Saturday, September 21, 2002

The Domesticated Jesus In A Feral Culture

(This article- my first blog attempt- is a result of the cringe factor experienced upon perusing the trinkets, paraphernalia and apparel found in almost any Christian book of the Christian mass marketing monolith. Until I get this blog figgered out, you'll just have to email me if you want to cuss me out.)

It would be a silly picture to see my German Shepherd dog, Vega, blow a fuse and escape to the wild- never again to return to "domestic" life. Even IF she wanted to, my black-faced push-over would be mincemeat to the intiates of the feral dog kingdom.

But it happens- domesticated animals get a wild hair and go rough it for good- seemingly to escape the unnatural and cultured setting of which they have been a part for the last ten thousand years. Consider it a rebellion to the efforts of humanity's invasion of the canine way of life.

The thought of my dog in the unknown surrounded by her more wily canine cousins with snarled teeth and bony ribs protruding is unsettling (can you tell I don't have chid-rens?). Even more disturbing are the phantom projections of a pseudo-Jesus on the fringes of a culture gone feral. What the modern 20th century churchianity experiment has left us with is nothing short of a rebellion- or better- a pilgrimage of the rejected masses to fend for themselves in the dark woods. The Jesus that the feral culture sees (when it looks) is a carnival mirror distortion of another by-gone reflection- an echo of an echo. We obviously no longer live in a churched culture (if we ever did) and emerging cultures have little or no authentic Christian "memory."

Establishment churchianity accuses the surrounding culture, crying, "you're anti-God," when, in reality, they are just anti-whatever-the-Church-as-institutional-demagoguery-substitutes-for-authentic-biblical-spirituality (read, pre-packaged Jesus by-products).

I confess..........I bought them. When I first discovered them, they were a cool way for me to express something that, as a new believer, I was still trying to figure out how to communicate- and there are some clever ones out there. But now, my "Won By One" tees (and their ilk) remain in the bottom of my drawer. My Christianized tee shirts are not going to convince the 24 year-old Satanist with the tattooed pentagram to whom our church gave out a free pack of gum and a hemp necklace last week. Nor will the neo-pagan, crew-cut, lesbian college freshman be swerved by screen-printed Christian cliches. It may have made one a bit more chummy with oneself for having the gusto to wear it in the presence of the heathen (and thank God we have a few of those).......but that's about it. Relational mutts though we may be, I never cease to be amazed that the desire to publicize our affiliation is only surpassed by our longing TO affiliate.

Are all of the tee-shirts, the W.W.J.D and F.R.O.G. bracelets really doing more than unifying the already-convinced? A self-described pagan dabbler in both Hinduism and Buddhism (but reared Jewish) has started hanging out with us. He has an antidote in the form of a bumper sticker on his car. I can't tell if it's a sacrilege or just a plain funny indictment on the Christian marketing juggernaut of which I reads, "667, Neighbor Of The Beast." This one puts in its place the veritably un-Christian bumper adornment, "God Is My Co-Pilot."

So we further segregate ourselves from an unregenerate culture and become an unapproachably peculiar people for no real redemptive reason.