Intrusive Thoughts at Barnes & Noble
Have you ever had an intrusive thought? Intrusive thoughts are those random, uninvited, extreme, sometimes graphic thoughts or images that pop into your mind.
One of the most common types of intrusive thoughts are sudden thoughts of doing something very embarrassing or innapropriate in public- something like shouting a bad word in church, throwing your hands up and screaming at the top of your lungs in the library, or maybe pushing a glass dish off the shelf at an antique shop.
If you have intrusive thoughts you know exactly what I am talking about, if you don't have them you think I am crazy.
So anyway, there I was in Barnes & Noble with my wife. We were walking around in that quiet book store, and I was skimming through books on politics, religion, psychology and parenting. The intrusive thoughts were pouring in... First I had a thought of screaming at the top of my lungs. I had another intrusive thought about looking at the customer next to me and saying somehting like "you shouldn't be looking at these books." I had a particulary graphic intrusive thought of a whole heap of books burning in a burn barrel. I had a thought of making a scene by running up to the front desk and chewing out all the employees. My mind was racing!
Okay, okay. Let's back up. Why in the world was I having these crazy, innapropriate thoughts swirling through my mind at Barnes & Noble? Here is why; the more book covers I saw, the more books I skimmed through, the more furious I became. I couldn't believe the lies, immorality, and mental poison that was I was seeing in this bookstore. Books like "The Transgender Child: A Handbook For Parents and Professionals Supporting Transgender and Nonbinary Children," and "Chakras: Get Grounded, Feel Good, Release Your Chi, And Lots Of Other Cool Magical Stuff," and books like "Red Lip Theology," and "The Next Place" were particularly upsetting. I will talk more about these in a moment.
The more books like this I saw, the more my desire to expose them became. I wanted to rip these books up, or buy as many awful books as I could and burn them all. I wanted to everyone around me to get out of this store and never open these books full of falseity. I wanted to go scream at the employees saying "do you really believe this garbage that you are selling to people?" I absolutely could not believe the books I was looking at!
We quietly left the store, and I did nothing that my crazy, extreme brain was picturing.
But... I did not forget about my time at the bookstore. As I thought more about this book skimming frenzy, I tried to reflect upon what in particular was so unsettling to me as I looked through these pages. Here is what I came up with:
1. The sheer amount of ungodly material in the bookstore.
Satan's tactics are so obvious-- he wants to scream lies at us as loudly as he can. When you walk in the book store, the first books in front of you have the flashiest covers, the catchiest titles, on the most contrversial issues. Books on sex and politcs are on the closest shelf to the entrance. I picked up dozens and dozens of books, and nearly every single one of them was godless. Barnes & Noble, and Satan, are working hard to make sure customers are exposed to A LOT of wickedness. I was not angry that I saw a book promoting sin, I was angry that it took so long to find a book that wasn't.
2. Books are supposed to bring wisdom.
I've always viewed books as a source of wisdom. There has always been a sense of "purity" about a book in my eyes. I remember going to the book store, and the library as a kid with my mom and being surrounded by books somehow made me feel like I was just in a good place.
I thought that if you wrote a book you had to be smart, studied, scholarly, moral, professional, and therefore books were a source of great wisdom! I mean I knew that immoral foolishness has taken over social media, movies, TV, and the internet. But, I guess I still viewed books as this untouched source of wisdom. I thought that walking into a book store was going to be a refreshing, almost enlightening experience like it was when I was little. Boy, was I wrong. Those bookshelves hold just as much wisdom as your know-it-all third cousin from Oklahoma who posts his every opinion on Facebook but doesn't know the difference between "there" and "their" (I am from Oklahoma so I can say that).
Part of my frustration was simply from the suprise that the book store is no longer a 'safe place' to go learn, research, and seek wisdom. It is trap that has been disguised as an enlightening place seek knowledge, but wickedness is waiting for a defenseless victim to pounce upon.
3. The audacity of the authors.
As I mentioned above, I was shocked at the foolishness that filled the bookshelves. Books are are no longer a source of wisdom, they are just another means for Satan to spread lies through the words of any ignorant soul who will pay enough to get their book on a shelf. What baffles me further is that these ignorant authors speak as though they are THE authority. Here's what I mean- I want to reference one book that I skimmed through called "The Next Place" by Warren Hansen. This is a mild exmaple of the point I am making but a good example nonetheless. This book is a short childrens book about the afterlife. The author whimsically tells his youthful audience that they will be "tumbling through the always," and the next place they go "won't really be a place at all." He states that in the next place you go you'll "be embraced by all the family and friends I've ever known. Although I might not see their faces our hearts will beat as one, and the circle of our spirits will shine brighter than the sun."
OK... With all due respect, who in the world is Warren Hansen and what makes this man think he is allowed to ingrave his fantastical, mystical view of the afterlife into the mind of children?
I noticed this same trend with a slew of books at the book store that day- authors having the audacity to speak on subjects as big as the afterlife and presenting their made up ideas to children as if it is absolute truth. If someone is ignorant of what The True Authority tells us of the afterlife, they might just believe this random dude who can rhyme about nonsense and has enough money to publish a book.
I certianly do not mean to sound disrespectful, but it is imperative that we guard ourselves from people who do not know what they are talking about, but speak as if they are omniscient.
I know this blog post is a bit odd, and even a bit of a "downer," but it is what has been on my mind. It is certainly less of an encouragement and more of a warning. We need to be careful about what we take in. Satan is working overtime and we must remain alert. Sin is all over, and sin is serious.
I will not be burning any books. It is certainly not a sin to read books, or go to the book store. But I challenge you to seek The True Authority. God's Word is VITAL. We must be overflowing with Scripture in order to have the knowledge, and the self control to call out Satan's lies and rule over sin.
"Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7