David Burchett Christian Blog and Commentary

Godly or Gaudy?

If you read When Bad Christians Happen to Good People  you know that I am not a fan of “Jesus Junk”. That is a term for the often tacky, sometimes offensive and generally puzzling ways that we try to merge Christianity and our culture. The products range from the Jesus bobble head dolls to Christian breath mints. I had never considered bad breath to be a spiritual battle but I am still learning in my journey.


People now send me links to this stuff just to annoy me. I found out about a new Talking Jesus action figure. Herobuilders.com of Connecticut, USA, added a new hero to their ranks of action dolls – "the ONLY real hero," in fact. Standing fully 12" tall, the Jesus Christ Action Figure comes with an optional microchip.  When Jesus speaks he sounds like the late John Facinda of NFL Films narrating the 10 Commandments. You almost expect  Jesus to follow “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house” with some stirring music and “across the frozen tundra the mighty warriors rumbled.”  


Apparently the talking Jesus doll ministry is exploding. Amazon features a whole range of talking Jesus figures. If you hate your Jesus doll quoting the wrong Bible you can order the Timecapsule Toys version that goes old school with King James only. The product features are a bit confusing at the Amazon.com site.


    * Talking Action Figure has a 4 min. audio chip allowing it to speak 25 different phrases in the First Ladies own Voice!  (Uhhhhhh….maybe we should proofread after the cutting and pasting for each action figure)

    * Figures are limited in production and include an individually numbered certificate of authenticity. (
How reassuring to know that your Jesus is authentic)

    * Figures also include a biographical pamphlet that includes a comprehensive timeline specific to each figure. (
Also known by such names as the Gospels and New Testament)

    * Figures come dressed in period correct clothing that is period correct and been hand tailored to suit the figure. (I would not want period correct clothing that was not period correct or redundancies that weren’t redundant)

    * 8 and up. (Apparently that is the age of accountability to own this doll)

The reader’s reviews offered this gem.

My 10 year old asked for this for Christmas. He listens to the scriptures often. He loves it!!!!! The voice of Jesus is a little too loud.

Verily. Especially when the Jesus doll doth saith things like this.

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19, KJV)

How many times have we wished Jesus would lower the volume on some of those hard things He asks us to do? Good observation from that reviewer.

Having the neighbors over for breakfast and don’t know how to witness? How about ordering the Jesus Pan and put the imprint of the Lord right on their pancakes.

That’s right. Heavenly hotcakes to jump start your evangelism! The ad proclaims that the Jesus Pan was featured on The Tonight Show! I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr.Leno was making a few jokes about imprinting Jesus on your grilled cheese sandwich instead of marveling at the eternal impact. By the way, you get two pans when you order now! If your friends refuse to listen you can use the second Jesus Pan to whop’em up the side of the head. Imagine when they go to the emergency room with the image of Jesus on their forehead. That will get the ER buzzing and you can keep the ministry going.                                                

The list of Jesus Junk is astounding and embarrassing. You can buy Jesus Adhesive Bandages (sticking closer than a brother) and Jesus pencil toppers.(He erases your sins).

While this whole thing is embarrassing to me as a follower of Christ there is also a strange comfort in all of this. Perhaps one of our strongest apologetic arguments is that Christianity is flourishing around the world despite Christians. Clearly there is something far more powerful than our often sorry attempts to represent Jesus to the world. I wrote a chapter called “Godly or Gaudy?” in When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. Here is an excerpt from that chapter. 


Last night I had a dream.  I went shopping with Jesus.  We were browsing through a Christian book superstore.  He stopped at the What Would Jesus Do? bracelet display.  I found out what He would do.  He moved on.  Jesus picked up the Testamints breath mints and examined them.  Next He saw the Jesus and His dog statue portraying a young Jesus with a German shepherd.  Did I see Him chuckle?  The Jesus Saves air freshener for cars caught His attention.  He looked around at the rows of products and aisles of books, row after row of books about Jesus and how to know Him and be like Him and so on and so on.  "Why do you make faith so complicated?"  He asked quietly.  "I didn't say figure Me out.  I said follow Me."  That woke me up.

Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.

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