Tonight I got a chance to head out to Barnes and Noble to use a gift card I got for Christmas from my in-laws. I was hoping they would have the Jewish Commentary on the New Testament in stock, but wasn’t surprised when they didn’t. I poked around some more in the “Christian Living” section trying to find something else. The thing that caught my eye right away was the end cap display of the section that contained the “notable” releases of the section. There I saw Joel Osteen’s book about the seven steps that we can take before God will give us more money and make our lives “full”. I saw Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven LIfe. I saw the latest in the “Left Behind” series. I saw some book refuting the contents of a FICTIONAL BOOK. Is THIS the best we can do? Why do Christians buy this garbage?
So many books base their appeal on how reading the book can improve our lives. make us more “blessed”/rich or give us lives with “purpose”. or they use fear of the end times to “teach” us that you better get on the right team before the shit hits the fan. all of these books deal with how we can use our faith as a tool to make our lives better. they fuse the conventional wisdom of our american society with being a follower of Jesus. All you have to do is read the new testament gospel and the teachings of Jesus to figure out with in a few minutes that Jesus isn’t concerned with the conventional wisdom of his time. he didn’t care about his followers safety. he didn’t care about their financial standing. john the baptist, paul, his disciples…..most of them ended up murdered, broke, disconnected from safe environments. I guess it’s easy to write books about being “blessed” by God financially when you’re on the best-sellers list and christians are buying your self-help bullshit by the ton. What ever happened to happiness through serving others? What about making our lives full by thinking not of our own interest, but first the interests of others? Oh yeah, I forgot. Books like that don’t sell very well. Nevermind. Gotta make those teeth whitening payments right Joel?
Feeling a bit discouraged, I showed myself out of the religion section and wandered around in the Literature section until i stumbled on the 2004 edition “The Best American Nonrequired Reading” that is a part of the Best American Series. It’s edited by Dave Eggers and seems like a great way to learn about talented writers that are out there. As I read the introduction, i learned that the proceeds from the book go to benefit www.826Valencia.com…….wow, servitude in secular fiction.
Satisfied with my choice I headed to the cashier and flashed my gift card, but I had no idea how much the gift card was for. Not sure if the card was gonna cover the cost of my $15 purchase, i got my wallet out ready to cover the difference. “You’ll have some money left on the card”, the cashier said. “How much do you think it’s for?”, he asked me. I wasn’t really sure but wasn’t expecting it to be much. It was kind of like he was asking me how much the person or persons who gave me the card cared for me. “Twenty bucks?”, I replied. “Well, after your $15 purchase, you have $85 left”. Big smile. I must be a pretty damn good son-in-law. Thanks Chip and Teri!!