The Christian Marketing Extravaganza, better known as the Christian Booksellers Association Annual Convention, is always a sight to behold. Acres of stalls laid out in neat rows, all shimmering with product—crosses, posters, books, t-shirts, CDs, paintings, you name it. Meanwhile, salespeople scurry, trying to convince bookstore owners to put their product on shelves this fall. It is a discomforting mix of capitalism and Christianity, but not so discomforting that anyone seriously entertains the idea of overturning tables and driving people out of the convention center.

The fact is that the convention also contains a healthy dose of Darwinism. Many of the products so often mocked by CBA critics are also ignored by bookstore owners. Therefore, many budding Christian entrepreneurs walk away from CBA seeking God's new direction for their life. But a few products are introduced each year that may do what they are intended to do: further the cause of Christ. Rather than mock the soon-to-be extinct, I'll mention two that struck me as interesting. Whether they are marketable, I have no idea.

The Amazing Bible Poster caught my eye as I walked by the Staff Vision Productions booth. The 24x36-inch poster featured a simple black cross on a gray background. The contrast with the glistening silver crosses I'd just passed and the glossy, full-color posters nearby was striking. A salesman handed me a magnifier and told me to look closer. The gray background, it turned out, was the text of the Bible. The entire Bible, printed so small that it can be read only with a magnifier—and even then it's pretty darn small!

To be sure, this is nothing compared to the recent publishing of the entire New Testament on a 5-mm-square chip (about the size of a pencil eraser). And I'm not sure the gray poster goes with too many office decors. But it's still a publishing miracle in my book.

In another booth, Prismatech Publishing was featuring a historical strategy game, The Journeys of Paul. This was fresh in that it is not a rip-off of a popular secular game (like Scattergories: Bible Edition, or a new one, Settlers of Canaan, based on the secular Settlers of Catan). Each player is a missionary, like Paul, who travels through the Roman Empire and attempts to start churches in key cities. Along the way, they face Acts-of-the-Apostles-type obstacles (e.g., local persecution) and get providential breaks (e.g., someone in the city is healed). He who plants the most churches wins. The design is decent, and it looks like a great way to teach kids about New Testament times and church planting.

These two products may not set the world on fire for Jesus, but they show, once again, the ingenuity and passion we evangelicals have for creating biblical products.

Mark Galli is managing editor of Christianity Today.

Related Elsewhere

Earlier Christianity Today dispatches from CBA conventions include:

Books & Culture: The Great Inflatable Shark Hunt | A report from the Christian Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim. By Jeremy Lott (July 22, 2002)
Looking for the Soul of CBA | Nearly anything that can be said about Christian publishing is true to some extent, thanks to the industry's ever-enlarging territory. By John Wilson (July 16, 2001)
Behold the Power of Cheese | A dispatch from the Christian Booksellers Association. By Mark Galli (July 12, 2000)
Books & Culture Corner: The Culture of Euphemism | A dispatch from the Christian Booksellers Association convention. By John Wilson (July 11, 2000)
Don't Blame the Publishers! | Publishers are not forcing shallow books on an unwilling community. By Frederica Mathewes-Green (Feb. 9, 1998)