Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What's So Amazing About Grace?

So far I've posted about things I didn't really like or things that were too hilariously ridiculous for words. However, one of the perks of working in a Christian bookstore is that you also get exposed to the very best of Christian literature, whether fiction or nonfiction. One of the authors whose books I have really begun to appreciate is Philip Yancey.

I don't know why it took me so long to start reading Yancey. Goodness knows my dad is obsessed enough with him. He used to have the Philip Yancey study Bible back in university and kept it until it was completely mangled and just not fit for use anymore. He also owns every Philip Yancey book ever written and refers to him extensively. Despite all this I never really did read much of his work until I left home.

Then, a few weeks ago I picked up What's So Amazing About Grace? and absolutely loved it. For the past few years I've increasingly felt that God is calling me to minister to sex trade workers, and so this book could not have been more appropriate. Often, as Christians, we forgot just how much grace has been extended to us. Although God let us come to Him just as we were, we expect other people to clean up their act before we make them feel welcome among us. This book alternately inspired me, brought me to tears, and made me think. Most of all, it reminded me of just how mind-blowing God's grace really is. I have a lot less time to read now than I used to, but this book was completely worth it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jesus Wants to Save Rob Bell's Paragraph Structure

Unlike most North American Christians, I only read my first Rob Bell book a few weeks ago. This is despite the fact that I work at a Christian bookstore. I also, shamefully, have not yet read The Shack. I did, however, finally take the time to buy a Rob Bell book for myself and see what all the fuss was about. I picked up Jesus Wants to Save Christians, since the back looked really interesting. And he did make some good points.

Really, he did.

But he has no grasp of proper paragraph structure.

None at all.

I understand that he's trying to get the whole conversational tone going, but I just could not look past the choppy paragraphs.


It was that bad.

[/my imitation of Rob Bell]

In all fairness, the book had definite potential. He made some good points and,while I don't agree with absolutely everything he said, he made me think. That was a good thing, but it wasn't enough to overpower the choppy paragraphs. Call it OCD if you'd like, but it bothers me. I also can't handle poor spelling or grammar in books. Don't they have editors for that sort of thing? (I, on the other hand, am just a blogger and therefore have an excuse :P) I will make myself finish it, and I will prayerfully ponder what I can do to live in a more socially just way. But if I ever write a book about it I'll make sure my editor knows what he (or she) is doing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ephesians 6:10-17...for children ages 3 and up

Until I started grade 6, I went to a publicly funded Christian school in Quebec City. This meant I had to take English as a second language, a class that consisted primarily of watching strange English Christian movies. One stands out in my memory to this day. The details are a little fuzzy, but I remember a knight in a medieval kingdom. He is on trial for his faith, and is about to go to the chopping block. All of a sudden, he brandishes his Bible in the air and yells "The sword of a spirit which is the word of God!" Suddenly, the Bible morphs into a sword, and the knight starts waving it at the bad guy (who, somewhere along the way, has morphed into a snake.) I'm not sure about the specifics of the rest of the movie, though if I'm not mistaken it involved some sort of "happily ever after with Jesus" ending.

As a result of this movie, I have never been able to listen to Ephesians 6 and keep a straight face. I always picture the knight (did I mention he also had long greasy hair?) waving his sword and yelling "The Word of God!" So I was predisposed to find any Christian products related to Ephesians 6 amusing. I wasn't, however, prepared for the children's toy my little brother unearthed in the kiddy section.
Parents, if you want your children to learn all about the armour of God, you now have some pretty nifty plastic visual aids. Your son or daughter can literally put on the full armour of God, from the shoes of the preparation of peace to the shield of faith. If you have two sons I suggest hanging onto the swords, lest the boys become involved in a duel and completely miss your Bible lesson. And if your daughter finds the armour too manly for her taste, it also comes in a nice white, pink, and purple version. Just make sure your kids are 3 years of age or older. Apparently there are small parts that could endanger toddlers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dayspring Musical Cards

I remember being eight years old and wanting desperately to get a musical birthday card. You know, one of those cards that starts playing Happy Birthday every time you open it? I'm not sure why I wanted one so badly, but I begged for one until my aunt Claire finally bought one for me. I still have it to this day, I might add. However, this card has nothing on the shipment of cards that came into work this week.

Imagine a head-on collision between Dayspring and CCM, with a tinny sound quality thrown in for good measure. Enough said?

For those of you who have been looking for a birthday card that sings Indescribable by Chris Tomlin, look no further. Want an encouragement card that plays some nice, soothing Casting Crowns music? You've got it. Now your friend can praise Him in this storm. As for the friendship card, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that it plays Friends by Michael W. Smith. Because friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them. They may never have any contact with each other after graduation or the last day of camp, at least this side of heaven, but they're friends forever. Want to give your significant other a Dayspring card that tells them just how much they mean to you? How about one that plays Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer? Is it just me, or should musical cards be limited to jokes. They kind of seem to fall flat on romantic occasions.

But my absolute favourite- the piece de resistance, if you will- is the "no particular occasion" occasion card that plays Jesus Freak by DC Talk. That's right, Jesus Freak. Clearly they just wanted an excuse to work that song (and a wonderful song it is, too) into a musical card. I seriously considered buying the card for myself before giving myself the "Christina-you-need-to-watch-your-finances" lecture. But if anyone out there wants to send me a card for no particular reason, from one Jesus Freak to another, I'm open. In the meantime, I had to youtube the music video to Jesus Freak to bring back memories. "People say I'm strange, does it make me a stranger? My best friend was born in a manger." Good times....


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hey (First Post)

My name is Christina, I'm 17 and in my first year arts student in Canada looking to major in History and...drumroll...Latin (not because it will ever be of any use, just because I love the course). I also work part-time at the local Christian bookstore. I honestly love my job. My coworkers are phenomenal, as are most of the customers (I did have one woman corner me and demand my opinion on replacement theology on my very first day of training...but that's a whole other story). I've also had access to some phenomenal books, music, and the like that have really helped me grow in my faith. But in the three months I have worked at this store I have stickered a wide range of product- some great, some not-so-great, and some so weird I had to restrain myself from bursting out laughing right on the sales floor. So this blog is dedicated to telling you what's selling right now in the Christian subculture- the good, the bad, and the just plain odd. Enjoy, and God bless you (and if you stop by my work you could buy a mug or magnet that says God bless you, and I could smile nicely for you, put it in a lovely Dayspring bag, and wish you a nice day. Tempting, eh?)