I grew up in a town north of Columbus.  It was a great treat when Mom would take me to The Christian Armory, a sort of Christian superstore with books, music, clothing and more.  I could spend hours there, trying to decide what new tape I wanted to get or what new book I was going to take home.  Sometimes I would even buy a Christian tie or t shirt.

But it was when I discovered soundtracks – basically Christian karaoke tracks – that I really loved going.  I bought some of the most ridiculous songs that looking back I can’t believe I ever thought were good.  “Great God” by Carman, being the leading example.  Actually, anything by Carman is kind of embarrassing, though “Serve the Lord” was the first song I ever sang in public and its not so bad.  Anyway, I digress.

We had a couple of stores like this closer to home.  Marysville was home to “The Lighthouse.”  It was cramped, but had so much stuff to choose from – especially songbooks.  Marion had one on the way towards downtown that had a nice selection of music in the basement and I remember it being almost cold down there.

And then when I moved to Cincinnati and started school my roommate, Mike Riggs, got me a job at Berean Christian store.  Owned by Standard Publishing, they were a larger chain and reminded me of the Armory back in Columbus.  I started out as a cashier, quit because I had to go back home for Christmas, and then returned in the summer working more back in the books section.  Again, I had to quit at Christmas because I couldn’t stay in the dorms at college and while I was gone, they moved to the Forest Fair Mall.  I went back to work again in the summer and became the evening supervisor until I couldn’t handle the management style of the boss.  (There’s a reason I work for myself and its not just because of the money).

Berean’s main competitor is Family Christian Store, which I now shop at.  In fact, last Saturday I =bought a new soundtrack for my upcoming concert and found C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity for only $5!  I could have spent more time there but my new glasses were ready to be picked up so I left . . . but that just means I can go back sooner.

Shopping there on Saturday brought me back to some of the good memories of my childhood.  I can’t wait to go back because Christian bookstores now and then are one of my favorite things!



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