Christian Supply

March 21, 2011

As part of a near weekly ritual, my girlfriend and I went to the movies one late afternoon. I can’t remember what it was we went to see but we had some time to kill before the movie started. As we perused the shops we happened upon one that I could not pass up: “Christian Supply”

Unbeknownst to me at the time, there are apparently supplies one should have in order to be a Christian. I thought you just got the name when you went to church and believed in the word of the Bible. From a distance I guess the store could have been an outfitter for people named Christian, but the life-size painting of Jesus holding a weak, western looking, young adult male cleared up that misconception in a hurry. Naturally, I had to go in.

If you couldn’t read, this place would feel like your average gift shop, but I soon found the subtleties that tipped the balance towards Godliness. If someone lead you blindly into this store you would feel the same as when you stumble on the Christian channel on the radio; you enjoy it until you realize what you are listening to. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t pretend that we stumbled in off the street, much to the associates’ chagrin I can imagine. I was there on purpose and I wasn’t going to leave without the full experience. I needed a souvenir.

Christian Supply had taken everything typical in a household and put a Christian twist on it, very appropriately enough; door mats with verses on them, mirrors and coat hangers with crosses engraved on or around them.  I’ll admit there were some cool paintings and clever sayings, and if I were a devout believer I probably would have enjoyed them more. The whole store was split in two halves: one for decorations and the other for literature and entertainment. I picked myself up a little magnet for my bare and lonely refrigerator.

The magnet is an old fashioned, wooden, square rigged ship and I am not quite sure why it was in the Christian Supply. There is no verse or discernable cross anywhere on the ship and it looks way too small to house every species of animal. I can only guess that a ship of this type will appear at some point in the Bible or that there will be an important allusion to a ship later on (no spoilers please). Perhaps the owner of the store really likes old ships.

As we moved from the home décor area of the store into the books, movies and kids toys section I couldn’t help but imagine this place looked a lot different in the late 12th Century. The armor and swords are still there, but they’re made of plastic now. I guess as the times change so do the needs of a religion, but I digress.

In the “fun” section of the store we found books that had Christian themes and documentaries about the Bible. I found one kids’ movie whose main protagonist was “Bibleman”. This superhero wore bright colors and had a cross on both his gauntlets. Just looking at the hero’s name I would guess creativity hasn’t blossomed much since the days of the Bible’s inception.

Titles like “Bibleman” were an exception amongst the movies and books. For the most part, all of the books and films shared a similar theme of being timid and simple. Even if I weren’t Christian but wanted a selection of reading that didn’t involve sex or violence or drug use I could find those books in the Christian Supply shop. That being said, there were still plenty of bestsellers and recognizable titles in the store as well as less common authors.

Overall, my trip to the Christian Supply felt like going to any other gift shop. Naturally, if I were a Christian I probably would have enjoyed the store more. If anything I could find comfort in knowing there was a store that catered so closely to my beliefs. When I think about other stores I can’t think of any that have carved out a place in the market like the Christian Supply. There are men’s stores and women’s stores and sporting goods stores and electronic stores, but rarely if ever, do you see a Yarmulke hut or an Allah’s Treasures. Perhaps this is why the Christian Supply is still operating while other stores go in and out of business around it. The owners have found a need in the community and are supporting that need. While the needs of Christians are not yet my own I am kind of envious they have a store all to themselves.

Even though I don’t need a giant painting of Jesus.