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"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." --Flannery O' Connor

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Rant of Biblical Proportions

Yesterday on my way home from breakfast, I stopped at a local used bookstore that specializes in books on Christian theology and spirituality. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, but as I walked in I remembered that I had been thinking about getting a chronological Bible and decided to see if they had any. But I was only in their "Bibles" section for two seconds before I felt the familiar weariness that is my standard reaction to Christian bookstores as a whole.

There were so many Bibles. I'm not talking about translations here; I'm talking about "The Couple's Devotional Bible", the "Celebrate Recovery Bible", "The Groom's Bible" (subtitle: "preparing spiritually for the most important day of your life"), and the one that really made me gag, the "Busy Life Bible" ("Got a minute? Only a minute? This Bible is designed just for you").

There were Bibles for students, for dads, for "all people" (I guess just in case, God forbid, a niche market was overlooked). There was an "Inclusive" Bible, which sounds like the Bible for all people, except it's not; it's an "egalitarian" Bible, meaning it uses words like humankind instead of mankind, and so on. There were indeed chronological Bibles (none of which I ended up buying), as well as one-year reading plan Bibles and study Bibles — including the "Inspirational Study Bible", edited, to my complete lack of surprise, by Max Lucado.

I'm not going to make some big point here (probably to your complete lack of surprise). I just feel kind of sad. It's bad enough, in my opinion, that American Christianity has been commodified into bumper stickers and T-shirts with saccharine slogans on them, or Jesus Christ action figures, or (God forgive us) this. All of that is plain awful, period. But what can you expect from people who see in the sacred text itself an opportunity for profit? Every carefully branded iteration of what used to be simply The Holy Bible is yet another triumph of marketing over mystery.

We talk about Christ paying the price for our sins. Well, believe me, he still does.

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  • At 9:01 PM , Blogger Shunshine Girl said...

    Hmmmmm... good points you make. I haven't looked in the Bible section in a LONG time. Probably because I already have so many different translations from attending a private Christian college, then a seminary for grad school. :) What you're describing makes me sad! But, on the flip side... maybe it helps more people read the Bible than would otherwise? I hope....

  • At 7:13 PM , Anonymous Carl G. said...

    Right with you on this, Gracky!

  • At 10:27 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Bibles are like cable TV.


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