OK, I'm going now to rant about Mardel Christian Bookstores.
You may be familiar w/ the just-released movie "End of the Spear," which retells the death of young missionaries (including Nate Saint and Jim Elliot) in Ecuador at the hands of the murderous Waodani tribe. The movie focuses in particular on Nate Saint, the pilot. However, the role of Nate Saint in "End of the Spear" has been filled by a Chad Allen, who is a gay activist and has starred in homosexual-themed movies and TV shows. He has apparently marched in at least one gay-pride parade in a large US city and displays no repentant attitude about his lifestyle or activities in his very recent interview on Larry King Live, where he was joined by Dr. Al Mohler and Janet Parshall.
See the transcript.
Also, please see also his official fan website.
On this page are posted not a few links to support groups for gay students, "2005 Queer Favorites," and other similar things.
A blogger I have come to enjoy (who is an asst. pastor from Colorado w/ a real live name) comments often on this film and has sent letters and a petition to Mr. Mart Green (the owner of Mardel Christian Stores) asking him to reconsider his decision to cast Mr. Allen as Nate Saint.
Looking at Mr. Allen's credentials listed on the movie publicity website, we see also that his production company did the play "Corpus Christi" in Los Angeles. I won't link to this blasphemous, ridiculous, biased, and highly historically inaccurate play (which, if you are unfamiliar w/ it, features a hard-drinking gay Jesus), but you get the picture. This Mr. Allen is no friend of the faith Nate Saint died to share w/ a people who were destroying themselves as a logical conclusion of their culture.
I am personally thoroughly disgusted by this choice to cast Mr. Allen as Nate Saint in this movie. I don't know whether I would see it in the theatre if I still lived in the States, but I just wanted to let all of you know about it - there may well be a good reason not to go.
Mardel is not alone among other Christian bookstores in its lack of discernment. Others, like Family Christian Stores, have made other bad decisions like refusing to carry Derek Webb's She Must And Shall Go Free b/c of the lyrics of this song, which is clearly imagery discussed in the Bible itself. Why Mardel? Nothing particularly better or worse in the areas that concern me than other retailers, although this movie ticked me off enough to blog about it.
A list of Christian retailers' offenses (off the top of my head):
-kowtowing to publishing houses' inundation of the market w/ "new and improved" English translations of the Bible. For God's sake, STOP! There are way more than enough! How about diverting some of that capital into projects like creating translations for languages that don't have one? I recently heard a joke about the new ESV, which I like quite well as a translation; that it's the NASB w/o semicolons.
-refusing to exercise much discernment in their stocking of music.
--I don't want to get too much into P.O.D., but the way they present themselves before secular magazines like Rolling Stone and Guitar is extremely disappointing and disturbing.
The list could go on.
--Amy Grant and Vince Gill
--Phillips, Craig, and Dean
-refusing to exercise discernment in their stocking of books. The list is long and distinguished. Among the worst that come to mind:
--Other Word of Faith teachers like the Crouches, Kenneth Hagin, Fred Price, Creflo Dollar, Marilyn Hickey, Oral Roberts, etc
--The "Divine Revelation of Hell" and "Divine Revelation of Heaven" by Mary Baxter
OK, there are just a few reasons to be afraid, very afraid, when walking into your local Christian bookstore. And angry. Like me.
That said, I thank God for them since they're great stores for browsing when you're a theology/apologetics dork like I am. But dang it, couldn't they do a whole lot better too?