Recently I was in Washington, D.C. and visited an independent bookstore called Lost City Books. I enjoy book stores and independent ones can be a treasure trove. This is a nicely laid out store, yet I was quickly able to assess the nature of this establishment.
There was one tall, narrow bookshelf for books in the category of “religion/theology.” I only saw a handful of books that would qualify as orthodox Christian or evangelical – such as a C.S. Lewis title and a Crossway (publisher) title. I did not see a Bible or Tanakh or Koran for sale, although it is possible I missed them. Whether it is a religion that falls under the West or East, religion has a significant influence on this world. So this small and limited selection of books was…revealing and curious.
Then…I came across the LGBTQ section, which I’d estimate was triple the size. There was a bookshelf area dedicated to this category, as well as a center display table for LGBTQ books. There was a section of books related to the occult, astrology, etc – similar size to the religion/theology section, however there was also another area with an extensive selection of tarot cards.
So, I am just presenting the facts of what I observed, and it reveals much, does it not? Curiously to me, the Lost City Books web site states:
“To consider the past, the present and the future with an equal mind is often the purpose of literature and is certainly the story of the human condition: molded by the past, yet inevitably changed by the future. Lost City Books is a rediscovery of both, a chance to visit diverse places, ideas, time periods and experiences. To be curious –emotionally, intellectually, psychologically — about the world, the mind, and the imagination is to be an explorer, always between shores, weighing the latest discoveries with what is tested true. Lost City Books is the place for explorers, for deep divers, who want the books they find to take them to a new horizon.”
– I appreciate that statement. I like to learn and discover more about this world, not limiting myself to narrow corners. Yet, their statement – to me – conflicts with the inventory for sale in their store! Their inventory reveals that certain areas of exploration are to be distinctly encouraged and other areas discouraged – even though the lacking areas have been and remain influential on our world’s past, present, and future. If you are curious about certain topics, you won’t find much at all. And how can one “weigh the latest discoveries with what is tested and true” if you don’t even provide a balanced selection of material for people to consider?
That said, bookstores will reflect the area around them, and this reveals much about Washington, D.C. Also, bookstores especially independent ones, certainly have the right to sell what they want to! If I owned a bookstore, I would not have certain types of books or merchandise for sale.
But I simply find that Lost City Book’s statement about considering things with an “equal mind” and being broadly curious about this world conflicts with their book inventory. I am not saying they should have an expansive religion/theology or Christian section – as though this was the Bible Belt – but it seems to me that this section could be better and/or they could alter the statement of purpose for their store.
In all fairness, the next paragraph about their store does offer a distinct hint about where their proclivities are: “Our logo came from our desire to invoke the mystery of open doorways and the steps leading to the unknown, the occult and deeply spiritual symbolism of the moon.”
As Christian believers, we know that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus likewise proclaimed himself to be the door or gate. Share your faith my friends, and point people to the only Way or Door that leads to Life. Are you familiar with the series of “7s” in the book of John that point to the deity of Jesus? See this past post:
The book of John: by believing you may have life in HIS NAME.
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