Opps. I originally started this a few months ago and subtitled it “Or An Early Christmas Post.” Now it would just be a late Christmas post, and that’s lame.
Yesterday I mentioned in passing how the Newsboys were making quite the profit from being a Christian band, as stated by former lead singer John James. This just seems weird to me. (To give an example of the kind of money they were pulling in – John cites a time they drove by a store selling four wheelers – so the band bought one for every person on the tour – musician and roadie).
The Christian book and music industry feels just like its name – an industry. And ultimately an industry is out to make money, and it does what it takes to maximize profits – which can be through exploiting trends, marketing techniques and preying on emotions. I don’t want to spend lots of time giving examples – I trust you all have rolled your eyes in a Christian book store at least once when finding the athlete’s Bible and Christian dieting book, or questioned why every single Christian artist has released a Christmas album and a worship album.
I’m really uncomfortably with people making lots of money off of Christianity. It just doesn’t feel right. It seems like things get real muddy real fast.
Of course I’m not opposed to Christian books and music – but it seems like it has long been out of control.
One thing I don’t like is that the writer/artist/company can imply their products will bring you spiritual benefits. How many books promise to change your prayer life or transform your marriage, or deepen whatever it is that is shallow? So you can nearly effortlessly justify purchasing whatever it is they’re selling by simply saying “its really for my soul” (and not the part of you that just really likes having stuff).
Instead of simply condemning this industry, allow me to point out that I benefit from it. As I noted very early on in my blog I read a lot of Christian books. Therefore, I not only support this industry but I appreciate it. I’ll admit it’s awful convenient to buy a mass-published Shane Claiborne book, rather than paying for an expensive self-published book that hasn’t been professionally edited and has grainy cover art. Zondervan has linked me to a lot of good books. So I can rant and rave about this disgusting industry, but ultimately it benefits me from time to time, and I’m very unlikely to discontinue use out of protest.
(Which worries me a little bit, I don’t think Christians should resort to violence when peace is inconvenient, nor do I condone knowingly buying child labor-made clothes).
So this post doesn’t have a big message or a grand point, I tried to shy away from too much judgment. I just wanted to initially identify what I see as a huge sore in Christendom – people making money from Jesus’ name, and then hear from you all.
What’s your opinion of these industries? Have you ever thought about them? Do they disturb you too? (Am I being too judgmental?)