Archive for December, 2002

Rant against Christian bookshops

Thursday, December 12th, 2002

I find it very hard to like Christian bookshops. I feel very uncomfortable in them, and always come out feeling angry.

Why?

I find it hard to put my finger on. Certainly the fact that the science sections in most I’ve been in are full of dreadful, dreadfully ignorant and misleading books doesn’t help. But it goes much further than that.

I find the middle-of-the-road worship music in the background very irritating. I’m not sure what I *want* to hear, but this stuff sounds insincere, hyped up and unimaginitive.

I find the range of books disturbing. Sometimes it’s the unthinking, reactionary, judgmental books that I don’t like. On the other hand, sometimes I’m upset by the books that seem to have lost touch with the truth. I know it’s a good thing that people have the freedom to look at a whole range of books, but that doesn’t stop me feeling unsettled, and even secretly wishing that certain books weren’t on offer in this particular forum.

I don’t like the commercialism. These bookshops sometimes feel just like rather aggressive vendors of any other product. We seem sometimes to have bought into exactly the same marketing ploys, however cynical, that are around outside the church.

If you like these bookshops, or work in one, feel free to disagree with me! But at the minute I find it a real chore when I have to go into one of these places. What do other people think?

Friendship

Monday, December 2nd, 2002

I know people I like.

I know Christians I like.

But I didn’t meet them at church.

What is it about church that makes relationships made there so worthless?

I think it goes to the very heart of what’s rubbish about church.

A very long time ago I did a children’s talk when I was in the church youth group. I cut up a lot of oranges (my visual aid) and talked about how church ought to be a place where we remove our “skin” of pretending and be real.

Over the years that image stays with me. Church is a place where we pretend to be good and respectable. That’s such a basic mistake!

Of course, there is an exception. When we have “strayed” but now we’ve got it all sorted again it is perfectly acceptable to talk about it. The whole concept of straying, as if we basically get it all right most of the time but sometimes go wrong for a bit, is a lie.

This false environment provides a strong barrier to forming proper relationships with people. In order to become friends with someone from church I have to disassociate them from church in my mind. We have to meet enough at home or somewhere else that I no longer see them as a church person, but as a person who happens to go to my church.

This is so the opposite of how it should be. Where is the acknowledgement of what life is really like?

My “church friends” are not friends at all – they’re people I can talk to at church so that I’m not standing there on my own. The whole business is a complete waste of time and I only go out of duty.

What can we do to make it better? What can I do?