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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Christian Book Stores: a symptom of our sickness (aka: Western American Christianity)

I always felt like there might be something off with "Christian Book Stores". 

Why do we need a seperate store? 

I would look through the books, periodically find an interesting title to add to the shelf. It would be the meandering opinion of some pastor or armchair theologian who'd cherry picked a few verses to build a system of "being a better leader", or "praying more effectively", or some new secret end times truth which had been revealed to them.

Today, just less than a year into a journey away from pop-Christianity (what Dr Michael Hieser calls Christian Middle Earth), I find myself staring at a catalog that came in the mail with great displeasure.

Not a single peer-reviewed book, mostly the same big names that have been taking up space for decades, and out of all the Bible editions they offered, I had to flip to the small-text "Other Bibles" to even find one I would gladly endorse or tell someone to get. 

It's like... Waking up from the Matrix. 

We've become so siloed that we can no longer think well. Which was all too obvious this past few years, as Christians were among the top misbehaving class of people in America (myself included). 

We do not, corporately, have the mind of Christ. We do not think logically and dispassionately about all angles of a topic before taking a side. We find out just cause and raise the battle-flag, drawing our lines in the sand (rather than building bridges). 

What could one say about the Christian Book Store magazines? They're intellectual cotton candy. I'm sure that's an overstatement, they probably help some people feel better or get closer to God. 


I find myself challenged, and in turn feel the need to challenge my kin-folk.

It's time we begin to use our minds better. 

We can be skeptical about the world-narrative while not buying every looney unsubstantiated Qanon nonsense conspiracy theory that comes along. 

We can suspend our credulity about an article title, until we've read the article, asked tough questions, and weighed actual evidence.

If an article is from "our side", we can demand they do their due diligence, check sources, provide sources, credible sources...

If an article is from "them", we can demand that we, ourselves, ask if they could be right. Is it possible they see something that's hiding in my Blindspot? Is it possible I'm right but they are too? Is it possible I'm seeing the trunk, they the leg, but neither of us is seeing the elephant in the room?

A link to an article, or Bible verse, does not a "source" make. 

Biblical case must begin with a discussion of where the text was found, what argument or theological statement is the author making, what cultural factors are involved in the making of that textual statement? Picking a verse out of that context without addressing that context, is irresponsible, and not "proof" of your pet system.

Articles claiming someone did something, or that masks do work, or don't work, or that so-and-so is making money from something... Mist include primary source material. An article from a hack-website, an article from a news channel, and even an article from the WHO or CDC, does not make it a credible source. Peer-reveiwed studies, scholarly articles, duplicateble studies, hard documented facts... These are sources. 

You want to claim a study? Who performed the study, when, under what conditions, for how long, and what we're the controls? We must, begin, to, think, better.

Christian Book Stores are a sample of our current demand. 

They provide what we buy.

Stop buying intellectual cotton candy. 

Start demanding better thinking, of your pastor, or your authors, and of yourself. 

Next time a Facebook posts claims something that works your emotions into a fenzy.... STOP. Demand credible sources. Learn how to think.


Good riddens western American Christianity. 

Hello, Kingdom of God, and a renewed mind.

Darrell Wolfe, Storyteller

PS: I'm building a list of reputable resources on my new website. It's short now, but I'll be adding a little more each week.


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