One of my goals when we returned to the States back in 2005 for our “home assignment” was to not go into a regular Christian bookstore. By “regular Christian bookstore” I’m referring to the typical strip-mall bookstore in which you can find a hundred copies of whatever the latest fad book is but cannot buy a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress or a good commentary on Ephesians. (I’m waiting for these stores to stock Your Best Purpose-Driven Prayer of Jabez Now, or perhaps the Mid-Life Introvert Male Study Bible).
I failed in my goal.
Christianity Today has a short article on why mediocre books can become best sellers, while serious theological works are hard to find. Read What’s Not Coming to a Bookstore Near You–How competition to publish celebrity Christians crowds out theology.
I will make some endorsements for fantastic Christian bookstores:
For those of you in the St. Louis area:
Covenant Theological Seminary Bookstore — Near I-270 and Hwy 40.
Concordia Seminary Bookstore — In Clayton, west of Forest Park
You won’t find much “Jesus junk” or theologically-questionable best sellers in these bookstores, but you will find something for everyone, from children’s books to Bible commentaries.
My all-time favorite Christian bookstores are those run by Community Christian Ministries, with stores in Moscow, Idaho; Pullman, Washington; Logan, Utah; and Gunnison, Colorado. These stores are staffed by “mature Christians with a heart for personal evangelism.” When you walk into one of these stores, you will be served by a friendly, knowledgeable, mature Christian who will take a genuine interest in helping you. You will find bookshelves that are stocked with what is best, rather than what sells best. Unfortunately, most of us don’t live within easy driving time of these fine small-western-university-town bookstores.
Grace and Peace