Christian Bookstore, Holy Week

Jesus and I are on an outing the week before Easter.  We pull up to the strip mall; He unbuckles his seatbelt as I turn off the ignition.  As we climb out of the car and walk towards an open door He remarks, “Oh, a Christian bookstore; let’s see what they’re selling.”

We step inside and nearly run into a banner displaying ‘Resurrection Eggs.” The table holds cardboard cartons with plastic egg-shaped containers inside.  A sample shows Scripture verses are tucked inside.

“How are these used?” He ponders, puzzling as he holds one in His hand.
“They’re eggs. Are they for farm children?  And why are they called ‘Resurrection Eggs’?  I wasn’t hatched on Easter morning.”

He has a point. I hesitate.
“Well, Lord, they’re witnessing tools. Kind of a combination of the pagan traditions around Springtime mixed with Biblical truths.”

“Oh…I wonder why they had to mix things up like that.  The truth can stand on its own.  Why did they have to put it in such a fancy package?”

I have no answer.

He picks up several items on the table–a Resurrection banner, a “He is Risen” coffee mug.
“I see they’re made in China. Actually, everything’s made in China–are there that many Christians in China, to make all this?” He sweeps his arm through the air, surveying the store.

“Well, Lord, the labor’s cheaper there so it’s a wise use of money, I guess.”
“Cheap labor?  That sounds like exploiting people and taking advantage of their station in life.

“I didn’t die for that.”

We peruse the shelves and I mention the names of Christian friends who have new books out.  We look for their titles in the front of the store but have to wander a few aisles before we get to the Christian Living section.

“Why are there sections?” Jesus asks.  “Isn’t it all Christian Living?”

The book titles are interesting and some are a bit of a surprise.
He pulls down a volume titled, “Wounded by God’s People.”

“Oh, it’s by Anne Graham Lotz.  I know her father, Billy.  I gave him many, many messages to share with the world and he always went wherever I asked him to.  He has always told people how I loved them so.”
A sad look comes over his face as he fingers the title.  ‘Wounded by God’s People.’

“I didn’t die for that.”

We look around for my friend’s book.  I mention her name–Jennifer.  “She’s a reporter from Iowa,” I tell Him.

“Oh, I remember giving her that book to write.  She decided to call it ‘Love Idol’.  Let’s go see if they have it.

We turn to the Women’s Section, thinking the little yellow book should be there.
“Again with the sections,” he laments. “Why all these divisions? I died for everyone.”

We ask a clerk about the title I’m looking for; Christ’s eyes widen at the response.
“We couldn’t stock the book, I’m sorry.  It had the word ‘idol’ in the title.”

“But this is a Christian bookstore, right?  Where you want to shine a light on sin and tell the truth, right? That’s what her book is about–setting people free.”

The puzzled clerk simply repeats, “I’m sorry, sir, we can’t carry it.”

I can tell the Lord has had enough.
“Maybe we should go,” I suggest.
Jesus agrees and decides He won’t purchase anything, having paid for it all already.

As we walk out the door and look towards the lightening sky over the cars He mentions the days ahead, Easter on the horizon.

“Perhaps we can find some people tomorrow who are truly Christians living.
After all, that’s what I died for.”
~~~~~~~~~
The seeds for this post began when I went to look for a book by Jennifer Dukes Lee at a Christian bookstore during the week before Easter. I hadn’t set foot in one for some time as I had been overwhelmed on my previous visit with a kind of sick feeling at all the commercialism and not-like-Jesus displays.
I couldn’t help wondering what Jesus would have thought of the kinds of marketplaces Christian bookstores have become.
Shouldn’t they be different than a secular bookstore, maybe sharing truth and shining the light–ALL OF THE LIGHT that Jesus brought into the world?
~~~~~
this is a slightly edited version of a post which first appeared in April 2014

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