For me the realization came a few years ago when I was given a book about how to succeed in the Christian music industry. I had never thought of it as an “industry” before, but I as I finished the book written by those who were Christian musicians that I admired and considered gifted, there was no escaping the truth. I have nothing wrong with business in general, but most modern business principles are far removed from the standards of behavior that God calls His people to uphold. There is a new commentary out that sheds light on another Christian artistic “industry” in the publishing realm.
Just a couple of highlights from the commentary:
For example, two weeks ago at the International Christian Retail Show in Denver, Zondervan had its usual, large presence. The Grand Rapids-based publisher produces a large number of mainstream titles each year and is perhaps best known for its Bibles. What many “average” Christians do not know is that for 20 years, Zondervan has been owned by the gigantic New York house, Harper Collins.
When a Christian publisher is bought out by a large secular company, it is not possible for the formerly Christian-owned entity to decide for itself just how Christian it will be. Profit and loss become the all-consuming drivers.
I seem to recall something in Scripture about being unable to serve both God and Mammon(i.e. money). Christian consumerism has reached the point that we expect and almost demand to have a “Christian” version of anything and everything without realizing or caring where it comes from or what effect it has on the name of Christ. I am not out to become a watchblogger or a discernablogger or whatever those other nicknames are, but I am convicted that we need to find a better way forward. We cannot afford to insulate ourselves from the world by creating a Christian cocoon with our own little everything, neither can we afford to allow non-Christians to dictate or decide what is declared the latest Christian must have based on slick marketing.
The problem extends to the “Christian” bookstores as well, which you will know intuitively if you have been to one lately. Check out this anecdote:
Several years ago at a convention, I was talking with a salesman for a CBA publisher. He told me that a few weeks before, he had presented product to buyers at two separate Christian store chains.
One buyer told him she thought the Bible was nothing more than myth; the other openly challenged the idea that Adam and Eve were real people.
This explains a lot of what I have seen lately in some of the Christian bookstores in our area. How can we escape from Christian consumerism or do we even need to? I think a good first step is to not indulge the beast of consumerism itself. This is an area where I have plenty of problems in my own house so I am not pointing fingers elsewhere, just raising the issue. What do you think?