Monday, December 21, 2009

Selling Jesus

Here’s an interesting article about one of my pet peeves: Christian Marketing. Ever since I saw Testamints (breath mints with Bible verses on them) at my local Christian retailer, I’ve been cynical about the selling of what church marketing consultant Brad Abare calls “Jesus Junk”.

In this article, Abare nails it:

"We think it's just dumb. It's not a true reflection of creativity," said Abare, of the nonprofit Center for Church Communication in Los Angeles.

He’s speaking specifically about the current t-shirt trend where widely recognized logos such as Subway, iPod, American Idol, and Coca Cola are altered to contain, upon closer inspection, Christian themes.

“Reese’s” becomes “Jesus”.
“American Idol” becomes “Amazing Grace”.
“Sprite” becomes “Spirit”.

Some are going beyond the creativity criticism and questioning the copyright infringement. Aren’t these clever religious marketers violating the eighth commandment – thou shalt not steal?

My main concern is that these cheesy, banal rip offs will cheapen the message of Scripture. How are we to take seriously the idea of a loving God giving his only Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins against His holiness, when we see Him referred to as “My Homeboy”?


Kristin said...

I think these kinds of things are a byproduct of teaching only God's Love - and making Him infinitely approachable and 'cuddly'. It might be His Love that attracts initially, but it's His holiness that makes forgiveness meaningful, His power that makes His gentleness unique, and His omniscience that requires humility of us to approach Him. He is neither cuddly nor soft. His love is steadfast, but so is His definition of sin.
I don't think that fire and brimstone are the most palatable way to reach people - but this pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.

God's Word is to be written on your heart, not dissolved on your tongue.

Pastor Kip said...

Yes! Well said, Kristin. The kindness of God leads us to repentance, but I love your line, 'it's His holiness that makes forgiveness meaningful'.