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The Christian Industrial Complex (Part 1)

Are Christian bookstores challenging the values of our culture or just copying them?

I went into a Christian bookstore the other day and was surprised to see some of the most prominent display space given over to military flags for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. These flags, and a vast assortment of Americana merchandise, were on sale for the holidays.

A part of me ached because I know how difficult it must be to run a little Christian bookstore these days. But I winced as I heard the manager fatalistically confess that he resorted to selling military merchandise to "make it." It is a sad day when we sell our military banners next to Jesus' enemy-loving cross to make it in a financial recession. (Before long we'll be pushing posters of scantily-clad women accompanied by a verse from Song of Solomon).

It's true that my Christian faith gives me a passion for peace and sets me at odds with militarism. But I think I'd feel a similar dissatisfaction if the last resort for economic survival at our bookstores was selling Home Depot or Wal-Mart gift cards. I just ...

July/August
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