Need therapy? This evening I spent some time looking for trends in Christian publishing, guessing book sales could serve as a good litmus test for shifts in Christian focus amongst the Christian community.
So I located a current list of best sellers according to the Christian Booksellers Association and ran it through a text analyser. The results? The top keywords were “love”, “your”, “languages”, “bible”, “God”, “praying”, “power” and “life”.
Interested that “your“ outweighed “God”, I took a closer look at the titles. Is it just me, or do they seem predominatly focussed on relationship therapy and overcoming anxiety?”
See for yourself. Just looking at the top 10 it seems 7 would fall into one of those two categories. And there’s many more further down the list with titles like “His Needs, Her Needs”, “The Love Dare” and “The Power of a Praying Wife”.
You know what this reminds me of? Well firstly of Christian Smith’s characterization of American religion as “moralistic therapeutic deism”. But secondly, from sociology and missiology, that folk religion is characterized by focus on fear, power and everyday life. Just like this.
Now don’t get me wrong, as a trainee counsellor and married man I’m all for working of marital relationships and empowering couples. I own some of these books myself. And I’m also all for connecting with culture and where people are at. Folk religion has its place. But I’ve got to start asking questions when things start looking unbalanced. I mean, there’s hardly anything on the bible in that list, or on deeper Christian teachings, or even on essential Christian practices other than prayer. Heiburt talked of the flaw of the excluded middle. Have we fallen into the flaw of the excluded heights? Are we really so different from teen witches chasing after love spells?