing children porn. I did not advocate censorship. I did not talk about “appropriate” content.

    All I did was point out that the literal reading of saying “I let my child read everything” (Since I can’t read unspoken subclauses specific to one culture) is a bad idea, since some contents can be harmful to children, depending on age and personality. I therefore DID NOT suggest any ban – I precisly spoke against bans because they can be circumvented – but a discussion.

    You use disingenuous augments (i.e. You let your child read Lovecraft? Why not infect them with Measles!),

    Again you are distorting what I said.
    The OP cited his mother who compared letting her child read “everything” to immunization.

    This is a wrong analogy, because immunization works with dead or part-virus in order to cause no harm. In terms of reading books, this would be the parent selecting books/ movies based on their assessment of the personality of the child what would be frightening, watching a not-terribly-scary movie/ book with them together and then discussing the problematic parts.

    I compared “letting the child read everything” without any supervision or discussion with the child (which was not given explicitly in the OP – and again, I go by what’s said, not by unspoken ideas) to measle parties, because they are similarly dangerous instead of immunisations.

    One extreme – which I DID NOT advocate – is total censorship: not letting the child read anything that I find offensive. The analogy is letting the child live in a bubble.

    The other extreme is letting the child read anything books, TV, internet, without supervision, guidelines, discussions. This is analogus to measle parties.

    The sensible approach is filtering those things that could upset the child, but talking with the child about why he/she shouldn’t see it yet; watching things / reading books together; discussing about how to seperate facts from fiction, good fiction from bad fiction, good heros and role models from bad ones. The analogy are immunisation shots.

    Now, the last, sensible, responsible, takes-a -lot of time for parents, approach was all I suggested in my post.

    Yet everybody stomped on me, distorting it to mean not appropriate things or offensive things, calling it censorship and so on.

    If everybody agrees that the OP meant version 3 and not version 2, then I don’t understand why you all attack me and twist my post.

    you display a level of nationalistic arrogance which is nauseating even to us Americans, and you act like your a huge victim when you’re really just a troll.

    Just where did I say that it’s better here? Was it pointing out that other countries have media that are responsible and serious unlike Fox news? Other than that, I didn’t talk about my country being better in any way. I guess you are using the old fallacy again where it’s not possible to critizce something about one country without implicitly claiming that your own country is superior in that. Guess what: criticzing country A about one particular point doesn’t say anything else about my opinion of country A in other points, or my opinion of country B.

    And when everybody attacks me, and I defend myself, I am labeled a troll. Yet you attacking me is … kindness and peace, I guess?

    I now wait for you to misuse this post, too.

  • hapax

    When I say “I let my children read anything they want”, I mean exactly that:  “I let them read anything they want.”

    I do say, however,  “I think you may find that reading that will make you feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.”  I do say, “I am not going to supply it for you.”  I do say, “I expect you to talk about it with me afterwards.” 

    Surprisingly enough, we do not have the rule in our house that “Everything that is not forbidden is compulsory.”

  • VMink

    There’s a fascinating documentary called “This Movie Not Yet Rated.”  I have a few problems with it — namely the way it “outs” the members of the several committees that the MPRA consist of — but it is a good look at the process of rating a movie.

  • Lori


    Just where did I say that it’s better here? 

    When you say things like “Because Americans can only understand extremes” that does not communicate that things are no better were you are. In case you’re not aware of the habit, you say things like that a lot and yes, it creates the impression of nationalistic arrogance.

    This community doesn’t support the kind of people who advocate a jingoistic, exclusively US-centric POV because that attitude is bigoted, inaccurate and unproductive. Saying that Americans are this or that or do such and so is also bigoted, inaccurate and unproductive*. In general we’re not any more welcoming of that crap than we are of “‘Merica F*** Yeah!”

    *We have a population of 311+ million. There are very few fair, accurate
    ways to fill in the blank in “Americans are ____________ “. It’s a good sized country, there are a lot of us and we have a complex and varied history. We have some of just about anything you can name, but other than being USians there’s not much that we all have in common. 

  • GDwarf

    @Münchner Kindl: Your initial post was ambiguous, at best. Your choice of words and examples suggested very strongly that you found the idea of letting kids read/watch things considered “too mature” for them was categorically wrong and akin to a Measles party.

    Re-reading it, I can see what you perhaps meant instead, but it’s far from clear. Especially given how you seem to be attacking someone for using a colloquial turn-of-phrase and an innocuous example.

  • The one time I went to a Christian bookstore, I saw a rack of shirts adorned with phrases like “JESUS DIED 4 U”. Somehow, I got outside before the wracking waves of laughter.

  • So you’re reading the literal text, without examining it in terms of culture or context.  Interesting.

    On an unrelated note, what do you think of American Fundamentalist Christians?

  • It’s those misrepresentations of what I said in my post that make me wonder if people read it or just applied some weird lens to totally misunderstand it.

    Are you sure those are the only two possibilities? That people either didn’t read what you wrote, or “just applied some weird lens”? Are those really the only explanations you can think of, that everyone is wrong except you? 

    The phrase “my 12-year-old daughter can read anything she likes” is hyperbole. That should be obvious, especially in the context in which it was said: a parent was responding to an outsider’s criticism of her parenting choices, a situation that often provokes a defensive and often hyperbolic reaction. This is not a cultural issue, this is a reading comprehension issue. “Someone told my mother I shouldn’t have cookies before noon, and she told them she lets me eat whatever I want, and if I get sick, I’ll learn from my mistakes” is another example of this genre. I don’t think it matters what culture you’re from, offering a mother unsolicited criticism of her parenting choices is likely to get you a terse reply. 

    Your response to hyperbole seems to be more hyperbole, but unlike the original source, you seem deeply invested in your over-the-top remarks. Your first sentence compared reading text to MRSA exposure, implying excessive parental negligence by drawing an analogy between uncensored reading lists and life-threatening infections.  By the third sentence, you had conflated “she can read anything she likes” with books and movies. Then you strongly discounted the role of parental involvement with a false dichotomy.  (“unless you watch / read everything together with them”)  Now, a humble four sentences later, (well, three and a parenthetical)  you’ve moved on to discussing the effect of violent internet porn on teenage boys.

    You went from a 12-year-old’s reading material to male teens watching violent porn in less than five sentences. Making such exceptional shifts in subject, under the premise of responding to a hyperbolic remark, is what drew negative attention. An insistence on defending your 5-sentence leap from a mother’s reaction to criticism leading to violent internet porn harming teenage boys did not help any. By the way, that absurd progression was not a reducto ad absurdum, it was a very poor “slippery slope” claiming ‘if mothers let their daughters read anything, then teenage boys will watch violent internet porn and become damaged towards women!’ 

    It’s clear you care about the issues of pornographic portrayals of women, and their impact on young men, and those are important issues to be sure, but they have fuck-all to do with Christian bookstores banning “The Blind Side” or mothers allowing their daughters the freedom to read challenging material. 

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, here’s what I wanted to see a citation for:

    But the “Sunflowers” of Van Gogh have been scientifically proven to contain exact the right shade of yellow that makes people happy (by hitting the chemical producing thingie in the brain that reacts to sunlight)

    Not because I’m rude, but because that kind of remark has the ring of an urban legend. 

  • Pat B

    “Because Americans can only understand extremes…””And when everybody attacks me, and I defend myself, I am labeled a troll…I now wait for you to misuse this post, too.”
    Honestly, I would understand if this was a one-time thing where you say something completely absurd and flame-y because of legitimate language issues or cultural misunderstanding. I get it, it’s easy to step on people’s toes accidentally, especially online.
    But I’ve been lurking and reading this blog since before it moved to Patheos. I can’t easily recall a time when you didn’t jump in, start ranting about America sucking, talk about how they do it much better they do it in Germany, and then turn around and say it’s Americans who are too sensitive and can’t take criticism. 

    It’s irritating, ineffective at convincing people of anything, and has successfully derailed the interesting conversation about child-rearing methods into a flamewar about your out-of-nowhere anti-pornography screed. 

    So yeah, it’s not misrepresentation to say you jump in and attack people on nationalistic lines, derail interesting topics, and then act victimized. That is literally exactly the pattern you’ve been on for at least the last year. It’s getting old.

  • Lori


    Um, we are talking about American attitudes shaping American language
    since this is an US-centric messageboard. Generally, Americans seem to
    have trouble understanding why limiting freedom of expression in any way
    shape or form is a good idea, because of the knee-jerk reaction
    (visible in this thread) of equating “restricting access” = censorship;
    censorship = terrible!

    And it’s especially aggravating considering that most Americans are
    those who say “I let my children read/ watch everything!” yet also say
    “My child must not have one drop of alcohol before turning 18” (with it
    actually being illegal in several states even for parents) and “My child
    must not have any sex before turning 18” (again, some acts being
    illegal in several states. 

    So you’re justifying acting like a bigoted jerk by…..acting like a bigoted jerk. That’s pretty special.

    For your information, Americans don’t generally “have trouble
    understanding why limiting freedom of expression in any way
    shape or form is a good idea, because of the knee-jerk reaction
    (visible in this thread) of equating “restricting access” = censorship;
    censorship = terrible!have trouble understand.” Censorship issues in
    America generate complicated, and often very intense, debate. The First
    Amendment  is far from absolute and in practice censorship often
    happens, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for bad ones.

    The fact that our approach to free speech =/= the German approach
    doesn’t mean that our reactions are knee-jerk. You’re constant lecturing
    about what Americans are and what’s wrong with it are beyond tiresome.

    TL; dr: You’re bigoted and ill-informed and I’m rapidly coming to the
    conclusion that it’s not worth trying to discuss things with you.

  • LouisDoench

     It’s actually a pretty liberal story if you read the book.  I mean, Micheal Oher is a real live person. the film takes liberties, but at its core it”s a true story.

  • LouisDoench

     My atheist household has a lot of Veggietales videos.  I actually think they are hilarious at times. Very well produced. Many of the stories are only thinly religious.

  • LouisDoench

     It’s the 21st century where I come from… adults can say “kind of a dick” without it being character assassination or a personal insult.  That’s friendly advice ’round here.

    “You’re being and obtuse, thin skinned fuckhead.” Now that would be a personal insult, if it were directed at someone in particular perhaps. 

  • Albanaeon

     Honestly, if I were to go for light and peace and comfort,  I’d do an Impressionist like Monet.  Or maybe 16th Century Dutch Still Life.   Or some of the 18th century Japanese prints.  Or Georgia O’Keefe. 

    But really, great art is about how the message of the artist is conveyed.  Things that get attention tend to be the more outrageous things, but there is, was and will be a large amount of good art that is all about making people feel good and that’s it.

    Kinkade’s “problem” isn’t that he had shtick and stuck to it.  He made a living and a name for himself and a pretty pure expression of a commercial artist.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Except that he and his followers tend to insist he was a “great artist.”  And he wasn’t.  Particularly as he took to fuzzing in light from everywhere and thinking he was done.  Did it enhance the “feeling” of light?  Did it set the mood?  Was it an experiment of what it would be like if their was always diffuse light?  Nope.  He was “The Painter of Light” and that’s what he did.  And he did it without the awareness of how shlocky it really is that gives Warhol and other pop artists an edge or charm. 

    In the end Kinkade’s work is highly symbolic of Evangelical subculture as a whole.  It’s got some merit, but its so wrapped up in what it is supposed to be, safe, comforting and predictable, that it becomes almost a self-parody.  And it tends to warp the culture’s appreciation for good things.  Kinkade’s not a terrible artist, but he was not anywhere near as good as he could be, or how good he and his proponents insist they were.

  • aunursa

    And when everybody attacks me, and I defend myself, I am labeled a troll. Yet you attacking me is … kindness and peace, I guess?

    Welcome to Slacktivist. 

    Please buckle your seatbelt and keep your arms and legs inside at all times.

  • Leila

    Interesting, Lori :) I would love to know where I can find that list as that’s one I didn’t get to check out.  And you’re right on how the Steeple Hill list reads. One of the reasons I tend to avoid most traditional christian publishers is due to standards like these kinds of lists.  Makes me feel like I’m reading a children’s book instead of a work for adults.

  • everstar

    No, no, it’s just radioactive is all.  Sure, it’s toxic, but it’s so pretty when it glows.

  • Tricksterson

    Which is why we must club them both to death!

  • Tricksterson

    Only in my twisted fantasies.

  • Tricksterson

    Yes, we’re in the third book now.  You can find a handy guide to any you missed over in the column of blogs to the right.  New posts are generally on Fridays.

  • Pat B

    What? Is this an in-joke or something?

  • Tricksterson

    Yeah but that was violence!  To use the show Heroes as an example it was deemed perfectly okay to show Hayden Panettiere’s autopsied corpse but God forbid if they had shown a nipple.  But then that’s the US.

  • One of my favorite summaries of Kinkade’s work was an essay that described him as the “Pornographer of Light”, claiming that he used light not as most artists would, but rather relied on cheap exploitative tricks with light to evoke simple emotional responses, in a sort of “I don’t actually have to do any work here, if I just do this thing with light it will evoke a conditioned response in my audience” way.

  • mmy

    hapax: When I say “I let my children read anything they want”, I mean exactly that:  “I let them read anything they want.”
    I do say, however,  “I think you may find that reading that will make you feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.”  I do say, “I am not going to supply it for you.”  I do say, “I expect you to talk about it with me afterwards.”

    Teaching/studying media as I do I had access to a C-band satellite dish back in the day when much of the material went out unencrypted. When a youngish relative came to stay I had a simple rule “you can watch anything you like as long as I sit in the room with you while you watch it.” It is amazing what a teenaged boy will not watch if he has to watch in the same room as a woman the same age as his mother. 
    I didn’t kid him about things, I didn’t make comments I just sat there reading and occasionally looking up to see what was going on. He decided what he felt comfortable/uncomfortable with. We never had an argument although we did have some interesting discussions.

  • VMink

    So basically he’s the Rob Liefeld of the location study set?

  • PJ Evans

     We understood what you were saying. The problem is that what you think was intended doesn’t match what we think was intended.

  • arcseconds

    Müncher Kindl:

    I gotta say, from where I’m sitting, there’s a lot of mutual misunderstanding in this thread, and to some extent you’re being dumped on ‘unfairly’.

    But you’re not doing yourself any favours with painting Americans with these broad (and negative) brushstrokes!

    I’m not American, so I’m not taking this personally, and just between you and me I’m inclined to think similar things sometimes myself.  But I wouldn’t say this to their faces: I know it’s only going to cause hostility and a bad reception (so shh! this is our little secret).

    Also, generalizations, even if accurate as a generalization, are seldom universally true, so it’s neither accurate nor nice to deploy them in a way that makes it seem as though you think the generalization is true of the individual that’s standing in front of them.

    Of course, all Germans are rude and abrasive, so it’s probably not your fault that you’re like this, but you’d find things a lot easier going if you started to learn to edit out the anti-American stuff.

  • Mau de Katt


    They haven’t asked why the middle-school-aged wizards can drink butterbeer

    I don’t know about the firewhiskey, but “butterbeer” is a word play on “butterscotch” (which is not a version of the liquor “scotch whiskey.”)  From what I remember from my brief online “research” forays, butterbeer was nonalcoholic, and was rather more of a butterscotch-flavored ginger ale-y type of beverage than an alcoholic beer variant.

  • EllieMurasaki

    My understanding is that any Internet recipe one finds for butterbeer is nonalcoholic because the books indicate that thirteen-year-olds drink butterbeer, and therefore thirteen-year-olds expect to be allowed to drink butterbeer.

  •  I’m not sure, IIRC in Book 4 when Winky gets drunk on butterbeer Ron says “it’s not strong, that stuff” and Dobby explains that it is “very strong for house elves.” That indicates that there is some alcohol in it, and not just nonhumans reacting weirdly to it. It’s probably about as strong as some ciders.

  • Egrimm

    Some people just don’t like to buy perversion. It’s what the customer wants, not what someone wants to shove down their throats. It’s retail, not government.

  • Olivia

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to decorate one’s home with pretty, reassuring, comfortable images. 

    There’s nothing wrong, either, with wanting to buy a “sofa sized painting” with colors that match one’s living room curtains and upholstery.  But that’s not what art, in its strictest sense, is about. 

    Whether or not Christian bookstores need to carry “true” art—-the kind that challenges the senses and stands the test of time, and not just in a sentimental way—-is debatable.  But, in my opinion, at least, a store that claims to be dedicated to an eternal Truth ought to offer some merchandise reflecting the classic nature of that Truth.  Not just cute contemporary decorations that will look very dated in another 10 or 20 years.  

    The practice of Christianity is about many things, but it’s an error to suggest that it should always reflect smugness and personal comfort. 

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    …or other moments in secular media that are more meaningful, and more
    Christian for that matter, than what you’ll find in the Junk For Jesus
    shop in the mall.

    Jessica.  I have found more Gospel and more Christ in some My Little Pony fanfics than you find in the Official Christianese fiction & art of the Jesus Junk Store circuit.

    And have you noticed that the Christianese activists who are into the Junk for Jesus industry also heavily advocate censorship and banning of everything on the Outside?  Kill off the competition and they’ll HAVE to buy your stuff.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

     Like helicopter parents who keep their Mini-Me’s germ-free, even following Mini-Me around with hand sanitizer and Lysol spray on anything Mini-Me touches.  When those childhood diseases and minor sicknesses Mommy so studiously heads off are what teaches the kid’s immune system IFF what to recognize as “enemy”.

    And the kid eventually dies from anaphylactic shock at 17 when somebody opens a can of Planter’s Peanuts fifty meters upwind.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

     It came out in 2009.  I assume that it was on video sometime in 2010,
    latest.  And Lifeway and the rev. in FL just now noticed now that it has
    a PG-13 rating? 

    RTCs (Real True Christians) are notorious for being Late Adopters in general.

  • I hope it won’t get that bad, but I wonder if the resurgence of some diseases can partly be pinned on the increasing sheltering of children so that even with the vaccinations they get, they’re not “trained” to withstand otherwise garden-variety illnesses as well.

  • lee akki

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  • Evisceratus

    It is too safe to be a Christian anymore just as it was once too safe to be a Roman. All the demons have been exorcised, all the heathen armies have been crushed, and all the heretics have been burnt. We are facing the problem of any apex predator and that is that when food is too plentiful you run the risk of getting fat and losing your edge. Can a dull sword be sharpened? Yes Will we remember how to use it when we sharpen it? I hope so.