Lord of the Magazine Rack

People tend to think that worldviews are expressed in the various magazines for sale, whether Field & Stream, Good Housekeeping, or Penthouse. But the foundational worldview is actually found in the magazine rack, and the location of the cash register.

If WalMart decided that Monday was Muslim Day, Tuesday Hindu Day, Wednesday Christian Day, and so on, most Christians would be honored by the fact that we got a day. This is the deceitfulness of pluralism. But this would not actually be a case of objective neutrality, because every day is Money Day.

The point of making this point is not to insist that Christians “opt out,” as though that were possible. The apostle Paul had no problem speaking at Mars Hill, even though speakers of other persuasions came before him, and many others came after. At some level, Mars Hill provided a shared platform. But at the same time we should insist that we understand what is actually happening, so that we do not quietly and unobtrusively adopt the worldview embodied by “the magazine rack.” If twelve clowns are cavorting in the ring, you can jump down there if you want and start reciting the St. Crispin Day speech from Henry V — but to the audience you are just the thirteenth clown.

It is this quiet assumption of a larger reality outside Christ that is the affliction and bane of contemporary evangelicalism. A good example of this is the secular and unbelieving ownership of Christian publishing houses. The issue is not whether it is lawful to publish a book with such an entity, as I am fully willing to do. The issue is whether or not you think it is odd, and whether you see the dangers inherent in it. For example, HarperCollins owns Thomas Nelson, Random House owns Multnomah, and HarperCollins owns Zondervan.

What could go wrong? Well, Random House now has another religious imprint — Convergent. This is an imprint that will make its pitch to more liberal Christians, and Convergent is a sexier name than Sellout. Yay, right? But all we are doing is making the magazine rack bigger, and if we don’t understand the worldview ramifications of endorsing the magazine rack system, we are making our compromises bigger at the same time.

The problem is that with imprints you are frequently dealing with a mere logo change, but the personnel in charge of Imprint B are all the same people who run Imprint A. And should the fact that Convergent is now releasing a book rationalizing gaydom for evangelical Christians reflect in any way on Multnomah? The book is called God and the Gay Christian, and I am not going to link to it. You link to it. Is there any more to say other than that the logos are completely different?

Great. Is it found in a completely different Random House silo? Or are the people all the same people that run Multnomah? And if there are a bunch of the same names (as there are), then why should anyone be surprised?

The publication of this book is not the moment of the great sellout. The sellout happened years ago. This is just when the balloon payment is coming due.

Theology That Bites Back



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  • Johnny

    The same is true of the Christian music industry.

  • David Moody

    Most of the reason why the Evangelical church will be pulled by this book and other such arguments towards accepting gay marriage is because we do not understand love. We think love is affection. But it is not. Love is obeying God’s commandments.

  • Mark Hanson

    Doug – “as I fully willing to do”? I think an “am” is missing. Or were you being humble?

  • Kevin

    I initially read “Convergent” as “Covergent,” which made me think this was going in quite a different direction.

  • Robert

    Publishing is a single industry. The Science Fiction Writers of America run a better business bureau of literary agents to avoid. It is called Writer Beware.