At your local ABC:  "It Came Upon A Midnight 'CLEAR'"
An informative email we received in early December 2007

Hi Mark,

This, I think, will interest and trouble you.

Recently we received in the mail a colorful, 36-page catalog, "Warm Winter Wishes from your Adventist Book Center." An explanatory line helpfully added, "Christmas gift ideas for you and everyone on your list. Books. Audio books. DVDs. Music CDs. CD ROMs. Games. Puzzles. And more."

The catalog shows a broad cross-section of the stock of the ABC, from lots of Ellen White stuff to children's material and everything in between. "Hmmmm....," thought I, "since this is the "Good Ol' Book And BIBLE House," I wonder what deals they're offering on Bibles for the upcoming Christmas season. Surely, there's no better gift to give than a Bible, so they must be offering a variety of versions and bindings to choose from."

I began searching through the catalog, passing pages offering "Testimonies for the Church" and many other familiar titles. Then, ah, yes, there it was, atop Page Ten:  The page heading announced, "Bibles & Hymnals." "Good!" thought I, "Bibles! This is what the 'Book And Bible House" is all about." I began to read eagerly....

"The Clear Word. Jack J. Blanco. This popular paraphrase of the Bible lets the power of the ancient texts shine through. As the meaning of Scripture becomes more transparent, you see more of God's grace."

"Hmmm...," once again thought I, "I see that they've put their 'Clear Word' right here at the top of the page, above all the others. I guess that somebody in the Review and Herald Marketing Department had some pull, to advertise their own version above all the others." Next down the page were some fine, leather-bound Bibles pictured, and I eagerly read the fine print for details. They were more bindings of the Clear Word! Below those, pocket editions were offered, as was an audio edition of the New Testament--all Clear Word. And then...

"The Clear Word for Kids. Here is a paraphrase of the Bible in kids' language, perfect for making God's message plain to young hearts. This special edition includes more than 30 pages of colorful charts and lists." There was even an "Easy English Clear Word," presumably for the benefit of those who have only a limited knowledge of the English language.

At last, adjusting my glasses for the fine print, I did spy an offering of the King James Version with matching hymnal. That completed the page of "Bibles & Hymnals." There were 15 different options for the Clear Word in its various bindings and presentations, and there was one leather King James. "Well, I mused, "surely there'll be more Bibles elsewhere in the catalog. I'll just keep paging along, and I'll find all the others." However, completing my tour of the colorful publication, I found no other Bibles offered.

I don't want to be overly picky, but I have noticed that they don't call it "The Clear Word BIBLE," just "The Clear Word." Apparently, they carefully avoid calling it a Bible. HOWEVER, once again, I look at the headline at the top of this page ten and see, "Bibles [plural] and Hymnals." Since there's only ONE KJV listed on the page, I feel justified in inferring that their headline word "Bibles" is intended to include the 15 offerings of the Clear Word.

It's quite, uh, "Clear" that the "Bible" of choice in the ABC promotion this Christmas is the Clear Word. And they don't even know
enough to be embarrassed.

Oh, well....
[Name Removed]

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