Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A trip to the Christian bookstore

In the South, Christian bookstores are a-plenty. I'm talking grocery store size, in your local strip mall. Where I live, they are generally small, hole-in-the-wall places, mostly filled with Catholic parapheneila. I'm just sayin'.

I have this like/dislike thing for Christian bookstores. While I enjoy the resources available at my fingertips-a.-I can easily spend a lot of money there if I let myself, and -b.- the choices overwhelm me.

Perusing the parenting section, I get anxious reading the titles:
Train your child in this way...
How to raise your teenager...
Meaningful parenting...

...It makes me think of all the stuff I don't do. And I remember why I plead the fifth when asked about good parenting books.

Then, over to the women's section:
Lies Women Believe... (This one actually looks good!)
How to be the most perfect mother in the whole world! I promise! You will! Just follow this formula!!....
...and such. Yeah, there's my perfectionist nature getting involved.

For me, a do-er, I have to remember to "be". In Him. That's why His Word holds all instruction and life for us as believers. No need to read "Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars...", it's written there plainly in Scripture:

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. ~Ephesians 5:22-33

Such wisdom, such conciseness, such freedom, such simplicity.

So I did skip over the titles there in the bookstore yesterday. However, I did buy a Bible for my daughter's upcoming 5th birthday. I pray that will be the only instruction book she will ever need.

All things are lawful for me,but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.~I Corinthians 10:23


Jana said...

My sentiments exactly. A perfectionist myself, and also a reading addict, I have developed an aversion to ANY parenting book. I still read the occasional one out of curiosity, but with much caution and preparation of heart and mind. I'm kinda going back to "my roots" - the simplicity of Scripture. It's all there, really. And it feels a lot less condemning than many of the books I've read - by well-meaning and intelligent authors, mind you! I haven't been able to buy anything in a Christian book store for quite some time. However, the books that HAVE been ministering to me lately are really old ones - Hannah Whittall Smith, Elizabeth Prentiss, etc.

Glow Girls said...

My mom was saying this to a friend just the other day and she thought my mom was crazy. Something like, all the self-help books are the same, and essentially a money making gimmick. Anyway, hi, I'm Lizie. I just started a blog with my three sisters.

:..Rebekah..: said...

This has been my experience exactly. God is so good at keeping our eyes on what we really need to be focused on....His word. Too much information is not always helpful and can certainly be overwhelming. I've gotten rid of alot of books for this same reason. In some ways hearing too many voices and views can distract me from the One voice I need to really be listening to.

I enjoy your blog and am blessed by your insight and your wisdom.
God bless!

L.L. Barkat said...

As the Jewish tradition says concerning scripture, "everything for life is contained therein". If only we remember that, and seek.

Betsy said...

Hey Andrea! I miss you, come home! Loved reading your post. This is why my nightstand is filled with halfway-read "parenting" books that might inspire me but don't change me. Thank goodness it's His Word that truly is transforming. Now if only that was the first book I picked up!! Love your wisdom, always. Kiss your flock for me :)

mary brooke said...

Wonderful post. I have read a lot and want to read more, but there is no time. How wonderful for me to realize that God's word is sufficient. Your post was well said. We are planning to use AO year 1 when my oldest two are 6.5 & 4.5 or maybe 7 & 5. I love each AO year, but it seems like we should be doing readings together. They are just 5 & 3 and we read together. Mary Brooke in Atlanta

Amy Jane said...

I like to read (some) parenting books, but I bristle at the the idea of doing a "study" on childrearing.

Another couple suggested it as a church topic for our (fast-growing) young-adult segment and as a hook to include unbelievers, but I (knee-jerk-- don't want to think I'm an actual jerk) yanked back and said, "No way. I'm doing 'kids' all week. I don't want to spend all my adult-fellowship time still doing 'kids.'"

I waffle on this sometimes, but mostly I feel this way. I think this is better to learn on my own.

Especially with me being so opinionated.

Andrea said...

Yes, I know what you mean about preparing yourself to read those books. I have to, too. I know there are some great ones out there, and I am open to reading them, but I have to limit them.
Glow girls--what a great blog you have! Keep up the good work and I'll be reading for sure..
You are right. It's not just about the parenting books getting in the way, it's other "voices", even blogs that can get in the way of hearing His one voice.
Great quote. thanks for sharing it.
Betsy~"inspire me but don't change me"--wow, you are so right about that. Books have the power to inspire but not change unless it's His Word...great!
Mary Brooke--I read aloud all of the AO books to my almost 7 and almost 5 year old. That is our read aloud.
That is so true. While I'm sure parenting seminars can actually be quite good--I look at it as perhaps a jumpstart to new ideas or ways of doing things--it doesn't sound like a neccesarily "fun" thing to do when you do kids' all week. :)

Anonymous said...

i really enjoyed that post. i think there is alot of truth in what you shared with us. as a culture we sometimes make things much more complicated then they need be. God truly said it best Himself.

Anonymous said...

I hope I'm not being too controversial with my reply here. Just received a Lifeway bookstore mailer by the post yesterday, and the encroachment of consumerism in this realm reminds me of the discernment I need so badly from God. It's nice to have such outlets for Christian gifts for our friends and family, but I find some of the books and gifts to be a bit junky and empty. I see so many Christian friends falling into the trap of what is the current Christian "trend". Reading some of these books (like the ones you list) ought never to replace reading and HEEDING the Word.

Enjoyed your post!


Sara said...

Emily...I came to post the same thing. I see such a huge push towards Christian "stuff". Christian bracelets. Christian keychains. Christian mints.

Will they know we are Christians "by our LOVE"? Or by how many Christian knick knacks we have in our house, or how many fish stickers we have on our car?

I enjoy a good browse through the Christian bookstore too...but like many have said, I often come out feeling empty and WANTING. Books are wonderful...but why all the other junk? It's hard to find the line.

Great post Andrea...