In a previous post, I expressed my apprehension at attending certain Christian conferences in part because of the presence of Jesus Junk.
Now, please don’t get me wrong, Christian conferences are so often a very rich and edifying experience. We must not be isolated Christians, but rather need to engage with the global church and learn from others. Conferences often afford us this opportunity. Yes, we should take advantage of Christian conferences.
Now onto the topic of Jesus Junk. What is “Jesus Junk”? The LA Times ran an article in July 2006 about the Christian Bookseller’s Association conference. They described it as a place, “to showcase the latest accessories for the Christian lifestyle.” Hence, one definition is: “accessories for the Christian lifestyle.” This might include t-shirts, golf balls, poker chips, sandals, candy, or perfume which has a Scripture or Christian message on it.
I fear, however, that many proponents of such accessories may view the products as a substitute for authentic faith. (“I’m a Christian because I wear Virtuous Woman perfume.”) In addition, I can’t help but think the Gospel has been cheapened or altogether missed when wedded with often unorginal marketing and consumerism. (“Is that what Christianity is really about?!”) Finally, I feel that Jesus Junk creates a subculture in which the Christian can baptize his materialism in the name of Jesus. (“I can waste my money on stuff because it has “Jesus” on it.”)
Thus, I often cringe when I attend conferences which have on sale Jesus Junk.
Hopefully that makes things a bit more clear.
[for more insightful thoughts, please see here]