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19 November 2009



Come on, Wesley Owen is rubbish ; a purportedly "Christian" bookstore that, in reality, is a "Fundamentalist/Evangelical Religious 'Right' Creationist/Homophobia sub-Chick Tract" one (yes, I know they do Bibles - and Borders don't?).That said, am sure they'll have lots of copies of Sarah Palin's new autobiography (please tell me that you won't be buying THAT?!) ;-)


Wesley Owen is fab and has lots of good stuff. I would miss it if stopped trading. I've bought a lot of really good books there over the last few years, that I wouldn't have been able to get in Borders.

Thanks for the reminder, will make a point of going there more often, even just for the little things like cards and calendars.



>>> I've bought a lot of really good books there over the last few years, that I wouldn't have been able to get in Borders.

The Shack?

fr dougal

To be honest, I always thought Pauline books carried a better range than WO, but they are all struggling. Still the threat hang over Cornerstone in Edinburgh.


Am prayin for the staff and their Christian faith, as this has to cause a lot of questions in why God called them to work for a company that can't promise to pay them after next month... And very scary.

I feel slightly bad as I have made a point of buying Christian books and music from non-Christian sources. I honestly think segregating Christian resources has a downside.

Ryan- I must admit I had never questioned the "type" of resources in Wesley Owen, but it's worth bearing in mind that supply will meet demand, and you can order all sorts of material if they don't stock it. Perhaps there is simply more of a market for the material Wesley Owen sells?

Whatever your experience or opinion, don't forget we are called to build one another up with encouragement- is there not *one* good thing you can think of in Wesley Owen? Even that they make nice cakes? =D

That said, I do wonder if a segregated book shop is the way forward. God's up to something, I don't doubt he has a plan in this, so I'm struggling to limit my prayers to "please save WO". Absolutely no hesitation in praying for staff, their faith and provision for them, but do wonder if we should be more open to God's creative solutions?



>>Ryan- I must admit I had never questioned the "type" of resources in Wesley Owen, but it's worth bearing in mind that supply will meet demand, and you can order all sorts of material if they don't stock it. Perhaps there is simply more of a market for the material Wesley Owen sells?

No doubt, but people thinking that preferring rubbish "Christian" books to real ones is indicative of, or conducive to, piety, is unfortunate. Gore Vidal's "How To Find God and Make Money" essay comes to mind (written in the 70s- but has much changed?).
Search for "gay" in the WO website and see the results you get. I would also make the point that the world's largest Christian denomination is hardly inately 'liberal' (so it's not a case of my objecting to WO because they don't stock books to my taste), but WO largely ignores them too. What would you think of a "Politics" bookstore that ignored the left (or indeed right) wing? Oodles of creationist nonsense in WO too, needless to say. And given the amount of books with titles that are variations upon "Dawkins" or "delusion" then I think the good professor would be justified in asking for royalties too ;-).

That I endured my last trip to WO was primarily due to the person I was with ;-).

Pax Vobiscum

Oh, please, Ryan, don't tar all Wesley Owen's with the same brush - they cut their cloth to the needs of the local community. My local one stocks rosaries, pyxes, apsergilia (if that's the right plural), Prinknash incense, Scott Hahn, etc, as well as Joyce Meyer, Bill Johnson and the Shack.



Ryan- I can only speak for myself (as we all can) but I don't read Christian material in order to feel pious. I do so (fairly irregularly) to find depth in my relationship with God. It's a living breathing thing, and it needs feeding, but mostly the bible is my best resource.

My last WO trip was at your request! Granted they didn't have your book, but they were happy to order it in for you- you just prefered not to. You can't blame them for that.

You've really gotta look into this building one another up thing (mutual edification if you like big words- and I'm safe in the knowledge David will moderate your smart comeback(s)). Cynicism isn't good for anyone, most of all you.

I get it doesn't meet your needs, but it wasn't set up to. That doesn't make it evil, wicked, wrong or worthless. They- and we- are all working for the Kingdom as best we can. If there's a better way, roll up your sleeves and get on with it!

Keep the glory- and attention- pointed at God. Anywhere else and you're off target ;o)


In the interests of consistency, I hope churchy types will be bemoaning the news that Borders is going into Administration (especially since Borders sell books about God too - I got one by Norman Mailer from there too! He's a much better writer than WO faves like Sarah Palin or Philip Yancey, needless to say).

The book I ventured into WO for was by NT Wrong so hardly negates my point on the limited nature of books WO offer. And, IIRC, they said that they only know if books are in a central warehouse (covering all WO branches)and they couldn't tell me if it was on the actual shelf. That's not very useful. A bookshop offering to order books , in the Amazon age, is not much of a credential.

I don't recall calling WO evil or wicked. Cynicism would be (in this context) ASSUMING the worst about WO rather than making a fair (but personal; ymmv) judgement based on experience and knowledge of their ethos. As for building up another up: WO is a BOOKSHOP not a person in church! Claiming or implying that criticising a SHOP that you happen to like represents a Christian failing isn't terribly edifying to those who disagree with you.

People losing their jobs is of course sad, irrespective of whether they work in the religious or secular world. Am sure David was just as distressed as his fellow pisky priests when the Polo Lounge-adjacent Clone Zone closed earlier this year ;-).


One of the (many) things that puts me off christianty is this assumption that you shouldn't criticise each other. Isn't the bible supposed to be used for rebuking too? Even if it wasn't. I think people should be rebuked when you believe they are wrong. Perhaps Ryan feels that it isn't "building up the kingdom". I for one couldn't take anyone seriously that said that I had to believe the earth is 6000 years old and that people rode dinosaurs. So, in that respect I would have to agree. If it doesn't sell books that reflect reality, it is not offering an insight into possible ultimate truths - it then fails to build anything up.

The last time I was in WO, I was apalled at the vile rubbish that was on the shelves - some books basically said believe in creationism or go to hell.

On a plus note, their cockney translation of the bible - Lawd above! a bi' ov a barf. , innit.


Billy- constructive personal criticism is always good, if done within an existing relationship for the purpose of encouraging and supporting change, and as far as I'm aware there is no assumption Christians shouldn't. It's absolutely right that it should be done gently and with an open hand, never assuming you (one) has the final word.

Criticism on doctrine I'll decline to comment on, as I don't know enough.

I'm sad your experience has put you off Christianity, but a lot of your description is more about religion rather than a relationship with God. I honestly believe it hinges on how each person responds to Christ, and how we treat one another. The God I know actually doesn't worry about most of the details people often believe to be critical.

Rebuking is in the Bible but is meant for between Christians, not to judge non-Christians. We're specifically told not to judge. But we're all not good at it, mea culpa.

Ryan- firstly, sorry if you're as offended/upset as you sound. That was not my intention. There is, however, a big difference between "Wesley Owen doesn't cover enough of the spectrum for my liking/ to represent Christianity fully" and condemning it as rubbish. The mutual edification part is about how it feels to read a diatribe. You make mostly very good, valid points that are lost in the confrontational style you use at times. That was my point.

The last thing Christians should be is beige clones controlled by religious man-made rules and rituals.

I neither like nor dislike Wesley Owen nor Borders. They're a resource. And again, if you can think of a better alternative, roll up your sleeves...

It's not possible for any bookshop to stock every book. Offering to order it is the best they can do. Perhaps Amazon/Borders online/ Play.com is the way forward for book buying. It certainly cuts back on theft and stock holding costs. The internet is literally shaping our cities, and maybe that's a good thing? It's worth knowing Wesley Owen also does online ordering if you would like to influence their stock. As a business, they will stock what sells.

And yes, I'm praying for Borders too- but I can't help feeling high-street retail is dying.

I'm praying for *everyone* out of work right now- it's tough and frightening to not know how you're gonna support yourself. However, more of my friends work in Wesley than in Borders so I'm biased that way. I never claimed to be perfect! My friends are precious to me ;o)



Jennifer, I was in no way implying that the bible should ever be used to rebuke non believers - contrary to what many believers actually try do. You will find that many non believers do not hold the bible up as a good source of moral and ethical standards. Some of the OT laws in particular are just disgusting (many believers try and disown them too). The "good bits" are not uniquie to christianity either.

Are you making a distinction then that you would let a non believer carry out behaviour that would harm others? I think people should be challenged on bad behaviour whatever they believe. That's more what I'm getting at with rebuking (in the general sense).

Also, some people just need a kick up the a**e to prevent them from habitually abusing others. If you are too gentle with an abuser, what can you do if they ignore your rebuke? Do you not have a responsibility to their potential victims too?

Last time I checked, christianity was a religion. I am also familiar with the distinction you try to make. The problem with "seeking a relationship with god" is that no one can actually agree on what that means - hence homophobia, mysogeny and discrimination in the church. No doubt you dont think that's "true christianity"TM, but they are just as convinced as you are. It wold all be so much more credible if god actually communicated clearly in spoken words - like your friends do - dont you think? Trouble is that christians have to be subjective in their "interpretation of god's will". That however is another issue.

Don't be sad that I've been "put off" christianity (I also rejet it intellectually). Losng my faith has actually been a very good experience for me - you should give it a go.

Would it be considered patronising to say that I'm sorry that you are a christian? :-)


You're right, Ryan: Wesley Owen is a bookshop, not a person. But it's run by people โ€” people whose careers, livelihoods and homes are on the line here. Real people, like you; and kicking them when they're down doesn't help. Of course they're not perfect โ€” I'm not saying that (everyone knows I've given them a hard time a few times myself) โ€” but slagging them off as "rubbish" when they're on the edge of collapse ... well, let's just say it's a tad mean-spirited...

And for the record, yes, many of us are just as upset to see Borders going down the pan. I started my bookselling career with Books Etc back before Borders took them over and seeing what's happening to them feels like having a huge chunk of my own life sliced away.

Anyone with something constructive to say is very welcome to join the discussions on the UKCBD blog: http://christianbookshopsblog.org.uk/tag/wesley-owen/

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