holy ghetto

Posted: November 6th, 2009 | Filed under: life | 17 Comments »

Why is it that the Christian world needs to copy the Non’s and make their own version of things? The copycats are cheap, poorly put together and embarrassing. If you critique the market at all, they think they’re doing something right and they up the cheese factor.

There’s a company who sells complete ‘cool Christian’ outfits. From the shoes, the wrist sweatband, the dog-tags to the baseball cap, you can look like a Christian knock-off of K-Fed. T-shirts are advertised as ‘bold’ with graphics mimicking everyone in the department store from Affliction to Ed Hardy. By ‘bold’, I’m not sure if they mean their ‘extreme’ graphics or the words sprawled across the front on the shirts. There is one that can be seen at least four stores down in a mall hallway that reads, ‘I killed Jesus.’ I’m sure you can get a thumbs up from the other guy wearing the t-shirt that looks like it has smeared blood spelling out ‘Washed by his blood.’

I’m not trying to be a butt for the sake of being a butt. I just don’t know who these products are for, because they’re not for the Non’s. The Non’s think they’re socially inept. It’s just another way for you to divide yourselves off into a secluded section of existence.

Who gains the most by maneuvering Christians out of society by making them look like ridiculous posers and giving them alternate ways to interact with each other without entering the rest of the world? Who gets to lick the icing off the cake when those people slap high fives and use Christianese to communicate their gratitude for successfully removing themselves from the ‘fellowship’ of ‘the world’ and are just enjoying the ‘blessings’ of one another? I heard the term ‘Christian Ghetto’ recently. Perfect.

What the unbelieving world finds off-putting is the severe level of detachment from reality that they see inthose who wander out of the Christian Warehouses. Any market knows that if you put the ‘JC’ brand on a pack of breath mints, they’ll sell like hot cakes on the Trinket Jesus store front. Anyone who refuses to turn the Gospel into anΒ outdated graphic slapped on the cheapest surface available will be bombarded by hoards trying to prove their Kingdom worth with their vinyl suits and microphone breath. Christians have earned the appearance of sweaty pre-pubescents wearing cheap and awkwardly bedazzled Cliche Costumes thinking nobody notices. Then they think it’s their ‘Jesus glow’ that makes people ask them why they stand out.

I need to go iron my ‘Abreadcrumb & Fish’ t-shirt and play with my bobble-head Jesus and BibleMan action figure while I search for the Christian alternative to Ray LaMontagne and figure out how to market my handcrafted ‘The Shack’ air fresheners.


17 Comments on “holy ghetto”

  1. 1 Annah said at 7:20 am on November 6th, 2009:

    Right on! I've thought the same thing before, without being able to know how to express it so well. For example, there are some really great bands out there who make Christian music; there are so many more who copy-by-numbers what is in the mainstream, interchanging the words "Jesus" for "girlfriend" or whatever, and I've never really been able to put my finger on why that bothered me so bad. "Christian Ghetto" is my new explanation. And I totally laughed at "Abreadcrumb and Fish" – I really hope you just made that up.

  2. 2 Becky said at 7:24 am on November 6th, 2009:

    Very well said! I remember when the "testamints" came out… I was working at a well known christian bookstore and of course we had to start selling them. I couldn't bring myself to even tell people we had them!

  3. 3 Serena Woods said at 7:35 am on November 6th, 2009:

    Annah, I did not make that up. Sadly. There's a whole kiosk full of that stuff in my local mall.

    Where's Waldo{ish} saying "Once I was lost, but now I'm found.'

    Twitter themed: 'Jesus FOLLOWER'

    The AIDS research foundation has been copied by a shirt that says 'My only hope is found in the (RED)Letters'

    Back to the Future graphic has been used to make: 'He's coming back in the future.'

    I could go on….

    Becky, I've seen those things! The scripture they use for marketing is: 'Thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus….' R10:9

    I've also seen Tangy Tarts Scripture Candy, Bible Verse Butter Mints, Bible Verse Fortune Cookies, Harvest Seeds Scripture Candy Corn, and Religious Bubble Gum Coins.

  4. 4 April said at 7:36 am on November 6th, 2009:

    There is a Christian brand store in our mall here in VA. Not of this world brand t-shirts, etc… I was wondering through the mall, husband was out to sea for 6 mos. I had kids in tow, one was screaming his head off. I was lacking sleep and makeup. I walked in this store. A guy that was behind the counter approached me and asked our names. He asked if he could pray for us. He prayed in the middle of the store.. anyone walking by could see.. he said each of our names. It was amazing. I know most of the stuff is cheesy… but wow, that is the best memory I have of a stranger caring for me, a stranger taking a chance. They also have a wall where you can walk in a put a prayer request … it's always full. They pray daily. It's my favorite spot in the mall.

  5. 5 Serena Woods said at 7:42 am on November 6th, 2009:

    That's really sweet, April.

  6. 6 Michelle said at 7:43 am on November 6th, 2009:

    This post reminds me of an incident,that happened a few months ago.

    I was running a cash register at the store and

    I had to deal with this extreemly rude and foul mouthed customer.

    After ringing up his order,I noticed that he was wearing a "What would Jesus Do?"


  7. 7 Serena Woods said at 7:49 am on November 6th, 2009:

    Michelle, that's why I don't wear those shirts. πŸ˜‰

  8. 8 Mandie said at 7:51 am on November 6th, 2009:

    Love it, Serena. This is so true (and unfortunately, annoying!).

  9. 9 Justin said at 8:22 am on November 6th, 2009:

    For years I travelled with a Christian band. One of my favorite memories is an event for college/high school kids. It was a rowdy crowd until we started bringing in some worship music and getting more serious. There was a point at the end where some of the kids just lost and none more than this cool tough college guy on the front row. I noticed him crying and really having a rough time but did not notice the shirt he was wearing until the singer turned to me at the drums laughing and begging me to look. With his hands raised and tears streaming down his face I got a good look at his shirt that read Pimpercrombie and Bitch. If that shirt would have said Abreadcrumb and Fish I would have never noticed him. Not because his shirt was better but because he wasn't a part of the club who stir up false emotion to ensure there place at the front of the altar. He was one of the few people of thousands that I saw over the years with a legitimate hunger for something real. Here I am 10 years later and I think about that kid often.

  10. 10 Serena Woods said at 8:33 am on November 6th, 2009:

    Justin, I love that that visual has stuck with you more than the typical view you usually had. Not to say that 'insiders' are less authentic, but this picture is somehow so much sweeter and more refreshing.

  11. 11 Serena Woods said at 8:35 am on November 6th, 2009:

    Mandie, I get sick to my stomach when I see the roar of the Lion of Judah being displayed in a Beanie Baby market. It sucks the power out of the truth as it turns into a fad headed toward a cliche.

  12. 12 Sisterlisa said at 9:33 am on November 6th, 2009:

    I understand your heart here Serena. The outside fluff of churchianity is being burned in God's fire and he is looking for the gold.

  13. 13 Larry said at 9:57 am on November 6th, 2009:

    I always cringe when I see someone wearing one of THOSE shirts. Eventually I know there will be an action or attitude coming from that shirt which completely contradicts what the shirt says. And usually, it happens. How is that different from covering ourselves with dust, looking gaunt with hunger, and standing on the street corner praying loudly? Oh, wait…. that was the Pharisees…. I forgot….

  14. 14 April said at 6:56 pm on November 7th, 2009:

    Serena, you said… "it sucks the power out of the truth as it turns into a fad…" yes, it does.

    I had to laugh today. I was sitting in traffic behind a woman in a tiny car packed with stuff as if they were moving. She was yelling at the person sitting next to her… they were clearly fighting and her anger was animated with arms flying and facial expressions making it obvious to anyone. It was intense… then I notice it… on the back of her car was one of those fish with a cross on it~ I just had to laugh.

  15. 15 Sisterlisa said at 4:29 pm on November 8th, 2009:

    oh boy April. It's amazing isn't it? I heard yesterday, a woman tell me how shocked and grieved she was to see a local ministry founder belittle and degrade a man in his very own program. She started sobbing right in front of me.

    The world needs to see the genuine Christians and they will as the darkness grows blacker. There is a stark contrast between the fluffy Christians who react in the flesh and the genuine Christians who respond with love. That is when the people will know who really follows Christ our Lord.

  16. 16 Sarah Mae said at 4:31 pm on November 8th, 2009:

    "Mandie, I get sick to my stomach when I see the roar of the Lion of Judah being displayed in a Beanie Baby market. It sucks the power out of the truth as it turns into a fad headed toward a cliche."

    Me too.

    Ever read "Addicted to Mediocrity" by franky schaeffer?

  17. 17 Serena Woods said at 5:24 pm on November 8th, 2009:

    I used to live in DC and there was a lady driving a car with a bumper sticker that read, 'Honk if you love Jesus.' So I honked… then she flipped me off. It made me laugh, I guess the sticker was on the car when she bought it? πŸ˜‰

    Sarah Mae, I haven't read it…. I should look it up, huh?