Have you been in a christian bookstore lately? I just shopped at one recently and I have to ask, is it just me or do you also feel totally bombarded with “Jesus junk” as soon as you walk through the door? It seems like the first thing you see when you walk into most christian bookstores are t-shirts with catchy/cheesy slogans on them. Actually they aren’t catchy…just chessy. All of the sudden it seems like every brand name you can think of has been transformed into a cheesy christian slogan.
For instance, there’s an orange shirt that says “Jesus” instead of “Reeses”. There’s also one that says “Got Jesus” instead of “Got Milk”. Cecily even saw one that said “Without Jesus not even Reeses knows what peace is.” But I must say my personal favorite was one that referenced the chocolate drink “Yoo-who”. The shirt said “It was You-who he died for”…clever huh? I mean has anyone ever gotten saved because they saw someone wearing one of these shirts? Which begs the question, what are the purpose of these cheesy shirts? I mean this isn’t even like the whole “Jesus is my homeboy” trucker hat trend. I don’t think these shirts have ever been or will ever be a trend.
As I kept browsing through the store, I came across another item that I’ve looked at a few times before and yet everytime I see it, I have to pick it up and just stop and wonder why anyone would actually buy this. The item in question? Prayer rocks. Basicly they’re just little different colored stones with the word “Pray” written on them. My queston is, what do you do with them? Maybe put one in your pocket as a reminder to pray? Say like when you’re at the grocery store and you need some extra change, so you reach in your pocket to search for the change, but instead you pull out the prayer rock and suddenly you remember, “I forgot to pray today!”….You may not have any change but at least you have your prayer rock! And did I mention thats it’s $3.99 for one of those tiny prayer rocks? Yes, $3.99 for something you could just go outside and pick up off the ground, grab a sharpie, scribble the word “pray” on it, and viola! No need to go spend the extra cash. And of course there’s always “Testamints”. Oh yes, they witness and freshen breath all at the same time!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing christian bookstores. I’m an avid shopper. Ever since I was a kid and my dad would spend hours just browsing books at christian bookstores. My dad’s a pastor so you know if he gets into a christian bookstore he won’t be out of there for at least two hours. There was one that we used to go to when I was a kid, we went there so often the people who worked there knew us pretty well. It was a opera house turned christian bookstore and I always loved the look of it. While my dad shopped for books, I would search for music. It sounds funny but I think I had an emotional attachment to that place because when it closed down it was a little heartbreaking to me. So I’m definitely a fan of christian bookstores…just not the “Jesus junk”.
Recently, my sister was looking to buy a new bible but she quickly become frustrated because the only ones she found were, in her words, “frilly”. She kept telling me she wanted a no frills bible. Just one that said “Holy Bible” across the front. Because you know, now you can get a bible in any color or style you want. Not to metion bible covers…you want camoflouge, rihnstone, fur, zebra print? A christian bookstore is where you’ll find it. Since when did we need even our bible to make a fashion statement?
Sooner or later you realize that all of this material stuff has nothing to do with serving Jesus. It’s easy to get into the “Jesus junk” and totally miss Jesus in the process. Now if prayer rocks, t-shirts, and w.w.j.d bracelets bring you closer to God or help you witness effectivly, than that’s great. God can use anything he wants to, and often he uses things we do not expect or understand. But we have to remember, there are a lot of people out there wearing diamond crosses around their necks and people wearing “Jesus is my homeboy” shirts and caps who have no idea who Jesus really is. They have no idea how much he loves them, no idea that he gave his life for them. Some even sit in the pews every Sunday with “Jesus junk” on them but without Jesus in them. What I’m trying to say is that maybe we need to start living Jesus instead of wearing him or selling him. And finally put the junk in the garbage can.
“Christ will never be cool. Terrifying, life-changing, shocking,
and iconoclastic, but never cool. Jesus is not my homeboy. The Gospel
will always be “relevant” but never trendy.” Jon Foreman of Switchfoot
“S.M.C.” by Project 86
Is there anywhere you can run
To hide from the theives?
Cause eternity’s on sale today for a fee
Our sanctuary of the this high-rise
Oh-don’t forget to buy this t-shirt
As you leave-
And open up the offering box
And give until it hurts
Show me an open heart and we’ll steal it away
Cause eternity’s up for sale for a small fee today
Faith is buying me away
Buying me a way
To convert the masses into little servants
Faith is buying me away
Buying me a way
Buying me into your home (soul)
This altar is a stage
Our sponsor must be paid
And maybe we’ll even make the front page “