Tuesday, January 11, 2005

On the Inspirational Book Section

Recently I was taking a stroll through a big-name Christian Book store. This is something I rarely do (mainly because I can only stand the presence of books by T.D. Jakes or Juanita Bynum for so long), but I was desperate to find a copy of Nancy Pearcy's Total Truth. I did find Total Truth, and much to my surprise, I found a number of important Christian works on another shelf (collected sermons of Jonathan Edwards, Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis and others). As you can imagine, I was thrilled. I bought five books and made sure to compliment the manager on their new "Christian Classics" section. I hope it grows to more that a couple of chest-high bookcases.

This set me to thinking. I usually buy my books in Borders at the local mall (and had indeed tried to find Total Truth there first). I'm sure many of you have noticed this, but many Christian books are listed in the "inspirational book" section in places like Borders. I've always detested the label "inspirational." What does that even mean? Very often it means "mushy-headed feel good books." I'm sorry, but I flatly refuse to be inspired by any book that has "Chicken Soup" in the title.

There are two terrible possibilities about Christian books in inspirational book sections. One, a more tough minded reader might be prejudiced against a good book when it is placed in that section. I know this is the case with me. I tend dismiss out of hand any book that is jammed in that catch all of a section. The second and more terrifying option is that the aforementioned Christian book may actually belong beside the various "Chicken Soups."

That our books can be funnelled into the same category as "Chicken Soup" is a sure sign that we Christians are not using our "noodles."

ps: Let this post-script serve as an apology for the horrible pun above!

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