Ok, so I began today with one thought in mind but had it completely changed as God spoke to me over something I saw today. But have no fear because I will come back to my original post in due time. However, this was startling when you take a step back from the Christian culture I have been discussing.
Today, as I am driving in my truck, I drive by this parked van in a parking spot. I notice a bumper sticker on the back of this van. The bumper sticker reads "Jesus is coming, RUE?" This totally did not click with me, so I did what anybody that was interested would do. I googled it. Come to find out the E was red on the bumper sticker, which in hindsight is correct. So here is what that bumper sticker says, "Jesus is come, R (are) U (you) E (red E - READY)?" That is definitely not close to anything I could figure out. This precludes something that has been started by us as Christians.
If you are reading this and you have a "red E" bumper sticker, I am in no way claiming that it is wrong to have that. What I am saying is you have succumbed to the new era of Christian merchandise lines. Everything from apparel to bumper stickers has started this. "What is it?", you ask. It is this new method of releasing things that requires a Christian inside knowledge to understand. What do I mean? Think about the Christian fish. I wish I had a number for how many people had these little silver medallions on the back of their cars. However, what is the purpose of these items? When we have items that others outside of our faith do not understand, we aren't really outreaching to them. The problem has become that we want to show off our faith, but not be too bold. In doing this we figure out ways to show our faith to the point where other Christians will see our strong shows but non-Christians will not be offended or really understand what is going on.
These are not the only examples. I found a site with many of these at this site. All of these show how we have more and more become dependant on these shows of faith. I am in no way saying they are bad. I am also not saying that you should have the entire Romans Road put on back of your car with a vinyl overlay. What I think would be the right choice would be to find a happy medium.
Some of these shirts are good. They have an underlying meaning but still shows your faith to everyone. These kind of shirts (such as the Jesus died for myspace in heaven) allow you to demonstrate a love for Jesus while leaving a little open. It leaves the possibility for someone to come to you and ask, "How did he do that?" My only prayer is that whatever you do decide is you method of outreach in the sense of Jesus merchandise, I want us to be able to share His love and passion for others. Let's not get caught up in the "Jesus is my homeboy" style and remember that we don't want to overly dumb it down. Let's remember that this is the same person that went on that cross and died for our sins.
Please help me in this message. Before you get some "Jesus merch," think about the impact you can have with that. Mark 4:1-9 tells us about the sower of seeds. Jesus tells us to sow our seeds on the fertile ground but to spread them everywhere. I believe that if we can use all possible resources than we are increasing the seeds we sow, and as Jesus said, that will increase our chances of finding soft hearts and open souls. So I encourage you to use you "Jesus merch" to be a light unto this world and to truly scatter seeds more than you are already. Your shirt may introduce and idea that someone else gets to explain, as long as the person on the other end can understand the message and see Jesus in your life.