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09 August 2005

That's For Alanis Morissette's Pain

One of the things we do where I work is order massive quantities of books from Christian publishers each year. This is good for a few reasons. One is that I get discounts of 60-90 percent off the list price of any of the books from these publishers that are worth purchasing (and, yes, there actually are a few that are worth purchasing). Another equally enjoyable reason is that I get to leaf through their catalogues and make fun of most of what they publish. When Christians incorporate and start serving the dollar, things get amusing. Here are some of my favourite offerings from Zondervan:

NIV Archaeological Study Bible

They said: “Written to be accessible to all readers, the NIV Archaeological Study Bible is the first Bible to feature a full-color interior design along with bottom-of-the-page study notes, book introductions, articles, maps, charts, and over 500 color photographs highlighting the historical, cultural, and archaeological information found in the Scriptures.” Jeannette Taylor of JET Marketing says she’s “never seen people respond so positively to a product concept.” Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary President Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. says it may be “the publishing event of this decade.”

I say: First of all, can we please stop trying to have it both ways? Either you think the Christian Bible is the “Holy Bible” or you don’t, OK? Either it’s the inerrant Word of God™ or it isn’t. You can’t pretend that there’s something inherently wonderful and special and God-spoken about this book one moment, and then prostitute it out to key demographic groups for a profit the next. I’ll be the first to admit that this is a pretty cool concept. But if you really think the Bible is written by God, then just stop. God is not down with your hipster youth culture or your 500 colour photographs. Dig deeper my ass.

Secondly, the publishing event of the decade? Don’t flatter yourself. At the risk of pulling a John Lennon here, um, arry-Hay otter-Pay.

Presumed Guilty – James Scott Bell

James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer who writes legal suspense books. Sound like anyone you know? Like maybe, I dunno, John Grisham? The only thing more ridiculous than Christian versions of “secular” trends is when the “secular” trend setter is a Christian in the first place. John Grisham is a white Southern Baptist male. That’s about as stereotypically Christian as you can get in this country.

Web of Lies – Brandilyn Collins

Collins is also the author of Brink of Death. And Dead of Night. And Stain of Guilt. What the hell? Is this your trademark? To have sinister-sounding three word clichés featuring a noun on either side of the word “of?” That’s just dumb.

Adventures in Missing the Point – Brian D. McLaren & Tony Campolo

Actually, this is a really great book. You should read it.

The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass Aged 37 ¾ - Adrian Plass

Are you trying to be witty by ripping off the titles of Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole novels? Or did you just think that no one would notice? Or can you just not come up with your own ideas? If this is supposed to be an allusion, it’s a really crappy one.

OK, so that’s enough angry white suburban vitriol for one day. But watch your back Crossway. You’re next.

Comments on "That's For Alanis Morissette's Pain"


Blogger hipchickmamma said ... (8/10/2005 07:00:00 AM) : 

how is it that "christian" rip offs are never called on the carpet for plagerism? is it because it's so terribly bad?


Blogger Streak said ... (8/10/2005 07:11:00 AM) : 

The Grisham comment is right on. Christian fiction, at least the little i have read, is laughably bad. And as you point out, the problem is that in many cases, it isn't as if the genre they are ripping off is so offensive. This is marketing, pure and simple.

And the Bible stuff? You have seen the others, haven't you? The Tim Lahaye study bible? Or the Promise Keeper's version? I could swear I saw one with the American flag on the cover, and know that I saw a camo covered one for the military. Christian bookstores bug me for a lot of reasons--one is the amount of crap that people will slap a verse on and call it ministry. The second is just how many ways they will sell the bible to consumerchristians.


Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (8/10/2005 09:32:00 AM) : 


It's even worse when they rip each other off. Left Behind is eerily similar in a number of ways to another end of the world novel Tyndale released several years ago.


It's so sad what Christians have done to the arts. This is the worldview responsible for Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, and so on. Christians should be making risky and downright brilliant stuff. And some are. Many of my favourite musicians are Christians who would never in a million years find themselves on Christian radio, because what they're doing is either too risky or so far ahead of its time that the Christian industry wouldn't have a clue what to do with it. Sort of like how the Bible would never be for sale in Christian bookstores if it wasn't the Bible.

And, yes, I've seen the Bible with the flag on the cover and the camo covered one. Makes my head hurt.


Blogger ninjanun said ... (8/10/2005 09:07:00 PM) : 

Secondly, the publishing event of the decade? Don’t flatter yourself. At the risk of pulling a John Lennon here, um, arry-Hay otter-Pay.

Oh, don't you remember when this version of the Bible came out, and there were all those "Bible release" parties? Some of the kids dressed up as their favorite Bible character (or archeologist), there were fun games and prizes, everyone got a parchment-colored wrist band, and unleavened bread was served.

No? You mean you don't remember that? :p


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