Confessions of a "Bible snob"
"I confess that I am a Bible snob," writes The Boston Globe's Alex Beam. "The King James Version, committee-written in 1611, is the best of the Good Books for me." But Beam acknowledges that it's an issue of taste for him, not authority. And truth be told, it's less an issue of translation than it is of packaging. Christianity Today columnist Andy Crouch recently complained, "To be sure, the hundreds of lifestyle-oriented Bibles do include the original text, but too often the tedious, dead-author part of the Bible is in the smallest, least appealing type, while the easy-to-read study notes, helpful hints, and contemporary stories offer their assistance with lively type and colorful graphics." Beam goes a step further and actually samples some of the study notes from Zondervan's Teen Devotional Bible (published in partnership with Youth Specialties and Christianity Today sister publication Campus Life):
Like Game Boy, it is sold with translucent plastic carrying cases, and it is in fact ridiculous. The workmanlike New International Version text is interrupted with explanatory "Backstage Passes," asides on "Extreme Faith," or witless "What's Up With That?" commentaries. Sample 1: "One day King Saul thinks David's an OK guy; the next he's trying to shish-kebab David on a spear." Sample 2: "Adam was a lonely dude until (drum roll please) God created the perfect companion."

Beam clearly got the idea for his column from the May issue of Harper's, which also mocks the Teen Devotional Bible. He even notes that it has been "mocked as the 'Britney Spears Bible' for young people," but doesn't note Harper's as the mocker.

You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry …
Marilyn Manson is coming to town. To Denver, that is. Despite earlier reports that the used-to-be-scary rocker had canceled his appearance in the Colorado town (he hasn't played the city since the Columbine shootings two years ago), Manson now says he's coming—and he's bringing his Bible. "I am truly amazed that after all this time, religious groups still need to attack entertainment and use these tragedies as a pitiful excuse for their own self-serving publicity," he says on his Web site. In response to their protests, I will provide a show where I balance my songs with a wholesome Bible reading. This way, fans will not only hear my so-called, 'violent' point of view, but we can also examine the virtues of wonderful 'Christian' stories of disease, murder, adultery, suicide and child sacrifice. Now that seems like 'entertainment' to me." No word on if he'll be reading from the Teen Devotional Bible. ("Dude, like, the whole Satanic music thing just isn't cool, dude.") Meanwhile, Citizens for Peace and Respect, composed of 21 churches and three families of Columbine victims, are still trying to get the concert cancelled. (Those not easily offended might want to check out The Onion's satirical article, "Marilyn Manson Now Going Door-to-Door Trying to Shock People." There's a sexual reference and a few bad words, but it's pretty stinkin' funny. Just please remember—it's a joke.)

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PrayerofJabez still selling at least 100,000 copies a week
Bruce Wilkinson's short volume is still at the top of the bestseller lists—which don't include Christian bookstores. Now that's increasing your territory.

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