Buying books of Bartholomew’s while browsing at Borders

A hearty Christ is risen! to my readers who are on the Gregorian calendar.

Just out of curiosity, yesterday I decided to check out how available Encountering the Mystery might be in a typical bricks-and-mortar chain store. I figured, it’s the day before Western Easter so Christian books will probably be prominently displayed, plus it’s the first Saturday since the book was released. If there was a day they would have it set out for the masses, it would have been yesterday.

Well, John Shelby Spong’s Jesus for the Non-Religious was set out with the books for Easter at my local Borders. The Patriarch of Constantinople got no such love, there being no copies set out in the front half of the store, either among the Christian books for Easter or in the display of new non-fiction. There were, nonetheless, two copies on the shelf back in the “Christianity: Catholic and Orthodox” section. And, actually, the Orthodox pickings were slim, but not totally absent. The following were also in stock:

And then a couple of not specifically Orthodox books but church history books by Orthodox authors, such as The Christian Tradition: The Development of Christian Doctrine, Volume 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), by Jaroslav Pelikan (and yes, I know he was Lutheran, not Orthodox when he wrote it).

All in all — it’s not anywhere close to the equivalent of a well-stocked parish bookstore, but it could be a lot worse. Like, say, nothing. (No copies of the Orthodox Study Bible, however. It is listed as “on the way” in the digital customer service kiosks. Given you still have to pre-order it on Amazon, my guess is that copies have not yet actually gone out to distributors who are not named Conciliar Press.)

I’m still irked that Spong was out with the Easter books (a real irony, if you think about it) and the Patriarch wasn’t. I guess, if one uses as one’s thesis that part of the point of the Patriarch’s book is to raise awareness (well, generate awareness — you can’t raise what isn’t there) of the Patriarchate’s existence in the West, then this makes the point pretty clear. When an atheist who just happens to have a collar is able to get better display space among the Christian books than the Patriarch of Constantinople, that says something.

I’m two and a half chapters into the Patriarch’s book. I don’t have anything to say quite yet — I want to finish it first. All in good time. I will say only for now that I do not believe the average American who is already Orthodox is his intended audience for the book (although I think there is good that such a person can take from reading it), that it needs to be read through that lens, and therefore, with charity if he doesn’t put everything exactly in the language we would want him to use. But more on that later.

While today was not Easter for my little Orthodox parish, it was nonetheless a special weekend, as our bishop, His Grace Bishop MARK, was with us. More on that later as well.


2 Responses to “Buying books of Bartholomew’s while browsing at Borders”

  1. 1 Sbdn. Lucas 25 March 2008 at 9:20 am

    Ah, another adventure in alliterative appellation; alas, all I am able to afford is assonance.

  2. 2 Richard Barrett 25 March 2008 at 8:10 pm

    How many times have I told you not to make an assonance of yourself?

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