Monday, November 08, 2004

Christian Marketing Machine is Killing Kids

**Parental Advisory: This post contains possible sacrilegious material. Reading this is done at your own risk.**

It's true! The machine simply is a business, not some kind of "ministry", that is killing children. They present a Jesus that is part action star and part self-help psychotherapy counselor. That kind of image simply won't hold up. They give a false representation of Jesus and then reality hits and kids realize that Jesus is really calling people to a revolutionary way of living, not to Christian music festivals.

To illustrate my point, here are two t-shirts that Christians can buy

Does anyone actually think that Jesus' pecs were that large? He was a carpenter, not a steroid enhanced world's strongest man competitor! Come on! When Jesus was on the cross, he did not picture your face, nor mine - he was freaking dying the most painful death they could imagine - if you think he was pondering life's mysteries...try pushing a nail through your hands.

How can you be proud to be a Christian? That is like sinning to say that you don't sin anymore!! Who are you that wears this? W.

Further, I quote Mike Yaconelli, from an article called "Youth Ministry Rant" from the March/April 2002 issue of YouthWorker Journal...

Ever have a bad day? Well, I'm having one, so I thought I might start ranting. Dennis Miller does it all the time on HBO, so why can't I? After forty-two years in youth ministry, let's get ready to rant!

Is it just me, or are you tired of seeing grown adults with their hats on backwards?

Am I crazy, or does it bother anyone else that Christian music has an army full of pubescent, immature, dysfunctional little kids giving concerts and telling this generation of young people what Christianity is all about? Isn't it a bit weird to have a fourteen-year-old spiked-haired misfit telling other fourteen-year-olds how to live life when they live it in a tour bus?

Does the world really need Christian T-shirts?

Can’t we think of another word besides "extreme?"

I’m going to go crazy if I hear one more youth group going, "Give me a J; give me an E…"

What is it about the word "fire" that people in youth ministry like so much?

Has anyone seen a tattoo that actually looks good?

Can someone please explain to me what breaking a stack of bricks with your head has to do with Jesus?

Can anyone explain Carmen to me?

Can anyone explain Tulsa to me?

Can anyone explain The Prayer of Jabez musical to me?

What is with this new breed of youth workers who look like MTV clones but act like fundamentalists?

Remind me again why shaking the video camera while filming is cool?

Doesn’t it bother anyone that many older kids drop out, most of whom never to return to church and abandon their faith regardless of what techniques or programs we use?

What is the deal with Christian colleges, anyway? Shouldn’t they be graduating students who are revolutionary, anti-institutional, anti-cultural extremists? Isn’t anyone else upset that most of our Christian colleges are graduating compliant, materialistic, irrelevant students who don’t have a radical bone in their bodies? Who will push the envelope in the generations to come?

Why is it youth groups never go to the opera, art museums, jazz festivals, ballet, modern dance recitals, art shows, poetry readings, professional theatres, or lectures?

Do we really believe it helps young people to tell them that September 11th was actually the beginning of a revival?

Why does youth ministry worship thin, gorgeous, buff, cool, hot, sexy, beautiful people?

Explain to me what a "Christian Festival" is and why we need them?

Why would anyone who understands the Gospel encourage young people to play sports in America?

Why would anyone who understands the Gospel tell young people that God wants them to be winners, all-American, first, and top of the class?

Remind me again why we pray at football games. Does God really care who wins? Or loses?

Why are so many youth ministries concerned with putting on programs no one remembers?

Why do so many youth ministries spend all their time talking about God instead of helping young people experience God?

Do youth ministers really believe that "big" (as in big youth groups, big events) matters to God?

Sometimes I worry that Jesus has left the youth ministry building…and no one’s noticing.

Thank God, kids remember their relationships more than they remember programs.

Thank you, Jesus, that you've always worked through the small, the broken, the powerless.

Thank you, God, that you find a way to chase young people into the Kingdom, in spite of all the frivolous programs, institutional obstacles, and silly youth ministry stuff that often chase young people away.

Thank you, Father, that you tolerate our egos, put up with our neediness, ignore our fascination with what doesn't matter, and still find a way to use us to draw young people into your presence.

Thank you, most of all, that you're a God who’s big enough to even ignore our rants

It's a good ending to that article. You can find it at Hopefully the Christian Marketing Machine kills itself eventually and we can become as good of Christians as our brothers and sisters in Indonesia, China, Russia, Iran...

And that's all I have to say about that.


T said...

Sometimes I worry that Jesus has left the youth ministry building and no one's noticing.

NO DOUBT! Jeez, it's amazing what some people come up with. And I absoultely LOVE the whole, "Jesus is my homeboy" People who have no respect for Jesus where it and I kinda wanna kill them! And the bloody people who made the shirts! Don't they know Jesus was too poor to buy shirts...or anything else! *sigh*

And I totally agree with the whole becoming more like our brother and sisters in countries that ban the Word being distributed or read. i should start praying for them...huh?

Moses said...

james i love're my hero....i really need to start speaking my mind again!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, this guy is totally anti-culture. It's great. Why do we need a Christian festival? Lately my devotions having been talking about the Good Shepherd and the Dumb Sheep. Believe that Jesus is who he says he is. Choose to believe that he is who he says he is. Choose to believe that he cares like he says he cares, the he comforts, that he gives that he leads like he says he will. choose to believe then follow. Don't need a t-shirt, don't need a concert, don't need a program; just follow.

this guy fits. I love it.