Blue Sky

the hunts in prague

The International Christian Retail Show


One of the reasons for our trip to ATL was for me to attend what used to be called the International Christian Book Show, but is now the International Christian Retail Show. I, of course, went for books, in my capacity as a bookstore manager. But as most of us have experienced, these days your average Christian bookstore has more “retail” than they do books.

There were a lot of good publishers there, and I had some good conversations and bought a lot of good books for the store. There was also another section: when you crossed from the blue carpet to the green, you entered the “retail” section of the show. I stayed away from the green carpet until just before I left the second day, when I took a walk through to catalog. Important note: None of the following comments should be taken to indicate that I think I’m better than anybody else, etc. I just think there’s a lot of silliness in Western Christianity, and pointing some of it out might help to illustrate its absurdity.

Overview of what seemed like acres of Christian… stuff.

Spreading the Gospel one piece of jewelry at a time. I guess that’s one way to do it. Another way is with a t-shirt that says “Salvation: So Easy a Caveman Could Do It.” Really?

Over to the book section, Crossway was a nice oasis in the middle of the marketplace. We stock most of their stuff; they’re probably my favorite publisher.

Broadman & Holman had an Elvis impersonator on Tuesday. They’re in Nashville, so I guess it makes sense.

This pretty much says it: “Products.” Buttons, ties, stickers, trinkets, statuettes, you name it.

The blue carpet wasn’t immune from bad stuff. Here we learn that “God intends all believers to be financially secure.” I feel like I might have read somewhere (Philippians?) about “facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Yikes.

OK, on to better news. How could you not love a two-story inflatable Larry the Cucumber in pirate garb? Seriously, look how tiny the people next to it are. Larry was sort of my point of reference– like the North Star, I could always find him and figure out where I was.

Well, there you have it. Here’s a tip though: If you’re renting a central display case at the show, have the web site you’re advertising finished.

Could someone please get me this huge angel with sword for Christmas or birthday?

And finally, the David Hasselhoff of Christian music. He’s still out there, folks.

Other highlights:

  • Seeing Bibleman going up the escalator, and then meeting R.C. Sproul on the next escalator
  • Final “free books for Jake” count: 11.
  • My own bag of Scripture Candy in several varieties.

3 thoughts on “The International Christian Retail Show

  1. Can you bring the Larry to Prague? At least there wasn’t a 2-story inflatable Carman.

  2. So, as to not make a fool of myself in the office…I have been holding a hand over my mouth to keep the laughter from erupting. There are also tears in my eyes. Great blog…great blog.

  3. Seriously… Carman is still around? Two words for that: “re-tire” (what, that was only one word??? Keep the change.)

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