But not necessarily in that order: after all, this is the Christian book trade — sorry, Christian retail — and today is Sunday, a day of rest … and frivolity. Because we were not made for the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made for us, and anyone who wants to argue the toss on that can take it up with the man upstairs.
Eyes on Jesus first then. Andrew Lacey writes:
While we are on the subject of the ‘crass commercialisation of Christianity’ I thought you might appreciate these images – if Phil can get them posted somewhere in the same area! Thanks to Jackie for being the ‘hand model’ for these wonderful/dreadful pens loudly declaring ‘Keep your eyes on Jesus’- and when appropriately squeezed the eyes POP OUT OF THE HEAD! Yoh! Now that is really crass! If you contact me after hours, I can quietly whisper to you the name of the company they came in from……Hang on – they’re actually IN my shop! Who ordered them? Who authorised them? Who has been having fun without my permission?!
Seriously, there are major issues here, and, for what it’s worth, I actually had an article half written not long after I started in ‘The Trade’ expressing my concern about some of these aspects of the trade. I never completed it because I sensed my own ‘complicity’ in the whole process. After all, I AM the guy who buys the sweets, who sells the poppy-out-eyes pens and groans at the proliferation of Bibles – but still populates the shelf with them. (By the way – is anyone else having serious problems getting black bonded leather Bibles – of most translations? – we are really struggling!!)
In fairness to ourselves, there is a path to tread between the ‘crass commercialisation’ and the genuine urge to be creative – and have a bit of fun! And it is difficult to get it right. In the same way that very few (in a previous conversation here) who had a desire to censor out ‘The Shack’, there are probably very few managers out there who would be supportive of a ‘Product Police’. Ultimately, it is the customer who will do that- and they are often more discerning than we realise.
That said, I do agree with your concern about many of these aspects, and really do take these buying issues pretty seriously. Now, I must go & find out who ordered the poppy-eyed pens……!
Feet on the ball. We’ve had one more twitter response:
And finally, for now, tongue firmly in cheek but laughter unrestrained, from our USA correspondent:
It’s the shirt I love: must get one. The dentists must be doing a roaring trade, methinks…
… and if you’re wondering where next, check out Geez magazine: Confessions of a Christian-ish retailer