In honor of the sapping of my creativity, I am re-posting an entry from my former blog from April 28, 2006. This is the entry on which D first spoke to me, and I got a whopping 18 comments (that is big for me!) because people have some very strong feelings about Christian bookstores and Augustine. Without further ado…

Christian Bookstores and the Absent Augustine

Today I attempted to overcome my dislike for Christian bookstores. I have been in the mood lately to read Augustine’s Confessions, and I got such a spontaenous urge to get it that I decided I couldn’t wait for half.com. So, I went up to the local Christian bookstore, Kingdom Bound. This name is problematic for a number of reasons. I know they are trying to create a glory, glory, hallelujah type of name that plays on words. The word “bound” can mean three things: bound as in I’m going there, bound as in a book’s binding, and bound as in bondage. I hate the first meaning because it connotes an “I’m better than you” sort of vibe. I hate the second meaning because it’s too cute for a serious business. And I hate the third meaning because it seems to say faith is incarcerating, which goes against the gospel of freedom that faith teaches. I don’t think the Kingdom Bounders (saying it like this makes it seem like they jump over kingdoms) took into account the third meaning before they named their store. At least I hope they didn’t.

Anyway, I went into the store and had to search through shelves of Max Lucado, Gilbert Morris, Joshua Harris, and that guy who wrote about how men should be warriors in that book with the rock climber on the cover and based most of his ideas on popular movies. I forgot his name. Finally, I went to the front of the store.

Ann’s first question: Where is your theology section?
The Cashier: Theology? All our books are about theology.

Ann’s second question: Um, do you have Augustine’s Confessions?
The Cashier: I can look. What did you say the name of the book was?
Ann: Augustine’s Confessions.
The Cashier: Oddestine?
Ann: No, Augustine’s Confessions
The Cashier: Oh, Honesty and Confessions.
Ann: Actually, Augustine wrote the book. It’s his confessions.
The Cashier: And that’s spelled O-d-d…
Ann: It’s Augustine, like the month.
The Cashier: Oh! Augu-stein.
Ann: It’s A-u-g-u-s-t-i-n-e.
The Cashier: And who was the author?
Ann: Saint Augustine.
The Cashier (staring at the computer screen): Oh, yes, The Confessions of St. Augustine. Here it is. It looks like pretty heavy reading.
Ann: Not heavy. Just honest.
The Cashier: We don’t have it, but I can order it for you.
Ann: I’ll think about it. I might be back later.

How does one pronounce Augustine? I say it like the month: Aw-gust-eene. But I also pronounce aunt “awnt” instead of “ant.” The cashier pronounced it Augustein, like he was German. Yesterday a friend of mine pronounced it with the accent on the second syllable instead of the first. What is correct?

I have fulfilled my Christian bookstore quota for the year. I am now counting the blessings of half.com.

Then I went to the library booksale, and it redeemed my day. I found W.B. Yeats’ autobiography for 25 cents. I also found a book on Greek and Roman mythology with pictures of artists’ depictions of them through paintings and statues. That one was 50 cents.

Ah, mysticism and the pagans. They are good for the soul.