Dec 17, 2008

Wednesday: I hate "Christian" T-shirts

It’s hard to describe how much these shirts bug me.

First of all, I’m not really sure how effective T-shirts are at communicating the idea of Christianity. I mean, sure they could spark a conversation if the shirt is poignant enough. Most times though you just see these shirts worn by Christians in the middle of doing something stupid. Ok, maybe that’s an unfair generalization, but when you see someone wearing these shirts doing something good you don’t remember the shirt, you remember the action. When you see someone wearing this shirt doing something stupid, you remember that shirt and it just confirms all the beliefs you had about ‘how hypocritical those Christians are”. Because like it or not, posting a reminder on your chest about how different you are from them, and then proceeding to inevitably fail at consistently being remarkably different (and it will be inevitable, otherwise there is no need for God’s grace) doesn’t make a great witness.

Also, isn’t there some kind of copyright infringement going on here? Wouldn’t it be horrible as a company that makes Christian products to be dragged into court accused of stealing other people’s ideas for profit? I get it, the slogans or logos or whatever ARE different, but just slightly different. It’s still more than possible for Steve Jobs, or Rupert Murdoch (Apple, and Myspace respectively) to get upset about their brands being used in the same context as religion, and deciding to make things ugly. Why even risk it?

Finally, the shirts seem a bit half-hearted. Like someone wanted to be different, but not too different. Like they wanted to be secret different. If you’re going to be different go for it, make it memorable. Go with the shirt with an unmistakable image on it, or scripture, or anything other than something that basically amounts to lame camouflage for your beliefs.

I think possibly the shirts are really just a symptom of something that bugs me a lot when looking at churches and Christians today. They so badly want to try and integrate the “cool” things into church so that people will feel more comfortable. So they sell shirts that barely announce that the wearer is a Christian, they write books about how to find the Gospel when watching whatever the popular movie of the month is, and they decorate their churches with pictures like this and this. This goes against everything I've learned in business school, but I would suggest that we shouldn’t look to what’s going on in the world for how best to reach people. Because whatever is out in the world has failed them and maybe they finally realized that. They’re looking for something different, something original, the thing that they’ve been missing that explains everything. I just think when they finally get lead to it and it’s dressed up to look like a starbucks cup, well it’s a lot harder to take seriously.

1 comment:

  1. sooo...i totally came up with my blog idea before i saw yours!!! lol