is a more or less monthly newsletter from author Ken Kuhlken
Woe is Us: On Christian books, writers, publishers, and booksellers
Part Two: Who Are Those Guys?
The Christian Bookseller’s Association was organized in 1950, inspired by the concern of primarily fundamentalist and evangelical churches who believed their flock needed guidance to find the sort of reading most instructive and/or least offensive to people of the Christian faith.
So, along with creating promotional and networking ops, CBA established guidelines for books sold by its member stores. According to my unimpeachable source (Wikipedia) the guidelines prohibit offensive content including profanity, alcohol consumption, and references to luck. When a significant minority of customers at CBA's member stores take offense to a book, CBA pressures all member stores to stop selling books by that book's publisher.
Much like the auto industry makes cars in accord with California emissions standards because so many of us Californians drive, publishers who want to sell to CBA bookstores make books that meet the CBA’s standards.
For those who might find a typical evangelical statement of faith informative, I’ll give the CBA’s, for brevity leaving out the scripture citations:
We believe:that there is one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each of Whom is fully and equally God; the Bible to be the only infallible, authoritative Word of God; in the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious death and atonement through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His future, personal and visible return in power and glory; that man was created in the image of God, that he was tempted by Satan and fell and, because of the exceeding sinfulness of human nature, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is necessary for salvation which is provided by God’s grace and appropriated through the believer’s faith in the atoning work of Christ on the cross; in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by Whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life, and by Whom the Church is empowered to carry out Christ’s great commission; that as a witness to the world, and in obedience to God, the Christian believer is called to conform to the values and principles set forth in the Bible; that the Christian’s life should adhere to God’s revealed design for sexuality, for one‐man‐one‐woman marriage, and for family life, and, as God is the author of life, to His authority over gender; in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost, those who are saved to the resurrection of life and those who are lost to a second death through an eternal separation from God
So, I wonder, in addition to avoiding the inclusion of alcohol consumption, profanity, and luck, should authors who hope to find a CBA affiliated publisher keep their characters and themes within the bounds of the CBA prescribed faith?
Maybe. Or maybe not. I will opine about that in Part 3.
Re-New from Hickey's Books
I spent a couple days re-formatting Olga Savitsky's Shockabonda, and it so often moved me, I'm reading it all over again, this time as a sort of meditation. Please join me.