I’d forgotten about it, honestly. Forgotten about the way Jesus trends in the South. Forgotten about the ways in which religious folks in the South pimped Jesus out for an almighty dollar.
I know. I know.
You’d think someone who literally wrote the book on the corruption of prosperity thinking would never forget such lessons.
But I did.
Time. Space. Distance. A full life.
These things can dim one’s view of things.
Then one day, you are walking with a girlfriend into a shop on Main Street and something slaps you upside the head again and it all comes flooding back.
You notice the music floating in from the four corners of the upscale shops. Casting Crowns. Mercy Me. Matt Redman. Matthew West. You recognize it as K-Love’s Top Ten. Songs about the Love of Jesus. Songs about Laying down one’s life. Songs about sacrifices. Songs about having an eternal world view.
You walk over to the shiny things, glistening under the chandelier’s lights. You’ve long been drawn to the sparkly things of this life. You reach out and touch the silver bracelets, each one adorned with a symbol of the Christian faith, and you marvel over how shiny the crosses all look.
You remember the cross of Jesus wasn’t shiny at all. It was heavy as all get out. Thick wood that splintered his back, his hands, rubbed his shoulders raw as he drug it through the streets. Blood-soaked.
There was nothing sparkly about that.
You walk over to the t-shirts made of the softest cotton in the palest of colors. Each one declarative: All I need is Coffee & Jesus. Jesus Loves this Hot Mess. Grateful and Blessed.
That’s when the flood washes over you and you remember that when it comes to capitalism, there is no one and nothing sacred, no holy being or thing that cannot be turned into a profit.
The face of a fake Jesus is marketed and sold at a premium in stores all across this One Nation Under God. Jesus hats. Jesus watches. Jesus bracelets. Jesus yard art. Jesus wall art. Jesus afghans. Jesus purses. Jesus t-shirts.
There’s just something about that name that makes an item irresistible.
Jesus’s name and fake image has been plastered on so many items it’s a pitiful shame Jesus didn’t trademark his name the way Michael Jordan and Tim Tebow did. Jesus could have earned sizable bank every time somebody invoked his name on the playing field. Can you imagine? Obviously, Jesus needed a better handler. Somebody who was watching out for his best interests. Jared Kushner perhaps? He seems to know a good bit about capitalizing on the moment. He and the little missus sure haven’t wasted anytime at all cashing in on Big Daddy’s name and position, and Trump’s not even well-liked. Imagine how much money Kushner could make off an empathetic character like Jesus!
Yeah. I’d forgotten how quick those who declare themselves “Blessed” are willing to sell out Jesus so that they stay that way.
Is it any wonder these are the folks who fall to their knees and worship Trump?
Money is their life pursuit. Trump is their chosen Deliverer.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide? ‘Cause I need more room for my plasma TV.