Still, there's a big difference between thinking like a Catholic, and formally stating that I am, in fact, a Catholic. I've written about my conversion before.
I've lived in Minnesota's Twin Cities, San Francisco, and a few other places. So, do I miss the libraries, museums, and traffic jams? A little.
But I love living here. I'll get to one of the reasons in a bit.
What's important, in the context of this post, is that I was born into a nice mainstream Protestant household. My parents were fairly sensible folks, which is more than I can say for quite a few of the painfully 'Christian' outfits in the area.
So, as my adolescence was merging into adulthood, I decided to check out the titles in a Christian bookstore. I like books, you see. I read. A lot. Going into a Christian bookstore seemed like a sensible idea.
I went in, looked around, and went out again.
A while later I went into another Christian bookstore. Looked around, went out: and didn't go into another Christian bookstore for over a decade.
You see, I was looking for books about Christianity. What I'd found, besides Bibles, fell into three main categories. Books explaining why:
- Evolution was the work of the devil
- The Catholic Church was
- Evil, I tell you!
- The End Times were coming
- In about four or five years
Like I said, it was a decade or more before I went into a bookstore with the word "Christian" in the name. I'd had quite enough.
Then, while we were living in Dunseith, North Dakota, my wife said that I should check out a book-and-gift shop in a nearby town. "Nearby" by North Dakota standards, that is.
"Christian" was, as I recall, in the name of the store - but my wife was right. No surprises there.
This store was - different. No racks of hate literature. They even sold - prayer cards? Rosaries?!! In a Christian bookstore? These people must use the term "Christian" the way I do - "relating to or characteristic of Christianity" (Princeton's WordNet)
Statistically, with a population of around 4,000, a few jerks probably live here: and some of those might be Catholics. I wouldn't know: the folks I've met so far are okay. I'm wandering off-topic again.
Anyway, it's a good place to live. Provided you don't mind living where water is a mineral for much of the year. This is 'down south' for me - and that's yet again another topic.
I don't know whether it's a matter of regional culture, the Catholic majority who live here, or whether I'm looking at change wrought by the passing of decades - but Sauk Centre has a "Christian Books and Gifts" store that's like that book and gift store near Dunseith, North Dakota. It's called Hidden Treasure.
I don't mind going in. At all.
In fact, I was there yesterday, getting a few photos and facts for my Sauk Centre Journal.
Now that my shameless self-promotion is out the way, back to Hidden Treasure. Here's a photo from that Sauk Centre Journal post:
Hidden Treasure, Sauk Centre, near the front door. December 1, 2010.yesterday. ("Today, yesterday?!" Syntactic cacophony!)
But the 'good old days' had its troubles, too.
While recognizing that this isn't a perfectly perfect world, I think it's okay to think about things that have improved over the last half-century. Like diaper changing tables in the Mens lavatory. (November 10, 2010)
Like I said, I don't know if it's the place I live now, or the passing of years: but Hidden Treasure is not the sort of "Christian" bookstore I remember from the 'good old days' - and for that, I'm grateful.
That first photo is in the part of the store nearest the entrance. The knickknacks there are pretty standard-issue stuff: a seasonal angel with some sort of trumpet; a bunch of - snow globes? - and coffee mugs.
Going a little deeper into the store, it gets more interesting. For me, anyway.
Old favorites, something about the Bible - and Saints?! December 1, 2010.
Books about God, hope, and caring - in a Christian bookstore? All right! December 1, 2010.
Lots of little 'angels,' and - - - crosses? Nope: Take a closer look. December 1, 2010.
Crucifixes, lots of them: and NAB Bibles. Also one of those rosaries that you hang on the wall. December 1, 2010.
I gather that the 'rock and roll is the work of the Devil' thing isn't as widely popular now, as it was back in the sixties. Rockers growing up and having families may have had something to do with that. My kids have asked me to turn the volume down, now and again - and I'm drifting off-topic again.
Or, not so much.
Looking over a rack of music CDs, I noticed this selection, near the bottom:
Nostalgia - 21st century style. December 1, 2010.
Rock and roll and Christian music? This isn't the seventies any more. Can't say that I'm sorry about that.
- "Oh, For the 'Good Old Days?' "
(November 28, 2010)
- "New Missal Coming: This is Going to be Interesting"
(November 22, 2010)
- "Mass, Liturgy, Nostalgia, and being Catholic in America"
(November 19, 2010)
- "Going My Way, and Why Anti-Catholicism is a Good Sign"
(November 18, 2010)
- "Diapers and the End of Civilization"
(November 10, 2010)
1 Bible-thumpers aren't the only folks with - odd - notions about the Catholic Church:
- "Mind's Made Up About Catholicism? Don't Read This"
(November 8, 2010)