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Rake's Thinking Again? More Thoughts...

Though I can't honestly say she doesn't look good in a bikini, because I've seen the pictures,  why did this column's more or less de facto poster gal, Kristin Chenoweth, pose for FHM? At least it's stated in the copy accompanying her photo spread that she's a Christian. Which gets back to asking why she's dressed so skimpily in the magazine (however good she looks), yes?

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By having their music used on a spate of TV shows with one real hit to their credit so far, are The Afters now the new BoDeans? The former are only on their first album, so maybe not. Both bands would make a cool double-bill, though, and The Afters could stand to enlist T Bone Burnett (whose upcoming Essentials collection I'm itching to hear) to produce at least one of their albums, too.

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If anyone out there knows of a Christian syndicated newspaper cartoonist responsible for work funnier than Johnny Hart's B.C. and Wizard Of Id, could you let me know? Just so you have an idea about my tastes in funnies, they run from Get Fuzzy, Peals Before Swine and Brevity to Pickles, Brewster Rockit:Space Guy! and Frank and Earnest. Among others, anyway. Both Mallard Fillmore and Doonsbury can speak for me politically, too.

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Why did a station airing K-Love's satellite feed have to open up on the FM frequency just to the left of the station where I catch (caught?) Chuck Colson's Breakpoint commentaries and other non-music (appealing to a primarily soccer mom-esque demographic, surely) programming? I know at least one person who may be happy about that, but...oh well, different strokes and all that, and let God use whatever He's given, hey?

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Should Salvador ever score a club hit (their grooves are hot enough to make it possible), would it be better if they sang in English or Spanish? My vote's for Spanglish, with a guest rap by Vico C.

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How disappointing was it to find out that Pedro The Lion is no longer together after I saw PTL leader David Bazan with Vic Chesnutt, American Music Club's Mark Eitzel and Will Johnson of Centro-Matic in their ad hoc Undertow Orchestra? Would it be reasonable to assume Bazan won't be any open to evangelical subculture marketing now that he's a solo act?

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Didn't Karen Clark-Sheard's recent appearance on Soul Train prove that soul gospel, even her R&B variety, just doesn't come off well being lip-sync'ed?

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Even given that they proclaim the Gospel, isn't it still a bit weird to hear Rick Dees refer to Relient K as makers of gospel music? Congrats to the latter on crashing the former's top 40, anyway.

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By releasing three singles helmed by three different producers (alt rapper Why?, Shellac, iconoclastic studio wizard/previous Danielson collaborator Steve Albini and Shimmy Disc Records/Bongwater mastermind Kramer) on three different labels before their next longplayer drops to retail, are Danielson doing their best to be the omnipresent indie music entity they've long deserved to be? Best to them on that. Or whatever their motivation is.

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Might I be mistaken, or has CeCe Winans' current club hit, a Tony Moran (methinks) remix of  "Let Everything That Has Breath" not been released to any soul gospel nor CCM radio formats? Peculiar as that may be, it's good to hear Sister CeCe assuming the part-time dance floor diva role abdicated for now by her beleaguered pal Whitney Houston.

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On the subject of discotheque darlings, what might Candi Staton think about her biggest U.K. pop hit being the same song released three or four times over with different mixes-her late '80s gospel house declaration "You Got The Love" with Source (in that territory's top ten again as of this writing)-and that the closest it has come to being a smash in her own country so far is its use on an episode of Sex and the City? That's bigger than making the lower 90s on Billboard's R&B singles chart for less than a month, right?

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Based on what he said on his recent appearance on The (Stephen) Colbert Report, didn't author/activist Tony Campolo sound pretty evangelically orthodox on that Comedy Central show? Won't say anything more than that about Campolo here.

And might Colbert be shaping up to be at least as incisive an interviewer as his executive producer and Daily Show host Jon Stewart, even while Colbert maintains his Bill O'Reiley-parodying character?

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Will Dion (DiMucci) get much Christian market press with the release of his fairly amazing new acoustic blues album, Bronx InBlue? He's still a believer even while singing some borderline bawdiness, yes? Nobody's told me anything to the contrary.

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Rake Thoughts XIV: Christia Bookstore Edition

Isn't it at least a bit ironic to see a self-help books in a Christian bookstore?

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Why so few theology sections in such stores?

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Considering the number of volumes supporting word-of-faith thought, church growth movement missiology, purpose-drivenness, emergentism and other fads and potentially troublesome church trends carried by Christian booksellers, shouldn't it be easier to find works offering biblical critiques of them? 

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Am I wrong to have fun paging through a cookie recipe book while quaffing some hot chocolate at a Christian literature emporium's coffeehouse while making a mental note to perhaps buy it elsewhere in order to encourage the merchant in question to sell more, well, Christian books?

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On the subject of food and God, did but did anyone else at the same shop that serves such tasty hot choc' pass the display of diet books and sense an amusingly mixed message when they spotted the chocolate candy at the foot of the layout? Granted, the display was for Valentine's Day, but still...

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Should it surprise me that the girl waiting on me at a one Christian shop didn't seem to have a clue when I asked her about apologetics resources regarding Kabbalah, which an aunt of mine has recently embraced? I uttered "Jewish," "mytic" "cult," "Britney Spears" and "Madonna" a few times over as I tried to explain to at least two sales associates. 

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In my Euromerican majority environs, it's heartenning to see music by Afrimerican acts such as Hezekiah Walker and CeCe Winans for sale at my nearby Christian retailer, but in a town that supports a bodega (great diner there, too) and a Mexican-owned Mexican restaurant, might that shop be missing out on some sales by not stocking any music in Spanish?

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Why is it the only magazines some Christian shops sell are really Bible-zines? So, I can't even special order Christian History, Bible Review nor my beloved and hilarious Wittenburg Door, but if I want make-up and slumber party tips interspersed throughout the New Testament, I'm all set? OK...

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Anyone else recall that Phliips, Craig & Dean music video set in a Christian bookstore? How archaic does the trio's poring through a cassette display look now? How soon before perusing CD's looks as outdated?

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For all the hubbub surrounding the time Paul Hewson...sorry, Bono Vox...spends with evangelical subculture types (a bit odd seeing him photographed with the Point Of Grace ladies, yes?), why do so few Christian retailers carry any U2's music?  

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Much as many food products based with scripture-ish names can cause kitsch O.D. by their very mention (Testamint, anybody?), isn't it at least slight comfort to know that some of the chocolate bars sold at the local Bible & Gift are made with fair trade cocoa? Seriously, that's an impressive thing.

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Is the overwhelming femminity of so many Christian shops' decor evidence of a broader church mindset that leaving authors such as John Eldridge to strike such a resonant chord among so many godly guys? Funny thing is, of course, that his books sell well at so many of those stores designed with godly gals in mind.

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Though this is no longer the 1990s, when Christian market record companies were going in and out of solvency or merging at a relatively furious pace(and thereby creating a lot of stock needing liquidation), wouldn't more cut-out CD's  be a welcome sight at Christian bookshops? How about more midline pricing on older titles and newer acts, anyway? Just a thought.
 

Jamie Lee Rake, 
Your Questioner of the (Sub-)Cultural Status Quo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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