Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jesus Fan Pages, Cheesy T-Shirts, and a False God

The latest thing to catch my attention on Facebook has been the "Be a Fan of Jesus" invites that are all over the place. This, I must admit, puts me in a quandary. If I decline, it looks (on the surface) like I don't like Jesus. If I accept it, a part of me feels like I am cheapening the Lordship and Transcendence of Christ.

Another thing that catches my eye concerns our local Christian bookstores, or trinket-houses as I call them. Carrie has probably gotten tired of me every time we go into one look to the vast array of religious artifacts and say "Here are your indulgences, buy them and be forgiven." I'm sure they mean well, but really... how cheap we have made being a Disciple of Christ. Now what distinguishes as a Christian is what we put on the walls of our living rooms, the centerpiece of our dining room table, or dare I say the t-shirts we wear. It used to be that being a Christian meant a life of death to self, service to Christ, and a call to sanctification. Now, pray the magic prayer, walk the magic aisle, go into the magic water, and buy a few trinkets and you are a Christ follower! This is a humorous look at American Christianity, and deeply humbling when we get to heaven and meet brethren from other countries and other times. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayVegIVejis

Some of you are probably asking, "Why the big deal over this?" "It isn't hurting anyone" or "They're just showing they believe in Christ" I understand all these statements, and sometimes I wonder why things like this get me riled up. Here is why it is a big deal: It is part of a cultural shift away from a biblical view of Christ to a post-modern, therapy-driven, culturally-acceptable Jesus. He has gone from our Lord whom we fear to our "homeboy," from a sovereign Lord who controls all things by His decree to "our buddy who always is there for us to cry on," from the Risen Messiah to a self-help guru.

Shame on us in America for how we have portrayed God. Shame on us for moving away from what Scripture says about God to making for us a god of our choosing. We have chosen to work with a God who is much like us, because that would be a God we can control, a God we can influence, a God we do not have to be afraid of.

Jesus is not my homeboy, and He better not be yours too. He is Lord and Savior, the King of the Universe. And I will never be a "fan" of Jesus. He is not something to be trivialized and marketed like any product, sports team, or personality. To quote a dear brother "Jesus had many fans, but few followers." I choose to be a follower, to be a disciple, to carry my cross and bear the Name, not to carry my Bobble-Head and bear a t-shirt. Counting all as loss for the sake of Christ is more than an image or product, it is a lifestyle. What the Church needs is fewer fans, more followers, more Jesus, less garbage, more Christ, less Man.


  1. but doesn't Jesus also call the disciples friends?

    totally agree with what you're saying, just want to make sure you don't go overboard

  2. Oh I agree, no doubt that Jesus is closer than a brother and such.
    My concern is the way it's trivialized, have no problem saying in Christ we are a "friend of God" but when Jesus becomes your "buddy" I have issues
    Thanks for keeping me grounded!

  3. Randi and I loved the indulgence bit, so true.

    RUF has a summer conference every year. It's at Laguna Beach Christian Retreat. They have the most horrendous bookstore/novelty shop you could imagine. Every horrible "Christian" T-shirt, necklace, bracelet, and anything else you could ever imagine can be found there. I can't stand this mass appropriation of pop culture. Why must everything be ripped from culture and brought into a Christian bubble? People get so bent up on not being of the world that they completely forget about still being in the world.

  4. I don't think "post-modern" is an appropriate descriptor of this point of view. Call it "therapeutic moralistic deism" if you will. But certainly don't lump it in with a post-modern mindset.