Accessorizing the Christian Life: What Would [Can] Jesus Sell?

Emily ran across an article in the LA Times about a new ‘Christian’ perfume called ‘Virtuous Woman.’  The article is entitled “What Would Jesus Sell?” The main gist of the  column is about a new perfume that is hopefully “enticing enough to provoke questions: ‘What’s that you’re wearing?'”  And then low-and-behold you have a golden opportunity to share your faith (or explain why you were faith motivated products depending on who is doing the asking).

Though the article is about what Jesus would sell, that seems hardly the question anyone’s asking.  The real question seems to be “What Would Can Jesus Sell?”

We are all familiar with these Christian products, and I’m sure we all have stories about them.  I used to work at a Christian bookstore called Berean when I was in college.  I have to be honest with you, when I quit it was mainly because I couldn’t stomach all the  commodification of Jesus and the Gospel.  Though I too had a favorite, “testamints,” little square mints with crosses in them (they were tasty).  Tons of Jesus-products are available, as the article explains, “books, CD’s, greeting cards, inspirational artwork, stuffed animals wearing Jesus Love You” T-shirts.”   I can’t help but cringe a little.

I realize that capitalism finds “needs” and fills them with products and services, but I think Christians should really try to contain themselves from making “Christian” everythings.  Why need to focus our energy on being authentic people, who love others, and lay down our lives regularly, this lifestyle will give us plenty of opportunity to share the Gospel.

Emily also reminded me what Christian accessories really are: food and water.

Here’s how it goes in Matthew 10:8-15,

“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.

“Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.

“When you enter a town or village, don’t insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave.

“When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now.

Image “you are the equipment” – Jesus that’s not going to make a lot of sales this year.