Should we support local Christian bookstores?
Christian blogger Tim Challies asked in a post yesterday if Christians should feel an obligation to support their local Christian bookstores. After a discussion of issues like the relative value of clerk recommendations versus online reviews, he made the crux of his argument:
Speaking personally, I have long since stopped shopping at the nearby Christian bookstore. They almost never have the books I want and even if they did, I would pay quite a bit for them and spend a lot of time driving there and back. And then there’s the fact that so much of what they carry is junk—not just trinkets and toys, but material that is opposed to sound doctrine. The last time I went to a Christian bookstore there was a section for Roman Catholics and a section for people who need their fix of Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn. And I thought, “This is no more Christian than Amazon.” In fact, I think it is actually worse; under the banner of “Christian” things are being sold that claim to be Christian but are deceptively anti-Christian. That may have been the moment I realized that I felt no obligation to support that business.
In the comments section, one reader made a thought-provoking (and rather shocking) analogy. He said that it is better to patronize a store which openly sells both grocery and poison than a “grocery” store which sells poison disguised as groceries!
Is there merit to their points? If we are purchasing items from Springside, directly from artists, or digitally, should we feel guilty about not supporting our local bookstores?