Is it just me, or has anybody else noticed how silly Christian book titles have become? Zondervan is in a dust-up with Soong-Chan Rah and other Asian-American church leaders over the book Deadly Viper Character Assassins: A Kung Fu Survival Guide for Life and Leadership. Dr. Rah’s beef, and rightly so, is with the cultural insensitivity of the book. But, if you don’t already know the subject matter of this book (behaviors that can lead to moral failure in a church leader’s life), then you’d never guess it by the title. The fact that it premiered at Catalyst, an event targeted to young pastors, might be a clue to the title. However, if I were a young pastor, I think I would be insulted.
I also ran across Frank Page’s book, The Incredible Shrinking Church, online the other day. Page, former SBC president and now North American Mission Board evangelism head, seems to be a very nice guy with some serious things to say about church decline, growth, and evangelism. Yet B&H Publishing, a Lifeway imprint, titled the book for 7th graders rather than church leaders.
While these are two examples, they are not the only instances of trivial titles used to sell books on supposedly serious topics. I’m all for a little light-heartedness, but is this dumbing down of Christian leadership books a trend, or am I just getting too old and grumpy to get it? Actually, I never buy books that look like they are written for the lowest rung of the church leadership ladder. What about you? Do these catchy, and somewhat silly titles put you off? Or, are you not one to judge a book by its cover?