Thinking Out Loud

December 13, 2012

The Wonderful World of CT

A couple of interesting goings-on at Christianity Today (CT) this week.

First, there was the piece, Should Churches Discourage Belief in Santa Claus? This is one of those pieces where they simply ask a handful of experts and then arrange their answers on a spectrum, which one expects in this case would run from ‘no’ to ‘yes.’  I had actually seen this when it appeared online and given it the requisite 10-seconds I needed to digest it.

But the I listened Tuesday night to The Phil Vischer Podcast #29, and Phil mentioned that he had been quoted:

“The notion of getting back to a ‘pure Christmas’ is misfounded; the holiday was a hodgepodge from the beginning. We should take those fun Santa traditions and link them back to St. Nicholas rather than getting rid of the fun part of Christmas and stick with the somber part.”
~ Phil Vischer, creator, VeggieTales and What’s in the Bible?

And so had Wheaton College associate professor Mary ‘Scottie’ May who teaches Christian Education and Family Ministry:

“The key word is belief. Emulating Saint Nick is awesome, but I have problems with parents duping their children into believing that Santa exists. A church could acknowledge in a family context the historical person of St. Nicholas. But the figure the culture has created does not belong in church.”
~ Scottie May, professor, Wheaton College

And then he dropped this: Scottie is Phil’s mom.

And the reporter didn’t know.

And neither interviewee knew the other had been interviewed.

And — yes there’s another and — they were quoted at opposite ends of the five-answer continuum even though their answers were very similar if not identical. (Podcast subject begins around 11:30 to about 13:30)

…Meanwhile, over at her.meneutics, the Christianity Today women’s blog, profiles OMG Tees, a product line described as “spiritual and sexy.”

I thought of including the picture that they did, but that would just be gratuitous. We would never do that here.

OMG Tees 1

Okay, too late. But not to worry; some people don’t scroll down this far.  Writer Michelle Van Loon notes:

OMG has created a line of casual tanks and tees designed for Saturday night parties and Sunday morning worship. Founded in 2010, the California company’s website features teen models giving the camera their best PG-13 “come hither” looks, often wearing little more than tees and tanks splashed with slogans like “A Date With J.C.”, “God Knows My Secrets,” and “Worship Crew.” Who knows? Perhaps the “come hither” is intended to be a non-verbal evangelistic tool.

There have been at least two generations of the Christian T-Shirt–the derivative-yet-earnest variety and the darkly ironic–but OMG has created a brand-new category: Sexy ‘n Spiritual. Christians have a long, ignoble history of trading in all manner of religious tchotchkes, but OMG, with its Second Commandment-bending name, takes this bad habit of ours in a new direction, with its products’ odd syncretism between pop religion and hyper-sexualized pop culture.

She then uses this as a springboard to discuss what she calls ‘fan behavior’ recalling the premise of Kyle Idleman’s popular Christian book, Not a Fan which we reviewed here in May.

She concludes:

I doubt that the Christians who are suiting up for this year’s round of court battles on behalf of their local town hall’s manger scene see themselves as kindred spirits with companies like OMG. I think they have one thing in common: They both appeal to the fans of Team Jesus. It might just be time to quit the team, and follow the captain instead.

…Because we’re considered a more progressive blog by some, I thought I’d toss in an extra gratuitous picture; however please keep in mind that (a) this is for educational purposes only, and (b) honestly, this is the only other picture at the site I considered remotely safe; the others being a sequence of pics that begin on a church platform and end with the same three girls lying on a bed together. And no, I am not making that up; the rest of the stuff is mildly pornographic, and the “Princess of Peace” product line is equally blasphemous.

OMG Tees 2

…All of this begs the question as to whether or not we need CT to bring us these articles or if we would be better served by them simply taking an online pass if it’s a slow evangelical news day.

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4 Comments »

  1. Many of the <3OMG items would be perfectly harmless if worn with a pair of pants. The presentation emulates the culture much more than the products that are for sell. (I am the only one bothered by the guitar not being plugged in? Probably just me.)

    Comment by Clark Bunch — December 13, 2012 @ 8:27 am

    • The one time I watched the video on which the still photos are based, I wondered if the models had ever actually been inside a church, let alone whether the microphone or guitars were live, which they almost certainly weren’t.

      I would be more interested in Scottie May’s take on this parenting issue than her opinions about Santa Claus.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — December 13, 2012 @ 9:24 am

      • I tried twice to comment on Santa Claus and it kept getting away from me. I don’t try to explain to my three year old that Elmo is a puppet. Ever told a 6 month old that the airplane was coming in for a landing while shoving strained carrots into her mouth? Is that duping a child into a false belief system? I think Santa Claus can be a fun and imaginative activity, and when your child is old enough to ask good questions – or argues with you – it’s time to let it go.

        Comment by Clark Bunch — December 13, 2012 @ 10:58 am

  2. I appreciate you bringing these things to light. I already knew that the American Church is really messed up, this just re-affirms my belief. I actually went to the sight, and saw the video (part of it through the slits of my fingers, as I tried to avoid some of the more pornographic poses). I honestly think these kinds of companies are not Christian, but merely appealing to Christians as a marketing demographic. Could be wrong, hope not, because if OMG is Christian, then I need to re-consider what to call myself as a follower of Christ.

    Comment by J. Randall Stewart — December 14, 2012 @ 2:15 pm


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