Monday, November 26, 2007

Canadian Mindset



http://www.maranathanewspaper.com/home.php
Canadian Mindset
By Johanne Robertson

We're doing ourselves a disservice. We're passing over our own homegrown, God-given talent and prophetic voices, and looking to another country's citizens to educate and entertain our minds, feed our spirits and tell us how to think and feel.

Need proof? Look no further than your local Christian bookstore. There are hundreds of Canadian Christian bookstores in Canada, but the vast majority of the books lining their shelves are not by Canadian Christian authors.


Walk into any Christian bookstore north of the 49th parallel, and you'll see aisle after aisle of books by American writers. Want a book by a well-known, award-winning, Canadian Christian author? Chances are you'll have to order it directly from a supplier, because you probably won't find it stocked in your local Christian bookstore.

It's a deeply-rooted problem. Perhaps those roots begin in the soil of a Canadian identity that's based on a sense of Canadian inferiority; perhaps deep down we still believe all things American are somehow better than all things Canadian. Or maybe it's that David-sized Canadian publishers just don't have the marketing budgets and resources to compete with their Goliath-sized U.S. counterparts. Perhaps we should blame the media, who find it easier to promote the latest, big-name American author or artist with their polished media kits and substantial advertising and public relations budgets, than to support the next potential Canadian bestseller.
But of one thing I am certain: this problem is definitely not the fault of Canadian Christian writers.

Canadian Christian writers are a talented, dedicated and determined bunch. (It's not easy to dissuade people who feel called by God to speak to their nation.) And so, while Canadian readers continue to shell out their money for American books, writers like Keith Clemons, Denyse O'Leary, Margaret Davidson, Marcia Laycock, Angelina Fast Vlaar, Ed Hird, Phil Callaway, Carolyn Arends, NJ Lindquist, Deborah Gyapong, Eric E. Wright, Sheila Wray Gregoire, Paul Boge, Sue Augustine, Paul Beckingham, Donna Carter and Keturah Leonforde continue to pound away at their computer keyboards - expressing with great passion and skill - all they believe God has given them to express. Meanwhile organizations like The Word Guild and InScribe Christian Writers' Fellowship continue to cultivate up-and-coming writers, even as they strive to encourage and promote more experienced writers across the country.

It's time Canadian Christian bookstores and the Canadian media upheld their responsibility to ensure Canadian Christian voices are heard across our nation. Readers of books, periodicals and newspapers alike enjoy and benefit from Canadian content - so I urge Canada's Christian booksellers to make it available to them on-shelf, and promote it through in-store and online promotions. Keep comprehensive lists of Canadian authors at hand; church librarians will thank you for them. (Lists and downloadable Readers' Guides are available at http://www.thewordguild.com/ or http://www.inscribe.org/.)

There are signs of hope on the horizon. Mitchell's bookstore plans to host their first ever "Canadian Authors Day" at all eight Mitchell's locations simultaneously on Wednesday, December 12, 2007, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and an evening book-signing at their Willowdale location, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (For more information visit http://www.maranathanewspaper.com/ Several national ministries are also doing their part to ensure the voices of Canadian authors and artists are heard. I applaud Margaret Gibb, President of Women Alive, for taking such a stand, and purposefully choosing an all-Canadian group of speakers for their Toronto Conference and Expo. Ron Hannah, President of Promise Keepers Canada has also been using Canadian talent to speak to the needs of Canadian men. And Reynold and Kathy Mainse co-hosts of 100 Huntley Street, showcased an all-Canadian roster of musical recording artists at Heaven's Rehearsal in September. Jude Hodgson, Executive Director of MissionFest Toronto has always opened the door of opportunity for Canadian speakers.

God has fired the imaginations and stirred the souls of countless authors, journalists, speakers, recording artists, film and television producers in this country. He's inspired and equipped them with messages for us. They are vibrant, educated, well spoken and committed. They need only the opportunity to be read and heard.

Let's stop doing ourselves a disservice. We have what we need right here in Canada. It's time we were better stewards of the resources God has given us, in our home and native land.


Johanne Robertson is the editor and co-founder of Maranatha News. She can be reached at editor@maranathanewspaper.com




p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book 'Battle for the Soul of Canada', please send a $18.50 cheque to 'Ed Hird', #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.

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