This past Saturday, I managed a few minutes to slip away as Pete and the girls watched the Alabama football game (quite a tragedy, I might add) to enjoy some much-needed and long overdue peace and quiet all by myself. My activity of choice? To go peruse a bookstore, alone, without having to chase after five little people who all want to look at and read five different books in five different places, and without the constant request to go to the bathroom. Ahh.....just me and books. Now THAT is tranquility.
Or so I thought.
As I headed toward the education section of the store, I found myself backed against the 'young reader' shelves, and what I saw there made my blood run cold. See, my older two younger daughters (did you follow that one?) are six and five, and because they are emergent readers, they will soon be poring over all of the luscious book titles offered for their reading pleasure in the bookstores when I take them on our little selfish-indulgence outings. So what will they find?
Have you looked lately????
I'd say about 90% of the books in the young reader section had something to do with either vampires, witches, or the occult. The other 5% was a mixed bag of teeny-bopper romance novellas and a sparse collection of the Hardy Boys books that looked like they'd been there since the Nixon administration. What on EARTH????? I knew it was bad, but you've gotta be KIDDING me!!! These are books marketed toward young adolescents???? What do we expect these kids to glean from such a waste of paper and print?
Disgusted, I left that portion of the store bound for the Christian literature section where I figured I could at least come up with some C.S.Lewis to challenge my brain as I sat to sip my cafe mocha. What I was confronted with as I looked for the brain-benders and soul-challengers was no less than just crazy. I found myself being pointed at by authors on the covers of books that admonished that I should just claim my best life NOW; I looked upon retouched pictures of veneered, bleached smiles adorning those perfect faces perched atop a well-placed curled hand telling me that God's best is awaiting me, all I have to do is let go, trust God, and it would all be handed to me. Titles that told of peaceable, unhurried, unstressful lives that every Christian should have....good grief, and here I was just thrilled beyond belief to get two hours without anyone asking anything of me, now I've got a whole twenty-foot-by-six-foot shelf just FULL of books pointing out how my life doesn't fit in with the model of christian perfection.
GIVE ME A BREAK, PEOPLE!!!! Just WHERE in the Bible do these authors find that God intends for our 'best life' to be HERE? Where do they find such ridiculous models of peaceful perfection in Scripture? Where do they get the idea that living a Godly life is going to make things rosy and wonderful? Note to christian authors--you're setting people up for disappointment and utter FAILURE if you are getting them to strive for the best THIS life has to offer!!!!
It's not about THIS LIFE!!!! This mortal life, humble and temporal, is messy. It comes with one stress after another, one disappointment after another, one failure after another. Why is it that so many young people are gravitating toward 'immortals' and the occult? Maybe it's because they can see so clearly that modern-day christianity (lowercase christianity, mind you....) is failing MISERABLY in the hope department. We (lowercase christian adults) are striving for the best HERE, and our kids are picking up on the fact that it just can't be found HERE. Yet we have somehow failed so horribly at doing for our world and our children what the Apostles did for disciples in the first century--we have failed to give people a vision of a future far greater than ANYTHING this world can offer.
What a disappointment.