Jesus On Beer Mug, Jesus on T-Shirt, Jesus Bobble-Head.

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In my new book, “The Culturally Savvy Christian,” (arrives in March 2007), I take some shots at the elevation of marketing over the art, ideas and substance of the products themselves.

I make special note of the trivializing effect of Jesus T-Shirts etc. In a few weeks (October 2) at “The Kindlings Muse” live at Hales Ales & Brewery, we’ll do a show on “Retailing God: Knock off Jesus T’s & High End Vox Sacra”with Vox Sacra creator Shawn McNally. Vox Sacra is a high fashion, aesthetically pleasing introduction of the spiritual in fashion.

Choosing the right cover for my book was a challenge, because I didn’t want the cover to violate the principles we’re trying to establish in the book. The one we choose is posted above (and to the right). Ironically it features Jesus on a…a….a…OK. It features Jesus on a T-Shirt.

Next is one we rejected, but the bobble-head Jesus got a lot of votes from 20-somethings when polled.
CWBobbleHead Jesus.jpg

This all came to mind when I read the article about a new ad campaign with a “find-Jesus-in-the-mug-of-beer campaign. Picture, then article below.
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ANGER OVER CHURCH ADVERT WHICH PUTS JESUS’ FACE ON BEER GLASS

Can you spot Jesus’s face on this empty pint glass? An advertisement featuring the face of Jesus as a ‘miraculous’ apparition on a beer glass has caused anger among critics who say it undermines anti-binge drinking campaigns.

The image of Jesus in the froth left on the sides of an almost empty pint glass next to the words ‘Where will you find him?’ will spearhead the Churches’ Advertising Network (CAN) festive campaign to encourage church-going this Christmas.

The poster makes reference to the worldwide trend for finding holy images in everyday objects from the face of Jesus in a frying pan, to Christ on a fish finger, the Virgin Mary on a toasted cheese sandwich and even Mother Teresa in a cinnamon bun.

The creators of the new poster said it was aimed at provoking “thought and debate” among young people about where and how people find God. It would be accompanied by a series of radio advertisements in which young people talk about their spiritual beliefs.

But the Rev Tom Allen, a ‘mission priest’ who works with young people criticised the message the image was giving out: “On the day when a Government commissioned report suggests that rather focus on drugs education, schools and youth work bodies should be educating young people about drink, CAN launch this particularly obtuse poster,” he said on his website.

However, CAN chairman Francis Goodwin said he hoped the poster and radio advertisements would spark a debate about God.
The campaign will use the youth forum website myspace.com to encourage discussion. He said: “The message is subtle but simple – where is God in all the boozing at Christmas? “For many, Christmas is just drinking and partying and God is excluded, yet many young people are interested in finding deeper meaning and exploring faith. “We hope the link to myspace will offer another venue for them to discuss their feelings and debate the issues.”

The image of Jesus on a beer glass is the latest in a series of controversial images created for CAN, a group of Christians of all denominations working in the media and advertising.

Previous campaigns include a poster depicting Jesus as the revolutionary leader Che Guevara and one suggesting Mary was having a “bad hair day” when she discovered she was pregnant…

SOOOO. What are we to make of the “Jesus In Beer Mug, Jesus on T-Shirt, Jesus Bobble-Head” phenomena? The incarnation means Jesus has gotten in our human messiness. The forces of commercialization mean Jesus has gotten in the marketing messiness. Is there a difference between those who use Jesus image to sell stuff and those who use Jesus image to draw attention ot Jesus? That is the question.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in September 15, 2006 by | 1 Comment »

    One Response to Jesus On Beer Mug, Jesus on T-Shirt, Jesus Bobble-Head.

    1. Alec Shelbrooke & Northern Island | Edinburgh Eye on December 20, 2012 at 8:37 am

      […] Just goes to show the level of debate, doesn’t it? […]

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