OK. I Give. It's Pet Peeve Time.
Whenever I go to church where we have a special guest there .. author or musical performer, and they've set out books, tapes, CD's etc for sale in the lobby, I turn around and go home.
I won't stay when they sell stuff in the lobby. And we've had some famous guys I've missed out on, by doing that, too!
The picture up there portrays what's commonly referred to as Jesus' "cleansing the temple". It's reported in all the gospels, but the version I'm thinking of is the report found in John's gospel, chapter two. There, verse 12 says:
"To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"
Now, as I understand it, doves were sold there, to worshipers who'd come to the temple with no proper animal to offer as a sacrifice. So in that sense, they were selling something there, that was necessary to worship there, in the manner God had prescribed.
Apparently selling the stuff there was not what God had prescribed.
What makes our churches different today? We have lettering over the door to our sanctuary which says "My House Shall Be Called A House Of Prayer". How does selling books and CD's and DVD's fit into that? How would that be less offensive to Jesus than was the selling of doves, back in the days when a dove (or similar sacrifice) was indeed necessary for proper worship?
We hear the explanation that, by buying the materials, we are "having a part in their ministry". If that's needed, there can be offerings taken for such purpose. I believe Paul mentioned that sort of thing going on to support his ministry. And what with the internet, performers can sell their materials easily, without resorting to turning God's house "into a market".
It just seems to me that setting those things out for sale within the church building, regardless of whether it's before, during, or after a service of worship, would be just as egregious to God, today, as it would have been to Jesus, 2000 years ago.
He was pretty clear how He felt about it, then.
Apparently we don't share the feeling, today. I think we're missing something.