Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Fun Times at Family Christian Bookstore

The other day I was alerted to another book written by two teenage boys about not settling for the status quo but doing great things during their teenage years. Well it just so happened that I was near our local Family Christian Bookstore in the afternoon and I thought I would stop and see if this book was available. Now I have to say that whenever I go to Family Christian Bookstores I typically come out discouraged, disappointed and at times angry that this is what Christian scholarship has dwindled down to.

As I first entered in through their doors there is a huge table of "patriotic" t-shirts and America stuff. And every time I see this, I seriously have a huge problem with this. The whole "God Bless America" campaign just comes across to me as so conceited, arrogant and ignorant. I would feel so much more comfortable if all this stuff said "God Bless the World" or was somehow much more inclusive of people of every nation. Afterall, that was the challenge that Jesus gave us in the Great Commission to make disciples of the world. And in all honesty do people really think that God has a vested interest in blessing the United States? Really, think about it, did the first century Christians have togas that read "God Bless Rome"? Now I will go on record first to say that I love the fact that I have grown up as an American and more specifically a die-hard Ohioan. Yet I can not help to think about the way so many in our country abuse our environment, hoard their wealth, abuse people for their own gain, and market their greed, sex, and violence all around the world. Me personally, I am more concerned about God's wrath on America. We very well might be heading in that direction. Yet when I walk through the doors of Family Christian Bookstore I get the very loud message that Christianity is first and foremost unquestioning patriotism to our country that is God's new promised land. Let us not forget that we gave the presidency to a "professing" Christian and look at what he did to our government and our country. He certainly has me rethinking the Clinton years again. Many of us were good at vilifying Bubba, and his personal life deserved the criticism leveled at him, but he ran the government better than what we got now!

Then my next issue with what is considered a"Christian" bookstore these days is the massive lack of any real scholarship. You would think that Joel Olsteen is the best thing since Paul wrote the book of Romans because anywhere you look you see that shiny, happy Texas grin sparkling right back at you everywhere you turn. In fact, previous to this visit, I was looking for a section on Christian history and at a cursory glance I did not find a section like that ANYWHERE. Then when I asked the clerk behind the counter she look at me with a dazed and confused look not sure where to direct me. I gave up and walked out angry again with the drivel called Christian bookstores. Apparently that must not sell as much as smiley Texans who want me to be a Better ME, or sappy, poorly written books that interpret the book of Revelation literally. Believe me, the Left Behind series had absolutely NOTHING to do with serious Christian thinking other than to manipulate fear to make a buck. And to add to the humor, Falwell dedicates a building to the guy as if his name should be associated with higher learning. I would hate to be LaHaye and have to stand before God and to have to explain his thinking behind those shoddy books based on highly suspect theology that preyed on the fears of Christians that should know better.

Anyhow, as I was visiting this store looking for this book on teenagers (I'm a youth pastor so books like this intrigue me), God smiled on me and gave me a delicious treat during my visit to the bookstore. As I waited in line I began to overhear a conversation that some guy was initiating with one of the store clerks. He was not standing there to buy a book but to sell his wares. It turns out that this guys was a real life ghost buster. I am not saying that he is a priest who performs exorcisms. I mean a "who-ya-gonna-call" GHOST BUSTER! He claimed to be a demonologist and a expert in the paranormal. The poor clerk behind the counter was not amused but was trying really hard to be polite. Just so you know I am not pulling your leg here, as I pulled out of the parking lot, sure enough there was a ghost buster van in the parking lot with all their information plastered on every side of their van. The website is www.soarparanormal.com! Enjoy! It is a delicious site! The fact that they take themselves seriously and somehow seem to financially support this line of work amazes me. But what is scary is why he would think a Christian bookstore would be a place for him to "sell" himself. If I recall we are to be a people of love where perfect love drives out fear. Paul specifically tells us that we are not to conform to the substandard patterns of the world but our MINDS are supposed to be transformed! For centuries the Christian faith has produced some of the greatest intellects, artists, musicians, philosophers and theologians, but when you walk into just about any Christian bookstore you would NEVER know that. In fact some sham paranormal ghost buster thinks this would be a great place to get some business.

Thank God for www.Christianbooks.com! At least they cover all the bases from the pathetic to the profound.

8 comments:

Brian said...

Sounds like we shop at the same Christian bookstore. I too would prefer not to see so much Rah! Rah! America stuff and a little more hardcore scholarship. Amen!

Father L. Powers D.D. said...

Sorry I had to use your comment to post my comment on Mr. Russ's article Brian, but Mr. Russ is no longer accepting comments on this acticle.
Mr. Russ,
Hello. I am the "Ghost Buster" from the Family Christian Bookstore you spoke of above. Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Father L. Powers D.D. but you may call me Dr. Powers. (Yes, the D.D. means Doctor.) I read your article and can't help but feel that you have personally attacked me. You speak of love yet I find very little love in anything you write. I find much more prejudice and hate than I find anything remotely Christian in any of your articles. And as far as the truth goes. . . you, God, and I know the truth of the situation that day and there is very little of it in your retelling of the story. From here, you can either try to save face and write some more lies, admit the truth, or delete this altogether so no one ever knows. The truth from your point is that either you simply did not hear the entire conversation and filled in the blanks from your own imagination or you did actually eavesdrop and hear the entire conversation and simply chose not to recount the truth but rather to embellish on the facts of your own accord. Because the truth is that I was not there to “sell my wares” but to purchase Holy Water bottles and a Bible. I asked the clerk at the counter if she could look up an item for me, which happened to be a St. Benedict medal of which the store had none. Because you see I actually am a priest with permission from the church to perform exorcisms. No, I am not a Demonologist as that requires a certification, nor did I say I was one. But I did say that I worked with one. Yes, I am a member of a paranormal research group called SOAR. Yes, I do drive a van but it only has a magnet with SOAR’s phone number and web address on the back left door and no place else. Your falsehoods say a lot about your Christianity and the Church you represent. As for being in a Christian Bookstore, where else would I go to purchase tools to aid in my fight against Satan? Yes, while you are sitting all comfy and safe in your padded pew every Sunday, with your belly full of Egg McMuffin that was cooked for you by a Sinner that had to work that Sunday against their will so that the Christian’s could have the day off, I am out there in people homes battling Satan on HIS turf. You see I am not here to minister to the Christian, but I am here to minister to the Sinner. It isn’t the Christians that call SOAR afraid and crying because they already know whom to turn to, it is the Sinner, the non-believer, that calls and cries “Help me!” Then I can introduce them to God. The number of exorcisms performed by the Catholic Church alone increased 100% since 1991. The problem was such that the Vatican formed a 4-man team of experts to investigate these cases. They currently investigate 351 demonic related cases a year. That does not include actual Exorcisms. At one case a day, these men only get 5 days off a year. So cover up and save face, tell the truth as a real Christian would, or delete this and hide it all, but the ball is in your court now. Good day Mr. Russ. I hope you find peace in your continual ranting.
Father L. Powers D.D.

Anonymous said...

Ah, it is readily apparent you only choose to post comments made by people who have a positive reflection on you. Am I right?

Scott Russ said...

Wow, it has been a while since i have check the blog due to mission trips and moving and all. I appreciate all of the comments. Yes I overheard some of a conversation as i waited in line so I was not aware of the full context. So i apologize if i did misrepresent your purpose for being there. Now I really didn't think to much of it until i saw your website page though. I will let it speak for itself. Bigfoot?!? Come on. I think it is awesome that you are there for people who need someone to talk to. And my church offers a Saturday service so the "Egg McMuffin flippers" have a service just for them too. But i would prefer you keep your attacks personal and leave my church out of it. I belong to a wonderful church that is doing amazing things within our community and around the world like helping build orphanages in Africa for orphans whose parents died of AIDS. If you want to fight the devil on his turf i think that would be one! And yes i have read the Bible, many, many times. Even got an MDiv at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary because I was so passionate about the Bible and the message of Jesus. I never questioned your faith, just the emphasis in which you have placed your faith. I would encourage you to memorize the Sermon on the Mount and allow that to be your major emphasis.

Anonymous said...

Dude, if I were you, I'd watch upsetting the paranormal experts. They know where you live...

a) agree with the whole 'wrapping Jesus in the flag' comment. We need to be careful that we're not tying Christianity to patriotism. I don't think we have any dibs on being God's special country, despite how well it plays with the Christian conservatives.

b) Dr. Powers site is weird. There's some stuff there that is well in the realm of disbelief for me, but if Dr. Powers is making an impact for good (and I don't know if he is or isn't), more power to him. Luke 9:49-50 comes to mind.

c) I don't think one blog entry defines your Christianity any more than Dr. Powers' conversation defines his. You've got a lot of great stuff here, and it appears that you are making a real impact on the lives of a lot of youth. Keep up the great work.

Mr. Macphisto said...

Mr. Russ and Father Dr. Powers should hold a public debate at the Buzz Coffee shop in Loveland, Ohio.

I would like to explore with SOAR PARA Big Foot sightings in the Loveland/Milford area and the possible existence of a giant frog in the Little Miami River.

Scott Russ said...

For more interesting commentary on this subject, particularly in the area of Cleamont County Paranormal Researchers please check out their brand new blog addressing their side of the story at www.scottrusssoar.blogspot.com. Even though my name is in the title of their new site I honestly do not have anything to do with it. I am not playing both sides here. Just found their discussion interesting on that site too.

Father L. Powers D.D. said...

Mr. Russ:
Yes you did misrepresent me and the reason why I was there, and I do accept your apology. As far as your other comments, all I can say everyone is welcome to form and voice their own opinions. This is a wonderful and free country we live in. All I sought after was an apology and I got it. I am not interested in debating whether anyone believes in the paranormal or not, or whether all paranormal investigators are going to Hell, or not. Or whatever you and your readers can come up with. You believe or you don't. It's truly that simple. Isn't this a grand a glorious country we live in? You and your readers are actually allowed to think I am a nut and yet life still goes on. Quite amazing. Keep blogging Mr. Scott, I actually agree with some of your opinions. Keep commenting Readers, exercise your freedoms and voice your opinions to all who will listen. I may not agree with them, but I will defend your right to voice them to the death! :) Bad publicity is good publicity. Controversy creates curiosity.