Friday, February 22, 2008

Jesus Junk, Holy Hardware, and other Tacky Religious Stuff

A friend of mine just wrote and told me that she was "Googling" important words such as "Quaker," "Easter," and "Silence" and came across my blog post about "Chocolate Crosses." She revealed that she enjoyed tacky religious stuff as much as I did -- and cherished her pack of "Atone-mints."

I began thinking of other tacky religious things I liked -- and the ones which give me pause. The ones I like are the ones that are parodies -- like the "Wash Away Your Sins" personal hygiene line or "Convert to Judaism Breath Spray ("Access over 4000 years of Jewish doctrine with a single spritz of the tongue!"). I gave that last one to my little rabbi brother Aaron -- he said he'd use it when mixed faith couples came to him to be married. No messy conversion needed any more!

Still, the real stuff -- the serious Jesus junk -- is funnier and sadder at the same time. I mean, "What would Jesus do" if he walked into a store and saw this stuff? Armor of God PJs? The Jesus Pan ("Put the image of Jesus RIGHT ON FOOD!") Gone to See Dad t-shirt? Would Jesus laugh -- or cry?

But just when I think we Christians have a corner on truly tasteless religious stuff, Aaron sends me some Jewish junk. Which just makes me wonder all the more -- is religious tackiness just part of the much talked about Judeo-Christian tradition? Do Muslims have really schmaltzy stuff? Or Hindus? Or Buddhists? Or even Wiccans?

As usual, I don't have any answers. Just questions. I do have to wonder, is this -- any of this, from worship to Jesus junk -- anything remotely like He had in mind? My guess is we're sorta, kinda, maybe close on worship -- and pretty far away on the holy hardware side of things.

Well, gotta run. My "Last Supper Wall Clock" is chiming the call to dinner.

-- Brent

Any nominations for really tacky religious stuff you've seen? Post 'em please!


Kathy said...

The "Honk if You Love Cheeses" bumper sticker my daughter gave me a couple of years ago still makes me chuckle. :)

Brent Bill said...

I've got the "Jeez-its" notepad set.

Very cool and very ... well... just let me say they sit in a desk drawer, no where to be seen by the public!

cath said...

I see you've linked to the "Gadgets for God" section of the Ship of Fools (Magazine of Christian Unrest) web site.

Truly, they have one of the best collections of funny or tacky religious-themed items.

Good luck with your own collection. I suspect there is quite a bit of this stuff floating around.


Brent Bill said...

Yes, Ship of Fools is one of my favorite sites. Archie McPhee is another place to find truly tacky stuff -- mostly made tongue-in-cheek. That's where I got my "Fightin' Quaker" puppet. Actually he was "Fightin' Amish" but Nancy made him a black broad brimmed Quaker hat and we "convinced" him to be a Quaker.

cath said...

This has been around for a while, but I gave them away (in the form of bumper stickers) at my sister's baby shower:

"Visualize whirrled peas"


camillofan said...

Just a stranger, passing through, but I must ask-- am I the only one who doesn't like these things? I wouldn't go so far as to say that they're blasphemous (well, not all of them, anyhow), but they definitely make me uncomfortable, as does laughing at them (in either a superior or a complicit way). This is despite having what I like to think is something of a sense of humor.

Maybe I'm bothered because the sincere religious junk (e.g., a talking Jesus action figure) is an embarrassment, while the ironic stuff (like the Jesus Pan?) shows that the world understands too well the foibles of the faithful. (I'll add that for the sake of this discussion, I'm counting myself among the faithful.)

I do wonder what Jesus thinks-- probably that I should worry more about feeding the poor than about defending his honor regarding religious tchokes.