Apparently, the International Christian Retailers Convention (it used to be known as the CBA convention) is in a sad state of decline. Attendance at this year's convention in Orlando was half of what it was in 1999. Click here: Low Numbers at Christian Retail Show - 7/21/2008 7:16:00 AM - Publishers Weekly
There was a time when attending the annual Christian Retailer's Convention was truly the social highlight of the year. The reason--the entire White Horse Inn crew was turned loose in a gigantic convention where every Christian publisher (heroes and heretics) and purveyor of "Christian merchandise" was on hand to sell their wares.
My favorite CBA incident was in Orlando in 1999. Mike Horton, Rod Rosenbladt, and I were walking down one of the aisles when we were passed by R. C. Sproul and Bob Ingram (going the other direction). R. C. says (loud enough for us to hear), "Look at that . . . Horton's got a Lutheran. I gotta get me one of them . . ." Rod has never heard the end of that one. Listening to Rod and R. C. playfully spar with one another is one of the highlights of my life!
And then there was the time when Mike Horton approached the dear little lady selling "Christian" bed sheets with Bible verses on them. Mike asked her, "what book of the Bible are the verses from?" Without missing a beat she answered, "Oh, the Song of Solomon, of course." We should have known . . .
When CBA was held here in Anaheim, Jan Crouch from TBN showed up in all her glory. Rod couldn't believe his eyes. Jan had on some bizarre hot pink outfit that included leggings, culottes, a hoop-skirt, and a bib-apron. Rod followed Jan around in utter disbelief trying to get my wife (like she would know) to explain to him what all of it was and why anyone would wear such a thing. It was hilarious . . .
Yes, I miss the days when our producer (Shane Rosenthal) would take his video camera and ask people basic theological questions. Even better, was the time Shane filmed a noted televangelist gorging himself on pancakes in the cafeteria while he was pushing a new book on dieting, or the time Shane caught another televangelist flirting with an attractive young lady in front of his booth, and the time Shane filmed another wearing a shiny royal blue suit which was so bright it had to glow in the dark. . .
Oh yes, CBA . . . What fond memories . . .