:: Saturday, February 26, 2005 ::
I broke my fast
This post could also be titled, "The Continuing Adventures of the TNIV Controversy."
After a period of about 2 1/2 years (about 2 years of that during Seminary), I made my first foray into a Christian Bookstore today. Actually, I went to two. I went because I was looking for some music we'd been doing in church for years on CD so I could play it for some of the folks at First Baptist Warren in the near future.
I couldn't find it at Best Buy (my first attempt for music), and I didn't have time for iTunes and burning the CD, etc. So I went to the Christian bookstore that was just down the parking lot from the Best Buy. I went in, and their music selection was really picked over. I mean, about half the shelves were bare. Others were thinly stocked. I found two of the four CDs I was looking for there. The clerk was only semi-helpful.
I decided that I also wanted to pick up a TNIV today while I was out running errands and read through it to decide if I wanted to use it regularly. After hunting around the "Bibles" section for a while, I finally gave up and went to the checkout counter. There were two clerks there, one working with a mom and 5-year old to get in-store credit for a non-existent VeggieTales item. The other clerk finished up with her customer and closed the aisle. I waited for about 15 minutes for the in-store credit to work, and the other clerk came back.
"Can I help you find something?" she asked. I said I was ready to make my purchases. She started walking away. So then I said that I was looking for a TNIV, did they have any? The busy clerk sort of startled and looked at me, then at the other clerk. I felt like she backed away just a bit. The other clerk said, "I don't think we have that one, we don't carry it here." I said, "Oh, that's too bad." She said, "I'll check with my manager." She got on the phone and came back out.
"We won't be carrying it, because it's too controversial. There's a letter that's posted in the office as to why - something about inclusive language." I said, "That's too bad, I think people need to read it to find out what the fuss is all about." She said, "I agree, but it's not my call." Then she went back into the office. Presently she emerged with a publisher's bound page proof of the TNIV New Testament. She said, "We were given these as samples to give out to people, you can have it if you want."
"Thanks," I said. She started to walk away again, but then thought better of it and said, "well, I guess I could ring you up."
She did, and I left.
I drove all the way to the other side of town, still looking for a couple of CDs, and now, more than ever, interested in tracking down a TNIV. I went into the other Christian bookstore's music section, discovering it to be kind of empty but not as picked-over looking as the other. I still couldn't find what I was looking for, so I went and asked the clerk at the counter. She looked it up - on the complicated text-driven IBM cash register/computer. She found it and we both scoured the shelf in that section until I found one of the two CDs. I gave up on the other one.
So as she was working on looking up another song for me, I asked the other clerk about the TNIV. I said, "I'm looking for something that seems a bit contoversial, so no offense, but do you carry the TNIV?"
"Of course," she said, and helped me find it. I picked up the little pocket-size one. We went back to the counter. The other clerk hadn't found the song I was looking for: it's a new version of "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go" played in a swingin' 2/2 meter with mandolin and guitar. We talked about how I didn't just want to pick up a CD of recycled hymns because the arrangements had the potential to be so awful. We all got a good laugh over that one.
Then I said, "I don't know why this TNIV is so contoversial - it seems like it works well in the campus ministry context, by avoiding the gender questions so much where it's unnecessary." Both clerks agreed with me, shaking their heads along with me.
They were friendly.
I don't think I'll be back to a Christian Bookstore for a while. Amazon.com works for most of the stuff I need (books and music, at least), and CM Almy has a decent website for the rest. I could end up being a full-time solo pastor at a traditional-ish church and not have to venture into a Christian bookstore for a really long time, if I plan ahead.
:: Matt 2/26/2005 11:30:00 PM :: permalink ::