Thinking Out Loud

December 11, 2015

The Ultimate Dumbing Down of Christian Publishing

Coloring Books

Some Christian bloggers feel a compulsion to weigh in on every trending topic, but most are ignoring this one entirely. I’m talking about the growth market of stress-relieving adult coloring books. Never heard of it? The uniquely Christian editions simply mirror something taking place in the larger publishing market except that we Christianize it through the adding of a few Bible verses, though maybe not on every page.

Adult Coloring Book for ChristiansDominating the religious market is Today is Going to be a Great Day! released by Christian Art Gifts, a worldwide consortium of manufacturers and distributors best known for their line of Bible cases. It probably offers the best deal on a price-per-page basis.

But Baker Book Group offers one also, Live Loved containing the writing of Margaret Feinberg, which has author name recognition. On Wednesday, I noticed this title on a list of possible blog review titles. How do you review a coloring book? I dared to ask this, and was told to, “…see this as an experience, and review based on that. Perhaps talk about what you reflected on or if you felt anything during, or coming away from the experience.”

I’ll have to get out my colored pens. Or is it pencils? I know nothing about this genre. Anything I was to color would look like it had been done by a 5-year old. It wouldn’t make the refrigerator door of a preschool, even a politically correct one where everybody’s pictures get posted. I am always coloring outside the lines, which, on reflection, would be a great name for a blog.

Some Christian bookstores are finding this whole trend to be a cash cow. They are in fact selling the pens, or markers, or whatever you use to share this stress-relieving experience. I’m hearing of stores ordering 500 copies at a time of Today... This is Christmas 2015’s Jesus Calling, a veritable gift to Christian merchants.

Where does all this lead? When you have a trend, build a Bible around it; ergo Journaling Bibles:

Bible Journaling full size

“Don’t write in your Bible;” I was told as a child. Hence a vast scripture collection adorns my shelves that are void of any underlining or highlighting. But now we have the sample pages above where apparently every one of us is potentially the next Timothy Botts. It’s a Bible marking adventure that makes Kay Arthur’s intricate inductive study method of Bible marking (see below) appear downright drab by comparison. Again, I know people awaiting the Winter release of these Bibles with baited breath.

So what is this blogger going to say in response?

I have no words. I just don’t get it. Coloring books? This is what it comes down to in a world that faces so many spiritual challenges right now? The gifts under the tree this Christmas are going to be coloring books for adults?

I guess I said it all when I wrote the headline for today’s piece.

 


If you want to take pen (or pens) to Bible, I propose that this might be a better use of your time:

Inductive Bible Study

 

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March 13, 2011

52 Mis-Statements Often Heard In Church

Today I’m continuing my weekend “lies” theme with the second of two early 2011 books published with the word “lies” in the title.

If you want to cue up the soundtrack in your head, and you listened to ’80s music, you could go with “Lies” by The Thompson Twins, but you would probably want to know that the biggest lie was that there were no twins in the group, and no one named Thompson.  !

But back to our book…

Today we’re looking at Steve McVey’s 52 Lies Heard in Church Every Sunday: And Why The Truth Is So Much Better, which, as a title, is deliberately provocative.  Maybe unnecessarily so.  I didn’t research this, but I think a lot of “lying” implies intention, and I don’t believe the people who make these statements are off on a deliberate intent to distort or mis-state scriptural truth.

I also need to say that, as with yesterday’s title, I didn’t get a review copy of the book itself from Harvest House, so this is based on a rather brief skimming; the kind of thing where the salesclerk says, “You’ve been here an hour, either buy the book or put it back on the shelf.”  Or something like that.

The book is actually part one of a two part collection of 101 “lies”, with the second release TBA.   You can see all 101 here,  (Click on each one for a short video teaching on each topic.)

Most of the 52 covered in this book fall into one of several categories: (a) mis-statements because of differences as to where we stand practically versus where we stand in Christ positionally, (b) mis-readings of scripture, or statements not reflective of Christian maturity, and (c) things that have become part of the common parlance of Christianity, i.e. sayings and clichés that we repeat mindlessly.  In an interview on BlogTalkRadio, Steve admits to having perpetuated these ‘lies’ himself in the pulpit.

You’ve probably run up against a few of these statements yourself, and if you wanted to be able to respond properly when you hear these things, this would be a good book to own as a reference item.

Again, though, I need to identify the hyperbole of calling many of these ‘lies’ as some of them simply rest on semantic distinctions.  But if the reader can suspend cynicism, there is some excellent foundational teaching in 52 Lies…

So here they are:

  1. Salvation is giving your life to Christ
  2. Christians are just sinners saved by grace
  3. When you became a Christian God changed your life
  4. Becoming a Christian means having your sins forgiven
  5. Our sins are under the blood of Jesus
  6. Your greatest need is to love God more
  7. The answer for weak Christian commitment is to rededicate your life to Christ
  8. The Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers of their sins
  9. The Christian life is all of Him and none of me
  10. You can go too far with grace
  11. Your greatest responsibility is to serve God
  12. Christ wants to have first place in your life
  13. God wants to give you what you need
  14. We need to focus on overcoming our sins
  15. We need to continually ask God to forgive our sins
  16. When we do wrong we are out of fellowship with God
  17. You should live by the teachings of the Bible
  18. You need to find God’s perfect will for you life
  19. God is disappointed in you when you do wrong
  20. God won’t put more on you than you can bear
  21. There are secular and sacred things in life
  22. We need revival
  23. We should befriend unbelievers in order to win them
  24. We need to pay the price to be used by God
  25. We need a fresh anointing
  26. Repentance brings God’s goodness into our lives
  27. Grace and truth need to be kept in balance
  28. God only speaks today through the Bible
  29. It’s a sin to be depressed
  30. You should make Jesus Lord of your life
  31. We need more faith
  32. Your sins can disqualify you from being used by God
  33. You need to starve the old nature and feed the new
  34. We need to seek spiritual power
  35. We should live by Christian morals
  36. Your heart is desperately wicked
  37. You need an accountability partner
  38. You grow in holiness
  39. You should pray to love Christ more
  40. We are positionally righteous
  41. Faith requires that we act positively in every situation
  42. Christ empowers us to keep God’s law
  43. If you don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive you
  44. You shouldn’t do anything that might offend somebody
  45. God needs you to accomplish His work
  46. It’s better to burn out for Christ than to rust out
  47. You will be blessed because you tithe
  48. Sunday is the Christian sabbath
  49. If you pray long and hard enough God will answer your prayers
  50. The truth will set you free
  51. You must forgive and forget
  52. Grace is a very important doctrine

Now on some of these, you’re going to recognize where he’s going with these.  They’re in the “God helps those who help themselves” category.  But on others, you might find yourself saying, “Wait a minute, that is what the scripture says.”  For those, you’ll have to buy the book.

Suffice it to say that some of these are rather blatant doctrinal mis-statements or ambiguities, but others succeed or fail based on rather fine hair-splitting or nuance.  That doesn’t diminish my recommendation however, and if anyone at Harvest House wants to send an actual review copy, I’d be willing to revisit this title.

For this weekend’s other “lies” title, click here.

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