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November 19, 2005



Jana, you are so right. These "bibles" are the limit in just how far one can trivialize the scriptures. Horrendous is putting it mildly.

Great blog! Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation!


Enjoying your blog--a lot! Thanks for your clarity of vision, your insight, regarding these...publications.


Mick Silva

Can I get an amen? Keep reserving that right to remain intollerant, Jana. You've got allies.


Hi, Janna. I'm thankful for the link that was posted by Lisa Samson so that I could read your review of these Zines. As someone who is participating in the challenge to read the Bible in 90 Days, I was lamenting this morning on my blog about the number of professing Christians who have never read the entire Bible, cover to cover. And now I see this. It breaks my heart.

Katy Raymond

Jana--Someone needs to say it. Thanks for being the one, and please let us join you. In a similar vein, a wanna-be-mega church in Kansas City recently ran an ad in the newspaper for their singles Bible study. It shows a couple of beautiful 30-somethings, with the teaser: "The Bible: What's In It For You?" Yikes!

Alison Strobel Morrow

You are right on the money, Jana. The first time I saw one of these atrocities I was sure it was a joke. I couldn't believe it was actually supposed to be a Bible. I couldn't bring myself to flip through it--just looking at the cover for more than 2.5 seconds made me feel dirty.



Jana. Oh. My. Gosh. Haven't laughed so hard in ages. And cried. Thanks for this, and for the blog. Maybe late to the party, but it's great to have you here!

Andrew Burnett

This review is gold, Jana. I'm so glad you have a venue for putting some of your off-the-record comments on the record. This is your thing. (I say this recognizing that you do a lot of things very well.)
Makes me wonder if the biblezines are just a microcosm of the general trend in Evangelical publishing, CCM, and maybe if I'm not careful, my own preaching. See--we can make the Bible fun! And it is fun and tragic and gripping and exciting and practical, on its own terms. May dreck like this never cease to shock and dismay us.

Ken in Atlanta

Great stuff, Jana, I would have posted earlier but my prayers on behalf of Meg Ryan have been taking all my time. Your thoughts here remind me of how much Harold Bloom hates the Harry Potter books. Apparently some have tried to argue to him that J. K. Rowling's child-friendly juggernauts portend a future of voracious, grown-up readers, but he's having none of that, believing instead that it's all more dumbing-down -- and that Mr. Potter's magical adventures do not and will not in the least whet the appetite for (say) Messrs. Shakespeare or Milton. Hmm, we shall see, I suppose. There is, however, at least the possibility (contra Bloom, by analogy) that these kinds of "Biblezine" publications might do some good, for some. In THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO OPRAH, Marcia Z. Nelson quotes no less an authority than Phyllis Tickle to suggest that Oprah Winfrey's TV show, myriad positive-thinking activities, and general feel-good media ubiquity might serve as a kind of low-key, proto-Christianity for the unevangelized. Oprah does a lot of good in the world, supports some great causes, and alleviates actual suffering here and there -- and she invites her viewers to themselves get involved. Sure, Oprah is easy to mock, but it hardly seems fair to mock her for not doing ENOUGH. She has a platform that reaches tens of millions of people -- and maybe some of her viewers/acolytes will use it as a platform to dive right into a Christian church someday. It could happen. It seems to me as if the same may be true of these culturally-savvy magazines you would seem to, um, disfavor. One of these goofy tracts may be a person's very first exposure to the New Testament (and other profound Christian writings). And, theoretically at least, as a reader matures in his or her desires and understanding, all of that might lead ... eventually ... right to the feet of the Savior. (He does work, you know, in a mysterious way.) So, I would argue that these silling-seeming (or even "outlook-warping") 'zines do not belong in your Category 4. Can anything be truly evil if it's the first step toward accepting salvation?

Joel Scandrett

AMEN, sister!!!

Christopher Fisher


Thanks for this. I saw an ad for Becoming in one of the catalogues I order and read for satire material. It disgusted me.

I grew up in an evangelical church with lots of rules, and finally reading the Bible all the way through was the most liberating experience I've ever had. Though I don't keep my Bible on a shrine with candles and incense, I have a profound respect for the book.

It is a complete wonder to me to see Christians in this country organize to protest gay marriage laws and the death of Terry Schiavo, only to stand by like a bunch of stupid, over-fed cows as the gods of commercialism defile our most sacred Church writings.


Well said! Brava!

I've been reading about Biblezines today, because I've been reading an excellent book by Marva Dawn called Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down. Dawn's book is about worship rather than Biblezines, but many of the principles are the same. In our zeal to gain converts (or to keep Christians interested) through entertainment, we are distorting the Christian message worse than ever.

These Biblezine things are absolutely horrifying, and yet I've often talked to Christian PARENTS who say, "I think they're such a great idea! The kids love 'em!" Yikes...

Thanks for articulating your viewpoint in such an entertaining way.

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