Patronizing Christian retailers
For those who want to, Christian retailers have made it awfully hard, CVH notes, especially for music shoppers.
As far as the Christian bookstore question goes, I decided a number of years ago that loyalty to the concept of Christian brick and mortar retail is no longer valid. Thirty years ago the only place you could buy a Christian album or Bible or religious book was a Christian bookstore. Today most Borders or Barnes & Nobles have much more selection. Christian music is available in many retail locations. I’ve lived in several parts of the country and with two notable exceptions the majority of Christian bookstores I’ve patronized have had 1)an increasingly limited selection of product, 2)higher prices and 3)a lack of customer service.
My own sense is this decline of Christian retail is just one more symptom of American evangelicalism’s fragmentation. On the one hand, the internet has made it much easier for the “be ye not of this worlders” to live out their separation from secular American life (home school, online retail, discussion forums, news sites). Meanwhile the main currents of evangelicalism have for some time now been busy rebranding evangelicalism as user-friendly to the wider world – witness Joel Osteen and Rick Warren and the rise of the social gospel that packages Christianity as a ready-made self-help handbook for modern life. Or closer to home: CCM crossover acts like Mat Kearney and Switchfoot. Instead of “be like us,” it’s now “we’re like you.”