Every Sunday afternoon, I make up a grocery list and head down to Kroger’s. Obviously, I need to eat.
When I get to the check-out line, there’s always a section for a pocket Complete Idiot’s Guide next to People, Us Magazine, and the National Enquirer. With only one exception, this is a guide to something that frankly, a complete idiot should probably not know.
I first noticed this when the book was The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Faith. This seems akin to handing a functionally retarded person an AK-47, a chain of ammo, and telling them that it’s a toy. Faith is a radical and dangerous thing, and I’m the titular complete idiot would probably use it in a way that is destructive and irresponsible without comprehending why it is.
Last week was rather innocuous: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Puppies. Sure, a complete idiot should probably not obtain a puppy (for the puppy’s sake, really), but buying it in the hopes of helping a young child understand the responsibilities of new pet ownership is reasonable.
This week, though, it was back to the scary: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Book of Revelation. I’m assuming, given the cover and everything, that they’re talking about the Apocalypse of John of Patmos, and not one of many other volumes so titled. I have no file system checking clue how the hell they expect to explain that bit of mind screw in a tract shorter than the book itself. Hell, entire volumes have been written on the book in the 1900 years since it was written, and still few can make much sense of what the metaphor is supposed to mean. If you don’t believe me, I’d suggest you see how popular premillenial dispensationalism is in your neighborhood. Seriously, those metaphors could be applied to almost anything. Yet here’s a little pamphlet that says that it can explain the whole text. I find that preposterous.
What worries me is that I know someone is buying this crap. What worries me is that most of the churches in the area (Carrollton/Irving/Coppell/Farmer’s Branch/North Dallas) are the kind that would make this crap sell (I see way too many Christian Flags waving alongside the American and Texan flags at the churches here–something I only saw at Assemblies of God congregations and the odd non-denominational church back home). What worries me is the signs in front of the churches that indicate that they’re going towards the “Christian Cool” crowd. What worries me is the fact that these church leaders are dragging those who would seek God and enter the Kingdom of Heaven if they were properly informed down into a consumerist Hell (or, alternately, giving in to the popular whims of the day and losing any kind of doctrine whatsoever).