Friday, September 29, 2006

Team Moroni

Last night my brother and I were at the TCU/BYU football game. Because an old friend and teammate of ours is an assistant coach for BYU, we sat with their fans during the game and mingled with them waiting for him after the game. (As a side note, this was really hard for me, having played football at UTEP in the old WAC with BYU!). I happened to notice a guy wearing a shirt with a similar pattern as the Nike Swoosh with the phrase "Team Moroni". I have to say, my initial reaction was one of "that's funny!" But then I realized, and even said to my brother, "that's probably what non-Christians think of our goofy t-shirts."

Have we sold out to merchandising theology or what? So called "christian" gear is a huge industry now (think "WWJD", "Prayer of Jabez" stuff, t-shirts and so on--googling these brought up millions of websites hawking the gear, everything from shirts, hats, beanies, backpacks, hacky sacks, flip-flops, bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, nose rings, and on and on, ad nauseam). Of course my favorite is the WWJD offering at Landover Baptist, a parody website.

We deserve to be parodied! I cannot imagine any scenario by which Jesus would be happy about us hawking wares with pithy slogans of shallow theology.


Victor said...

Yeah! Can you imagine Che Guevara's reaction if he only knew how his now famous silhouette has been feeding the great capitalistic mchine?

You are right, mi hermano! Perhaps shallow theology deserves shallow slogans ... but, what people don't seem to remember is that those who had great impact and influence wrote their "slogans" in their sweat, blood, and sacrifice! "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." The power of a "slogan" is not in its cleverness or catchiness, but in the life that bore it.

Colin Lamm said...

On top of these concerns what about the "Jesus", "Fish" bumper stickers. How many times have you been cut-off by one of them while travelling down the highway?

I know of a pastor who removed his from his vehicle because of his struggle with road rage.

But more than this I do see your point. In an age of spin, sound-bites, and sloganeering we cheapen the gospel by marketing a plastic Jesus (and theology), all the while filling our greedy pockets and causing people to blaspheme the very name (theology) we claim to esteem.

Arnie Adkison said...

Colin, I have no fish on my car, but I still I hope I haven't ever cut you off! Probably not much of a chance if you live in Canada.

"Sound bites"--probably nothing marks our times in the US (and I would assume Canada too) like the emphasis on good (or bad) sound bites. I'm guilty too. As the Chief Development and Marketing Officer for a little university I'm always trying to make sure my president says the right sound bites, and avoids the wrong ones.

How would Jesus have lived in a sound bite culture? Victor, could Che Guevara succeeded in a sound bite culture, or your hero Martin Luther? How would CNN have posted those 95 theses? "This just in from Wittenburg, German monk says 'hell no, I won't go" to pope?"

I guess the key for proper balance is to give the proper truth answer, and let the media figure out their own sound bites?