Tea and Exile

The thing about Christian book shops is that they sell an awful lot of other things besides books. I realise they exist in a very competitive market and that they have to diversify in order to survive; it’s a tough world out there.

However, I’ve never been a great one for Christian CDs and such like. When asked my favourite Christian artist, I tend to reply J. S. Bach, which confuses some people. I think they wonder whether he is a new singer-songwriter that they haven’t come across yet.

Likewise, I don’t really have much time to posters of beautiful scenes with inspirational quotes written across them. I prefer my landscapes unadorned by typography. Time won’t allow me to comment on Bible key rings, religious place-mats and the like. That being said, if other people like these things and are willing to part with their hard-earned cash in order to buy them, that’s fine. Especially if it means that bookshops can survive and continue to sell Bibles, good books and such like.

However, I couldn’t resist making a comment about this mug which I recently found in an emporium selling Christian wares.  Let it be said, it looks a fine mug; big enough to keep even me supplied with tea at breakfast time. However, I do find Jeremiah 29:12 to be a strange bible verse to put on a mug. I wrote about this verse earlier this year:

This verse is often quoted to indicate that although an individual or group of people might be going through a tough time, everything will work out all right in the end. The problem is, this passage wasn’t written to that particular individual or group, it was written for an entirely different bunch of people altogether and there is nothing about this passage which says that it can be applied generally.  What’s more, this is only a partial quote. The preceding verse indicates that the nation of Judah will be in exile for 70 years before God’s plans come into effect. Almost everyone to whom this encouraging passage was originally addressed would be dead long before the encouragement came true.

I do hope that people who drink from this particular cup won’t find themselves living in exile for seventy years!

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