I’m concerned. And nervous. And confused. This week, I attended the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando. It was my 11th show. The previous 10 times, I left optimistic, excited, and eager to get back to work. This year, I’m uneasy.
This year, I walked the floor with a witch.
Well, a former witch. Kristine McGuire, one of the authors we manage at Glass Road, spent nine years in the occult as a witch, medium, and ghosthunter. She chronicled her journey into and out of the occult in Escaping the Cauldron, which releases from Charisma House in September.
As I walked the floor with Kristine and her husband, a sensitivity to occultic influences in our products and people developed. At one booksigning, an author signed copies of the story of how her deceased husband communicated with her after his death and appeared to her as a “wispy, white creature”. (Ghost) At another, we saw items designed to provide protection, healing, and wisdom by their very presence. (Talisman) Another was rumored to be the front for a cult. And at still another, Kristine introduced herself to the man operating the booth only to have him assert he was a, “Reiki Master and light energy healer”.
That same man had been selected by CBA as a teacher of a workshop. Surely this isn’t what they intended when they selected this year’s theme of, “MORE”.
Maybe the occult has been present every year I’ve attended ICRS and I remained blissfully ignorant as I bopped from publisher booth to media interview to publisher booth. I definitely spent more time walking the entire floor this year and made an effort to learn about vendors with whom I haven’t worked before.
Still, I’m alarmed. At the International Christian Retail Show there were no less than five booths clearly associated with some form of the occult.
It’s not the International Spiritual Retail Show. Or Faith-Based Show. Or any of the terms we employ when attempting to lessen the controversial nature of the term Christian.
When Kristine asserted that the occult is present in our churches and Christian life in ways we don’t even realize, I’ll admit I only believed her in the abstract. Certainly there was no cultic presence in my church or in the industry of Christian product creation, I thought.
But now, having walked the ICRS floor extensively and seen the infiltration in stark reality, my heart is broken. We are a people called to live differently, to be a walking illustration of the God we adore. What must He think as He sees what is inside the temple walls?