I call it the bad burrito syndrome.
Perhaps you have experienced it: something you ate at supper didn’t agree with you, waking you up in the middle of the night. While half-asleep, you become inspired by an idea and quickly write it down. When those notes are legible and you don’t take the time to bounce your idea off family or friends, that’s when it happens.
I suspect bad burrito syndrome is probably behind the inspiration for many religious products.
USA Today ran an article last month about the popularity of inverted Christmas trees.
An upside-down tree is a fitting place for some of these religious products that are actually sold, no kidding, in stores and on the Internet:
Bobble head. What is it about fame that makes people want to put your head on a spring? Now you can put Jesus alongside your favorite ball player. For your Catholic friends, you can also purchase a Bobble Head Virgin Mary.
Charismatic t-shirts. Take pride in wearing designer t-shirts with phrases such as "A-Nin-Di-O-She" in 11 “prophetic inspired" colors. Serious, or satire? (Sorry, an accompanying interpretation shirt is not included.)
Smoking stopper. If you are tired of that person that continually fouls the air with their smoking, get them the ashtray with an image of Jesus and the phrase, "Jesus hates it when you smoke." Or get a Jesus air freshener.
Children’s toys. Why subject your child to harmful ideas from playing with toy guns and fighting turtles when they can have an action figure based on a favorite Bible character, such as Samson or Moses? Even better, get a 12" Jesus that quotes the Ten Commandments or other heroes of the faith that quote easy-to-memorize Scripture verses.
Jesus meets Santa. Although not a new product, a picture or musical figurine of Santa weeping over the Baby Jesus (or the American flag) can inspire you to put the "Santa" back into "Christmas." Hmm, wait a minute….
"Doctor J." With basketball season in full swing, it’s the perfect time to display a statue of Jesus playing hoops with the kids, along with a front plate that says "Jesus is my coach."
Sweet! With a reminder that "an idle mouth is the devil’s workshop," have some Bible gum handy, complete with two pieces of gum and a Bible verse.
Reaction? Frankly, some of these items made me wonder whether the original purpose was praise, capitalism or anti-biblical sentiment.
What about the ways we live out our faith? Do the activities we take part in, the stances that we take, or the way that we communicate them looked just as skewed if someone else were to describe them? Or guess at our motivation?
Take these products as a fresh reminder that we need to convey the real meaning of Christmas this season and to take the time to thoughtfully share the message of love in a God-honoring way.