I went yesterday to the nearby
Word bookstore. There, as usual, I saw shelf after shelf after shelf
laden with the latest US priorities — a large display of Prayer of Jabez
merchandise, huge numbers of Left Behind books, Max Lucado books,
volumes on the end times and creation science and the evils of Harry Potter,
Charles Swindoll books, John C. Maxwell Christian success books, Amy Grant
CDs, Christian diet books, Gaither Gospel Series CDs and videos, and much,
Virtually all from America.
Of course there are plenty of other stores
in Australia packed with imported goods. What about the Disney stores or the
Warner Brothers stores (not to mention the Nike stores)?
Yes, they’re selling US brand merchandise,
but most of it is made in various Asian nations, boosting the economies of
those countries and providing people with much-needed employment
opportunities. By contrast, most of the books and CDs and videos at Word and
Koorong are printed and manufactured in America and imported from there,
directly boosting the US economy. (I’m not necessarily critical. I’m pretty
There are some Australian products. There
are local books, but only a few of them are displayed in any great quantity.
There are also locally printed versions of popular American books. But they
are swamped by American-sourced product. Only the big display of Hillsong
worship CDs provides much competition. Indeed, I would challenge anyone to
find a chain of stores in Australia with a higher proportion of its
merchandise that’s US-made than our evangelical bookstores.
But wait, there are some products made in
Asia. For example, there’s the Prayer of Jabez mug. And the “Let Us Fix Our
Eyes” walnut cross with silver metal insert. And the Jabez notepad with
magnet. And the “I Am the Vine, You Are the Branches” wall hanging. And the
Jabez prayer journal.
They’re all made in China.
China, of course, is a country that is
ruthless in its repression of unsanctioned Christian groups, with mass
arrests, torture and execution the official policy.
But keep it very, very quiet.
Mustn’t disturb local Christians.
May 5th, 2002