If you just work really hard, I’m sure you’ll get the same chance to succeed that every other hard worker out there gets. Too bad you’re not much to look at though, because attractiveness always seems to help. Haven’t you noticed that all of our top-level executives have nice hair, strong jaw-lines and a bit of muscle? No, they didn’t have to get surgery, why do you ask?
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I hate the Christian Inspiration shelves in bookstores almost as much as I hate Teen Paranormal Romance. The fact that Barnes and Noble and other places have sections in their floor plans for each genre says there are enough books to fill them. It also means there’s a demand for them. The Christian area of a bookstore feels like a religious ghetto that a bunch of Jesus people have trapped themselves in.
I’m not going to lie, I’m tired of people trying to “inspire” me. I know it feels good to goad someone to action, but I’d much rather accomplish that task with a large stick and some aggression. It’s doubles as exercise when you do that.
But people buy these books.
We actually purchase them- with money.
Many of us read them.
Logic isn’t much of a turn-on, is it? What about my opening paragraph would motivate someone to work hard and try to work their way up any corporate ladder? And we’ve all realized that having some religious person tell you what we should or shouldn’t do only makes us (at least, me) want to stab them. It’s the supposed history of our culture, isn’t it? I mean, how many people piss and moan that all we do is complain about their bad lifestyles and tell them to live better lives? I just recently drove by a Planned Parenthood that’s not far from my office and saw people outside protesting. Christians always stand out there protesting and they don’t even look like they’re having any fun (which means they’re doing it wrong).
Anyway, as Jesus-people, we seem to crave stories that make us feel warm and fuzzy. We also look for tales that drive us toward outrage at injustice and unnecessary death at the hands of morons. The rest of the world reads biographies of successful humans in hope that maybe they’ll catch some spirit, personality, plan or anything to help understand how somebody awesome accomplish what they did. Some of them were good-looking. Others worked really hard for a long time and went unrecognized for their efforts until right before they died of something outrageous (who can’t relate to that one?)
I guess what I’m getting at is why do we need a genre of Jesus-literature called Christian Inspiration? There is no secular inspiration, no atheist motivation and we won’t find any Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim or Wiccan encouragement genres, either. At least, I hope not. We should call books of this nature what they are. “Real life for people other than yourself, who happened to share your faith, and yes, have something to say” and “Let’s just be honest, this crap is self-help, which is the opposite of Christianity.”
If I could have my way, our books and literature wouldn’t come in any religion-specific section we would invade the rest of the bookstore with our novels, autobiographies, histories and whatever else we have to offer.
Ok, so I’m probably going to get hated on by a number of Christians for even allowing a hint of this thought in my head, but I CAN’T stand a lot of the Christian books that are being published right now. Don’t get me wrong, there are some that really help me grow my faith and push me to follow God more closely (namely, Ruthless Trust, Anything by CS Lewis, Plan B, Donald Miller books, etc). I love those books and they help me become more Christ-like.
The books I think need to be burned (which says a lot, cause I don’t think a book should ever be burned) are those fake, utterly false-doctrine drivel about the 7 Steps to Your Best Life Now, or Every Day a Friday or anything else that would make Christ spin around and say “Get thee behind me, satan!” All that crap is about getting what we want, what we think we deserve and using God to make it happen. Problem is, God won’t be used. And following Him isn’t about getting happier in 7 steps or living every day like it’s a Friday. It’s about dying to ourselves. D-Y-I-N-G!!!!!!!!! GAH!!!
Ok, rant over, until I write a similar post about this probably for next week.
Pop Christianity isn’t good at all. I mean, there are some good writers, musicians and whatever else out there, but we have a lot of garbage, too. It makes me sad. I’m mostly proud of our culture, we’ve come a long way since the eighties, but we’re still struggling in a lot of areas. C.S. Lewis and Donald Miller are two of my heroes, I wish I could write or think as well as either of them (ha. and I wish I could have their success, too). I’ve often wondered what it would be like to get together with some friends and do a good old-fashioned book-burning. I don’t think I could bring myself to do it, because I’m “too nice” but still… it’d be glorious to get rid of some of the awful examples we have lining the shelves at the book store.
Jason, I agree with you. I tend to avoid whatever Christian book everyone tells me will “change my life” because they are usually awful. Oh, and I love Don Miller and CS Lewis too. I actually avoided Donald Miller for a long time because people talked about his books so much. Then I found out that some people really hated his books and that made me want to try them. (I’m weird like that.)I finally gave in and I like him. It’s probably just his sarcasm though. 🙂
Miller is more real than anyone else writing right now, I think his sarcasm is a great indicator of the fact that he refuses to perform, which I love. I absolutely respect it.
Love this in your face article that tells it like it really is. I get tired of what I call ‘fluff.’ This is what certain people send you twenty times a day in an attempt to get you to read their few sentences. I wish they’d just e-mail me once a month with an article worth reading. Somehow they seem to feel if they bombard me enough I’ll be happy with their extremely weak standard of writing. I simply erase it all.
I wish more people were like that. I think that a lot of the time, we let Christian writers get away with putting crap out simply because as Jesus people, we don’t know how to criticize. WE’RE EASY ON EACH OTHER. I would hate to have something get published only to discover later that it was complete crap. I suppose my blog is the exception, but I genuinely try to put good stuff on here, know? Regardless, I wish we’d all practice open, constructive criticism more often- in so many ways!
Barnes & Noble is like any other marketer — it gives its customers what they want. You’re right – the Christian Inspiration and Christian Fiction sections do feel like ghettos.
Glynn, isn’t it funny that we have such a demand for certain genres? I truly wish that Christian literature was everywhere and we didn’t have to have our own little place. Oh well. 🙂
So tired of people trying to sell Jesus. Ugh…
You certainly don’t need a lot of words to say what you need to. That’s a talent I’m jealous of.
“If I could have my way, our books and literature wouldn’t come in any religion-specific section we would invade the rest of the bookstore with our novels, autobiographies, histories and whatever else we have to offer.”
I agree that many of the so called Christian Inspiration books are really just Eastern mysticism “speak it receive it” garbage. However there are other books out there that are truthful.
The book by one of the best selling modern Christian authors has the opening line, “It’s not all about you.” I’d say that was a good start.
With all the hatred and legislation targeted toward Christianity, I think it’s not all bad to try to rally our brothers and sisters in Christ to be strong and stand firm, even during persecution.
Money of course causes much trouble for all of us, it infects our world, including the books shared by us…
Another problem is that our world and country history, which is based and founded on the principles of Christianity, is trying to be rewritten by the lost of our world serving their master.
That gets me riled more than anything… The Truth needs to be shared, maybe just not exactly the way it is right now…
Floyd, I think you’re right. I think Kat hit it on the head when she said that she’s tired of people trying to sell Jesus. I see that as the problem. When Jesus people want to market Him and get bank off the whole deal, we end up with cheap, poorly written books that have WAY too much emotion on the table and it makes me sick. But, you make a good point too. I love my culture and want to support it, I just feel the need to selectively do it.
I find this post and comments…inspiring!
Sean, you make me smile.