Not sure to laugh, cry, or disgorge. Excuse me. But after reading a report of last week’s International Christian Retail Show, it’s hard not to tear up your membership card.
The article, by Stephanie Simon (LA Times reprinted in the Edmonton Journal–sorry, link isn’t available) described the suffocating array of Christian kitsch.
Let’s see…you got your fish-shaped breath mints, bible-verse golf balls, yer "Got Jesus" key chain, your skin-tight, scooped-neck teen T-shirts with the slogan "Wood and Nails-A powerful partnership", your "armor of God" pajamas, Christian pirate decals, your Bible-clutching doll collection, and on and on, really…on and on. Anything that moves or doesn’t gets Jesus slapped onto it and a price-sticker.
My favourite–after ’Follow the Son’ flip-flops that leave the message, "follow Jesus", in the sand, if you happen to be walking in sand–was Christian perfume…named, Virtuous Woman. It’s Christian you see, because when someone asks, "Hey what’s that new fragrance you’re wearing?", you have a perfect opening for an evangelizing moment.
And of course that’s the supposed redemptive factor with all the products. They are, say the retailers, evangelistic tools.
Now, no doubt, everything is marketed by reasonably decent good hearted people, wanting to do their bit for Jesus. (Their bit is apparently something like a 4.5 Billion dollar industry now.) But good hearted or not…you have to think that Jesus is somewhere wincing.