About Me

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My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Well That Was an Experience

I'm just back from the Christian book store. It's been a while since I visited there. I used to work in one and have somewhere over the past few years developed a mild distaste for them. There are several reasons for that, the main one being that I do not believe that what I'm looking for, or what the church needs for that matter, can be found in a book.

But today I went in search of The Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight. My friend Gary has talked about it enough to get my attention. I've known Gary long enough to know that if he likes it, I will probably like it too. I've not searched this book out before though becuase (forgive my arrogance here), the gist of the book "Love God, Love Others" is my own personal mantra and I didn't think I'd learn anything new. I didn't find that particular book - for whatever reason they don't keep it in stock at the local Christian book store but as I searched for it I was reminded of some other reasons for why I don't like going to the Christian book store....

As I browsed row after row on books looking for something that I can use in The Micah 6:8 Group, I started feeling .... well ... sick. So many of the titles had to do in some way or another with self. I could list titles and would except that I am feeling better now and don't wish to nauseate myself again. Now admittedly, the interest in self is an understandable one. But I have to wonder why there are so many flavors of it on Christian book shelves?

I did see two books that caught my eye though... Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Centered Church Neutered the Gospel by Brain McLauren and Tony Campolo, and The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World. I'm also reading my son's recommendation - Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller.

I snagged the two books I had found up and went to the check-out to pay and there I was reminded of another reason why I keep a distance between myself and Christian book stores.

There was an elderly couple in line in front of me paying for their purchase with a credit card. I only noticed this when they questioned why there were two copies of their reciept. The clerk explained that one copy was for the store and the other for the credit card company. She went on to explain that one day we will not even need paper because everything will be electronic. Looking baffled, the elderly lady said, "No paper??? I'm not sure I want to live in a world with no paper". The clerk eagerly agreed and said in a hushed tone, "I believe that's how 'the mark' will come. Everyone who has a credit card will have 'the mark'."

Being the polite person that I am I did not roll my eyes dramatically or run screaming from the store - both of which I felt like doing. I simply waited until the confused couple walked away, then I approached the clerk and laid my purchases on the counter. She looked them over, gave me a disapproving look and rang them up. I then handed her my dreaded credit card, which she swiped and handed back to me. I could not help but notice that from the moment she saw the books I was buying she treated me differently than she had the elderly couple. To them she was all smiles and sweetness and of course, that loving warning about credit cards. To me, she acted as if she was handling something dirty and couldn't wait for me to leave so she could wash her hands.

It would be funny if it weren't so sad.


Gary Means said...

Amber, I had real mixed emotions about the story of the clerk and the credit card. I laughed, but I also felt sad. It's people like that who really give Christ a bad name. My heart sinks when I think of all the eternal damage that is done by Christians whose theology is dominated by a toxic combination of a simplistic faith and self-righeousness both driven by fear. It's a wonder that anybody becomes a Christian with so many fundamentalists running around. (not that I feel strongly about this or anything!)

Bruce said...

I know the feeling so weell, Amber. I went to a Christian bookstore recently, looking for material for my single's class. What a disappointment. Can't say that I've had the same experience you had with the clerk, but I tend to buy my books like that from major bookstore chains. Sometimes I get them wrapped in plain brown paper so no one will know what I have. :-)

Hey Gary, preach on man.


bjk said...

Lost is lost....right??

David Cho said...

I don't go to Christian bookstores anymore. The music section is the worst. Every CD adorned with young and pretty boys and girls...

Amber said...

Gary - I hear ya and feel strongly about it too.

Bruce - a brown paper bag... now that's a good idea. :)

bjk - yep

David - I have, for the most part, given up Christian music. I do listen to it occasionally but not a lot. I think that may be part of the reason I was drawn to Rich Mullins - he went against the flow when it came to the contemporary christian music business.