If you read When Bad Christians Happen to Good People you know that I am not a fan of “Jesus Junk”. That is a term for the often tacky, sometimes offensive, and generally puzzling ways that we try to merge Christianity and our culture. The products range from the Jesus bobble head dolls to Christian breath mints. I had never considered bad breath to be a spiritual issue but I am still learning in my journey. < ?xml:namespace prefix ="" o ns ="" "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
People now send me links to this stuff just to annoy me. Today I found out about the new Talking Jesus action figure and it arrived just in time for gift giving on His upcoming birthday. Herobuilders.com of < ?xml:namespace prefix ="" st1 ns ="" "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />
For only $34.95 you can have your very own Talking Jesus Action Figure. If you want to have your own “Come to Jesus Summit” with world leaders you can order the George Bush, Jacques Chirac, and Tony Blair action figures as well.
Another kind reader sent me news of the glow in the dark Passion of the Christ T-shirt. In the interest of fairness I will give the website description for you. .
You will never have a better opportunity to share your faith than a time like now. Let your light shine into the darkness with our ‘Passion of Christ’ glo t-shirt.
The instructions tell you that just by placing your t-shirt by a light source for 2 hours will allow your light to shine all night!
I am trying to understand how this works evangelistically. You charge up your t-shirt and go in search of sinners and dark places. So far so good.
Then you stride in boldly and all aglow and then you…uhh….
It breaks down for me there.
The list of Jesus Junk is astounding and embarrassing. Now the new trend is selling Jesus images on Ebay. Here is an actually item and description from a recent Ebay auction. I have inserted my own observations in italics.
On Sunday January 14th, 2001, my life changed forever. I had been a heavy drinker for many years and on that day, I discovered what appeared to be the image of Jesus Christ on my grilled ham and cheese. (Just like Jesus to rock the Pharisees by appearing on a non-Kosher sandwich). After that day, I quit drinking (that would have done it for me too) and began to make much needed changes in my life. I have kept this sandwich a secret from everyone, but it has served as a daily reminder of this magnificent miracle. Now however, I feel that this sandwich should be shared with the hope that its image will inspire others to make changes in their lives. I hope that the new owner will proudly display it for all to see. This sandwich is permanently sealed in a 1/2″ thick Lexan Plexiglas display case and is not intended for consumption (really good advice). Item is not edible. Item is intended to be displayed and visually experienced by self and others much as art would be appreciated.
And while the seller was gracious in wanting to “share” his sandwich with the world…there was a $350 minimum bid. There is a price on inspiring the world to change.
While this whole thing is embarrassing to me as a Christian there is also a strange comfort in all of this. Perhaps our strongest apologetic argument is that Christianity is flourishing around the world despite Christians. Clearly there is something far more powerful than our often sorry attempts to represent Jesus to the world. I wrote a chapter called “Godly or Gaudy?” in When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. Here is an excerpt from that chapter.
Last night I had a dream. I went shopping with Jesus. We were browsing through a Christian book superstore. He stopped at the What Would Jesus Do? bracelet display. I found out what He would do. He moved on. Jesus picked up the Testamints breath mints and examined them. Next He saw the Jesus and His dog statue portraying a young Jesus with a German shepherd. Did I see Him chuckle? The Jesus Saves air freshener for cars caught His attention. He looked around at the rows of products and aisles of books, row after row of books about Jesus and how to know Him and be like Him and so on and so on. “Why do you make faith so complicated?” He asked quietly. “I didn’t say figure Me out. I said follow Me.” That woke me up.