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A Missionary on Furlough Walks into a Christian Bookstore…

Christian Bookstore

When was the last time you went into a Christian bookstore? What was your impression of it?

Daryl Fulp recently visited the States to share with a few local church bodies the work God has allowed him to be a part of in San Antonio Aguas Caliente, Guatemala. He and his family run an orphanage for special needs children to keep them out of substandard orphanages and institutions that fail to meet important care needs.

Fulp’s family gets the opportunity to not only adopt these beautiful children into their home but also share the hope and love of Jesus with everyone they come in contact with. Fulp has held many precious souls as they take their last breath and before they see Jesus face to face.

Walking into a Christian Bookstore

While having some time to fill at the airport before traveling back home to Guatemala, Daryl decided to share about an experience he had while on furlough. The everyday experience sounds innocuous enough, but it impacted him to the point where he felt the need to share it.

In a Facebook post, Fulp shares, “I went to a Christian bookstore for the first time in years. I did okay for a little while, but suddenly felt overwhelmed and broken and had to rush out the door to catch my breath. Why?…”

Three reasons:

  1. As I walked through the store looking at books and decorative items to fill the home, I realized that Jesus has become big business. There was jewelry, auto decals, clothing, paintings, and crosses of every size and style. I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Is this what Jesus had in mind when He gave His life?”
  2. While there was a scattering of quality books, the large majority were “Christian junk food.” Shelf after shelf of books that focuses on the believer’s happiness and success, and very few addressing the nature of God and biblical discipleship (the real solution for happiness and success).
  3. As I looked at the over-priced decorative items for homes and T-shirts with Christian statements, verses and declarations, I wondered if we actually lived these truths out in our homes and lives if we would feel the need for those items.

I am not saying we don’t need quality books and places to buy them. I don’t have a problem with a bookstore that sells resources for Christ-followers. I just feel like the church has fallen into a cultural trap that has led us to view unhealthy things as normal and healthy.

Maybe I just overthink things. Either way, I have decided Christian bookstores are not for me.

The tone of Fulp’s post is not accusatory but rather disappointed and perhaps a little sad. Living and working in a situation as he does, caring for children who may not be with us much longer in a country that is far from the States, both socio-economically and culturally, has changed his perspective. Those of us who live in the States and don’t have to give much thought to where our next meal is coming from or whether our children will take their next breaths can fail to see his point. We need discipleship training tools. We need books on theology and how to reach unreached people. We need resources to equip us for the work of the Kingdom.

But Christian bookstores supply what people want to buy. So perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves is this: What kind of work are we equipping ourselves for with trinkets and t-shirts instead of books on discipleship training?

Daryl Fulp is a father of 10 and the Director of Hope for Home Ministries. He and his family live in San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Guatemala where they run a home for children with special needs and minister to families with children with special needs in rural villages. Please check out their ministry at Hope for Home Ministries. He occasionally blogs here.