Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Absolutely Tasteless

You know, there are a lot of things out there that are sold in the name of Christianity that I wish would just go away. Why Christians go for the cheese factor I'll never know. I'm thinking of things like my Jesus Nightlight ("Let His Light Light Your Way"), Testamints, christian T-shirts, and Carman. And everything sold by the Oriental Trading Company.

When I worked for a christian bookstore I was continually amazed at the stuff that we had to sell in the name of Christianity. It seems you can slap the name "Jesus" on anything, and that makes it good for Christian Consumption. And if you can come up with a catchy phrase like "Jesus Makes Me Beary Happy," then you truly have a winner.

But I saw this yesterday, and this. . .this beats them all. I have labeled this the Absolutely Worst Idea Ever:

They are little mints, shaped like crosses, in a little tin can made to look like a Bible. I can hear the promo now: "The Cross: instrument of terror, the most devious torture device ever invented, and now it freshens your breath, too!" Or "The Cross: It saved the world, and now it saves you from bad breath!" Or perhaps you could get really creative: "Bothered by the demons of bad breath? Frightened by the evil forces of foul smells emanating from your mouth? Then use the power of the Cross to be cleansed and protected again! Cross Mints - Your Salvation from Social Anxiety!"

I mean, really. Who thinks up these things? Who decides this is a good idea? And who actually buys this crap?*

Remember - the cross was not cute. It was terrible. Death by crucifixion was not clean and quick. It was by all definitions cruel and unusual. Those crucified peed and pooped on themselves, they bled for days. They felt the pain of nails hammered through their hands and feet, they hung under the sun all day, they felt the humiliation of hanging naked for the world to see. And the Romans did this to people over and over and over again to make the point: don't mess with us, or this is what you'll get. Nails through your wrists and ankles, legs broken with 2x4s, and one long, slow, excruciating death.**

The cross then became the instrument of the salvation of the world. All our hope goes back to the cross and resurrection. The cross is the singularly most important moment in human history. The cross is at the center of all we say and do and believe as the people of God. The cross ought to be approached with wonder, awe, terror, and joy at God's love portrayed there.

But, no. We're going to turn all that into a mint and sell it to unsuspecting Sunday School teachers to give to their classes. The word "desecration" comes to mind. It certainly is utterly demeaning to Christ's Victory won there. And it sure confuses the little kids who eat these things - how ever will they take the cross seriously when we treat it with such superficiality?

So there you have it. #1 on my list of "Worst Ideas Ever." It would be funny if it weren't so supremely sad.

* I realize that the usage of the word "crap" may offend some of my more sensitive readers. However, in this context, the word is not used flippantly, but is the best word to describe the utter nonsense of turning crosses into mints. Strong situations call for strong language.

** For a more culturally relevant feel for this, imagine if they made mints that looked like trees with nooses thrown over the branches. Or mints that looked like electric chairs. Or mints that looked like concentration camp gas chambers. Imagine the outrage if that happened.


Kim said...

Awesome rant! I'm right there with ya.

I was on the website today perusing the gadgets for God, so your blog is timely!

Beth B said...

Amen, Dan. And Kim, Isn't Ship of Fools great?

I wonder: Is all this junk for Jesus somehow tied to our genuine need for sacraments? If we really understood and trusted that God meets us through water, wine and bread, would we accept anything less as a substitute? Would we still be seeking Him through all these other trinkets? Maybe all this Junk for Jesus is just Junk Food, and we need to change our diet. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Some of these are in good taste ... no pun ... then there are some which have money in mind. with Testamints this is the case I know the person who is running it again, after it fell apart the first time. He doing it again, but I don' believe in a God way. A very sad thing! but this is true I design the latest tin and have not got paid for this or anything else I have done for them.