I just received a religious Christmas catalog in the mail and I need to vent. Perhaps you already know how I cringe at faux products. If not, you can read a few posts here. Fakes, posers, wannabes, simulations - none of these make sense to me, especially when it comes to Christianity and marketing.
My first complaint is about the products themselves and those who consume them, and the second is about the advertisers who promote them.
1. Buy pagan gifts "faux" your family this Christmas!
Item A: "Nemo finds Jesus." (OK, "Kingdom Under the Sea")
My rantings: What's wrong with the movie "Finding Nemo"? And why pick an orange clownfish and not any of the other millions of creatures in the sea? And why is the evil character in this take-off video series called Krakken? Granted, Kraken (with one fewer "k") has been around for several centuries as a giant marine creature who wrecks ships and all, but did someone just happen to watch "Pirates of the Caribbean" the night before and decide to go on a venture by adding a "k"? By the way, my seven year old just walked into my office and asked what I was doing. I told her and she said, "So, it's like somebody erased the words 'Finding Nemo' and wrote 'Kingdom Under the Sea'?" I'd say that's pretty close.
Item B: Bratz (No, wait, I mean God's Girlz. The "z" threw me off.)
Item C: GoBible
My rantings: I have no problem with listening to the Bible on headphones, but besides the product design between the GoBible and the iPod being overly similar, you could save $100 by downloading the same content straight to your iPod. AND watch Pirates (or a better Johnny Depp movie like "Chocolat").
Item D: Guitar Praise
My rantings: So you don't want youth group kids singing the handful of questionable tunes on Guitar Hero. Great. But do you have to create completely separate content? Hasn't this been a criticism of CCM over the years? We know there's plenty of beneficial secular music and plenty of theologically shaky religious music out there. What would be wrong with a sacred/secular mix that would benefit and challenge listeners rather than cordon them off from the rest of the world? Besides, if youth leaders have been so willing to bring in the bad already, wouldn't they be even more willing to bring in the thoughtful?
Now you know a few items I won't be buying this Christmas. Please recognize how thoughtless these kitchy knock-offs are. As you do, I hope you'll give the companies your opinion by contacting them or at least by refraining from supporting them with your money.
Now for my second venting point.
2. Frank Lloyd Wright called - he wants his creativity back.
OK, I'm being a tad mean. But marketers, c'mon. If this is all you can do as an employee for the Kingdom, you need to enter another line of work. Creativity is a gift and ought to be used as a reflection of God's own creativity. When you mimic what's already been made, you commit two violations. First, you steal from another's work. That's bad enough. And second, you tell the world that Christians don't have an innovative bone in their bodies. Think about it: This type of activity declares that growth in the faith is best achieved by following whatever secular practices gather fans, and then adopting those practices. That isn't creativity. It's a statement that non-Christians have nothing good regarding content but everything good regarding form.
We need a new approach for sure.