By Amy Sondova All I wanted to do was duck in quick and make a clean getaway. I was braving a trip to a local Christian bookstore to get present for my best friend. Since I waited too long, I couldn’t just order her something fantastic from Amazon.com (oh, and justify buying a CD for myself so I could get that free shipping deal on orders of $25 or more). I decided that she needed Donald Miller’s book, Through Painted Deserts, which actually isn’t a “new” book but a reprint of his first book, which no one cared about because he wasn’t famous yet. Now, of course, everyone loves it. Go figure.
So I searched for all the “postmodern” books for Through Painted Deserts, but it was not nestled between Miller’s other two books. I thought perhaps I could find my friend another book that would be equally good. I found a diet book, a story with a Christian take on the show “24”, and a few others that might be good fodder with which to build a bonfire. Finally, I came upon a few lone copies of Through Painted Deserts hiding out with some Beth Moore books in the Christian living section. Perfect! I grabbed the book and grumbled mentally about having to pay full price (wouldn’t have had to do that on Amazon) and made my way to the check-out.
I stood in line while the cashier unsuccessfully tried to ring up the customer in front of me. Glancing around the check-out area, I took note of the various impulse items up for grabs. There were some cheap plastic window ornaments, Test-a-mints (so you can witness to people with bad breath), and other obscure nonsense. But what really caught my eye were kinetic flashlights–All you have to is shake the flashlight which charges up with kinetic power so you never need batteries. What a deal! And what type of kinetic flashlight does the well-meaning Christian carry? One that says, “Walk in the Light,” of course! I mean, Christians are the light of the world. How silly we would be if we didn’t buy overpriced merchandise to remind us of the truth that should be carved into our hearts.
A bright red bag then grabbed my attention. It was a first aid kit, but not just any first aid kid. This was a “Jesus Heals” First Aid Kit! Yup, it came complete with 33 different first aid items like band-aids, antibiotics, and tweezers. I mean, Jesus heals and all but sometimes He uses triple antibiotic to do it. Instead of purchasing first aid products at, say, a pharmacy, you can now purchase them at your local Christian bookstore. Since these products are a “Jesus” brand, I imagine they are miraculous and provide immediate healing! I mean, put a band-aid on a guy who would regularly need 60 stitches and he’s healed immediately! It’s a modern day miracle right there on a plastic rack!
Finally, the cashier waited on me and I hightailed it out of that bookstore. I sort of wanted to start throwing stuff all over the place while yelling, “You’ve turned this Bible bookstore into a den of thieves!” But I thought I would get arrested and that would definitely ruin my day. By the way, I also checked out an Amplified NIV Study Bible….$39.99. Wow! Too bad the Gideons don’t give out that version for free.
The sad thing is that not only is there a market for crap like Jesus band-aids and Jesus flashlights, no one seems outraged that it exists. Look, Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, my Savior, my Shepherd, my Prince of Peace, and He’s being reduced to pushing first aid kits and flashlights. What a shabby, flashy, shallow way to whore the name of my Lord! Not only are these products reprehensible, the places that carry them are no better. Look, I’m all about free enterprise. I know the market determines what sells and that people actually buy this garbage. But a private business owner can choose not to put this merchandise in his or her store. Yet it is there anyway. Why? Because someone is really going to see a “Jesus Heals” band-aid and be amazed by your witness? Because a kinetic flashlight is going to prove to the world that you are the Light of the World? Don’t use band-aids and flashlights to show the world you’re a Christian–live it.
Maybe if we all tried a little harder to live our faith and let our love scream loudly, people would know we are Christians by our love, not by our first aid kits.