Yesterday’s blog entries on “Glory Golf balls” (see here and here) represent only the tip of the Christian retailing iceberg. There is a tonne of “Jesus Junk” available in local Christian book stores and online. Some of it is sincere, while some is obviously tongue-in-cheek. This will be the first in a series of blog entries on “Jesus Junk and Christian Kitsch.” In this first one I will highlight some of what I consider some of the “classic” food products.
These are classic “Jesus Junk.” These are available in Wintergreen, Spearmint, Peppermint and sport a Scripture verse on each wrapper. The distributor’s web page suggests that you “place on a desk to surprise a friend or co-worker” among other things. These are meant to be sincere witnessing products. They also sell “Scripture Bars” which are chocolate bars with Bible verses on the wrappers, as well as “Testamints Gum.”
Another classic, these all-natural nutritional bars are made from the list of foods that are called good in Deuteronomy 8:7-8: “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey.” According to one distributor,
Each bar is bursting with God-given nutrients: protein, monounsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients, and fiber. But yet, it is so much more than just a health bar. God obviously had some very important reasons for linking these seven foods to the Promised Land. Therefore, when you eat a Bible Bar, you are consuming seven foods that God called good and in a form that is easy and convenient to use.
Now, not that I want to be picky, but if you are going to base your recipe on God’s word, then I think you should have it right! The main advertised ingredients of these “Bible Bars” are wheat, barley, raisins, figs, pomegranates, olive oil, and honey. Taking “vines” as raisins is a bit of a stretch since גֶ֥פֶן typically refers to grapes or grape-bearing vines. Raisins would be referred to as צִמֻּקִ֖ים Moreover, an examination of the ingredients, you will also discover that in addition to these seven foods, they also include brown rice syrup, brown rice, almond butter, raspberry fruit powder, and sea salt! Sounds to me like they are on a slippery slope! Logia, the manufacturer, also makes other tasty snacks by the names of “Abraham’s Bosom Sunflower Bar,” “Rachel’s Delight Sesame Honey Bar,” ” King David’s Treat Cranberry Nut Bar,” among others.
Witness in two languages while blowing bubbles! A pouch of this classic Christian treat consists of two pieces of gum with a small card containing a Bible question on one side and the answer on the other side, as well as where to locate it in the Bible. Cards are printed in English and Spanish. According to its manufacturer,
Bible Gum stimulates, promotes, and reinforces interest in the Bible regardless of religious upbringing. “The Bible is for everyone!” Bible Gum, in it’s non-threatening, non-judgmental format, is a wonderful way to introduce the “scripturally threatened” individual to one of humanity’s most powerful and revered historical and spiritual compiling. Bible Gum “breaks the ice.”
Make sure to get yours today!
What should we make of these examples of Christian kitsch? Well, on the one hand these products appear to be well-meaning attempts to witness to people, akin to Bible tracts. Of course, if you have problems with tracts, then you will have the same problems with this sort of stuff. Perhaps more disturbing how they represent a trivialization and commercialization of the faith. That being said, Christian retailing is big business with sales exceeding three billion dollars annually in the U.S. People are buying this stuff!