About this time each year, I traditionally include my "bad burrito column," highlighting questionable Christian products and marketing from the year — perhaps inspired in the middle of the night, not by insight, but by indigestion.
It's subjective — one person's bad burrito is another individual's way of displaying faith.
Take pirates, for example. Where some would see the fun in Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean, Veggie-Tales' "Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" or even Cap'n Crunch, others think of vicious thieves.
The "International Talk Like a Pirate Day" — the Baptist church I attend co-hosted with the Methodist church across the street — seemed like a fun idea. It featured a bounce house, games, face painting, a costume contest and food (but no looting).
When the local paper reported the event, some online comments applauded it as creative, while others wondered what church leaders were thinking by glorifying such a ruthless profession.
Consider MyDunkTank.com, described as "online fundraising for fun people." While there is nothing wrong with innovative ideas to achieve a goal, it also perpetuates shaved heads and kissed pigs that have fueled many a high-attendance Sunday and raised many an eyebrow of non-church attendees.
With that in mind, here are nominations for my Sixth Annual Bad Burrito Awards.
Church: The Episcopal brethren win an award this year as Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh celebrated Eucharist last month with a decidedly different theme. Seusscharist, anyone? See pictures and download a PDF at calvarypgh.org.
And thanks to an Ohio Episcopalian priest, word came about Barbie's being ordained to the priesthood with a master of divinity degree, a wardrobe and her own Facebook page (tinyurl.com/ReverendBarbie).
Need a song for your children’s choir? Why not the Crazy Praize chorus, “I Think I’m Going to Throw Up (My Hands to the Lord)” (tinyurl.com/thinkup)?
Or for a funeral, why just purchase a generic funeral spray when you can buy one complete with red roses, delicate baby's breath and a small telephone next to the simple message, "Jesus called" (tinyurl.com/JesusCalled)?
Bible: Can't attend a worship service? Zondervan (zondervan.com) may bless you instead with their burrito award-winning Super Heroes Bible that includes "40 eye-catching full-page portraits of Bible characters." Or just use a "Jesus Is My Super Hero" bookmark (christianbook.com) in your own translation.
Business: While you may use your Bible to grow in faith, Reuters reported this month on Zion Oil and Gas that has searched for oil in the Holy Land for a decade by using a map of the 12 tribes of Israel and Scripture to determine sites (link.reuters.com/ked94q).
Shopping: If you are going to splurge on gifts, why not witness at the mall with a Lookin' Good for Jesus shopping bag (tinyurl.com/GoodTote), touting the words "king-sized tote" next to a picture of Jesus?
Fashion and technology: Two years ago, an iPod Shuffle that doubled as a cross was noted. This year, USB flash drives that double as crosses have sprouted up in various forms. The supplier site Alibaba (tinyurl.com/USBcrosses) showcases a variety in wood, metal, crystal and bejeweled.
For your down time at home to feast on football, don't get the trendy Snuggie when, for a $150 donation, you can get a victory prayer shawl from Victory Temple Church in Lenoir City, Tenn. (woodymartin.org/prayershawl.htm).
You also may want to buy a Threat Alert Jesus t-shirt or figurine (threatalertjesus.com), soon to be released as an iPod app, tuned into Homeland Security. Your instructions: "When it turns red — get under the bed!" (Take a burrito with you.)
Fun for the kids: What's a traditional church picnic without a sack race? And what is a church sack race without Oriental Trading's "Leap for the Lord" sack (tinyurl.com/LeapLord)? The winner can be rewarded with "Walking with Jesus" gummy sandals (tinyurl.com/gummysandals) — and a couple more burritos.
So whether you are into pirates, Dr. Seuss, fashion or Barbie, keep in mind: Burrito is in the eye of the beholder.