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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Witness Apparel

Just yesterday, I received a advertisement from a Christian T-shirt company. Out of the 24 shirts featured, a couple seem to be completely original and a couple more seem to use clever word plays to get a person's attention (maybe). However, many are blatantly "borrowing from others." Looking at this advertisement, this company has borrowed design and slogan from the following:

The Red Cross, iTunes, Sprite, DaVinci Code, Starbucks, Lost, The Chronicles of Narnia, Napoleon Dynamite, Teddy Roosevelt, Outkast, Hershey's and Yoo-hoo.

Just a couple weeks ago, Purgatorio showed us this.

So, what is the point? I'm not sure if these are valid reasons, but these are at least some questions I have about this practice.
    Are we trying to make God cool? Of all of his attributes, I do not remember "hip" being one of them. Is this really a quest that is barking up the wrong tree?
    Are we trying to show the world we are clever? Honestly, I don't think "wit" and "sharp thinking" when I see this. I think "plagiarism."
    Do we really think people are going to carefully read these? From twenty feet away, can anyone tell your "Sacrificed for Me" (written within a clever green circular logo) from a Starbuck's shirt? Do we really think people are going to be drawn to the shirt, scratch down the Scripture reference, go home and look it up in a Bible, and be saved?
    Are we trying to redeem society? Frustrated that Lost is a show dealing with faith, but since it is not Chrisitan media, it has not yet presented a person's need for repentance and trust in Christ, do we then seek to make a shirt, using their popularity, to maybe claim captive for Christ the television program.
    Scariest of all, are we ashamed of the gospel? Are we aware of the necessity of clear gospel proclamation, yet fearful of ridicule and rejection, so we intentionally wear a shirt that could cause conversation, but more than likely won't. (This question comes from personal experience. I remember having a "Christian knock-off" shirt. I remember times when someone noticed the shirt and began to look closely at it. Unfortunately, I remember more times than not, thinking, Please don't ask me about my shirt. The person would turn and walk away and I would sigh in relief. Yet, every morning I put that shirt on, I thought I was entering into the spiritual battle of the day as a faithful soldier.)

Of course, maybe a person buys and wears the shirt simply because they like it.

But if the shirt is intended to be a witnessing tool (the shirt company's motto is: "Change your shirt. Change the world."), I think it is a microcosm of our faulty modern day evangelism strategies. Is the call to evangelize (for whether evangelist or not, we've all been called to do the work) a call to make God look cool? Is it a call to make God mainstream? Is evangelism something you can trick somebody into hearing? Is evangelism a call to experience a multitude of secondary benefits?

Or is evangelism the bold declaration of the merciful offer of a righteous God to allow us to enjoy a relationship with Him despite our sin because He has offered His Perfect Son to pay the penalty for our sin, if we will repent of our sin and trust in Him? Maybe a more Biblical shirt would say, "Repent and trust." Or better yet, we could declare that message and allow the clothing to simply cover our nakedness.


  • At 3:06 PM, Blogger Chloe Lou said…

    The shirt I hate the most is, "Jesus is my homeboy". There's just something about that phrase that bothers me.

  • At 6:32 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    i agree totally

  • At 9:44 PM, Anonymous jovial_cynic said…

    yeah. churches have been attemping to christianity mainstream since the days of Constantine. and the church hasn't recovered since. nothing has changed.

  • At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Lebron James' mom said…

    We are ALL witnesses.


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