God money I’ll do anything for you….
At booths all around his at the festival last month, 91 other vendors spread their wares, mostly Christian CD’s, T-shirts and hats (the ones reading “I Love Christian Boys” seemed to be the most popular), in a sprawling bazaar that was part mall, part invitation to witness. The tents cleared only for twice-daily sermons.
“I travel to all the festivals, dozens of them, all summer long, then I do smaller events in California during winter,” Mr. Lula said, standing over T-shirts that read, “Hardcore Christian,” “Hetero-Boy” and “Religion Is Dead. Jesus Is Not.” He said he was not simply selling concert souvenirs. “I feel I’m getting the word of God out,” he said.
T-shirts screamed or punned for attention. One shirt declared, “Body Piercing Saved My Life,” and showed a hand with a nail through it. Other brisk-sellers said “Jesus Freak” or mimicked the Mountain Dew advertising logo, tweaking the slogan to read, “Do the Jew,” meaning to emulate Jesus. Booths promoted Christian colleges, foreign missions and a DVD player that skips over racy material in movies.
Irreverent and trend-driven, the goods reflect what is happening in Protestant churches, where people are leaving formal, tradition-steeped denominations in favor of independent, informal but theologically conservative churches. As many young Christians are pursuing faith outside the church, in rock bands or free-floating ministries, they are also seeking wares outside established Christian markets.
Thus we have the umpteenth iteration of making Jesus “cool” that the media will promote as a “youthquake” or whatever, and then nothing will come of it…until the next youth piety sighting.