Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Crossed Candies

 

There has long been a temptation within Christianity to make “Christian” versions of normal, everyday things. Sometimes this can be very helpful, especially when it repurposes something else in a new way. Sometimes, though, it is just crass marketing.

As I heard one Orthodox priest say recently, you don’t make something “Orthodox” just by slapping an icon on it. But for some people, however, that icon, or cross, or crucifix, or prayer on a mundane object might just provide enough sanctification to get them to buy something they neither need nor want. Slapping a cross on your candy does not remove the calories. I’m pretty sure that confectionaries were never mentioned in any of the accounts of the Last Supper either, and so ineligible to be used in the Eucharist. Easter this year, naturally, brought an interesting object lesson in questionable candy.

This year I was horrified to discover “The Jellybean Prayer,” which seeks to sell jellybeans in a cross-shaped tin by convincing you that by eating said beans in a certain flavor sequence, you are “praying” some misbegotten sugary missive to the divine. My eldest received one of these tins, noted that licorice (her favorite and mine), being black, was the sinful bean, leading her to quip “Mmmm … delicious licorice sin beans!”

But I fear such candies are a mark of the commercial beast and a sticky foretaste of future profane abominations. Candy makers naturally want to sell more candy, and certain Christians want to sanctify their overindulgences, so in a newly molded Baptist-and-Bootlegger alliance, we will see further such ill-crossed candies. In short, I am hereby predicting that at some future date confectioners will be making Peep crucifixes, complete with pink marshmallow bunnies crucified on chocolate, on a Golgotha of marzipan. Alas, not only does this profane the real resurrection and make a mockery of the Eucharist (eating the body and blood of Christ), but such a meal will likely produce a more visceral resurrection of stomach contents.

I suppose, given the rather binary reception of licorice (love it? hate it?) and its dark hue, that this confectioner felt it appropriate to represent sin, yes one could certainly argue that sin can indeed taste delicious. Still, it’s just candy, and selling it in a cross-shaped tin doesn’t change that.

There is neither a transubstantiation nor consubstantiation at work when popping beans — they neither are nor become anything else but a tummyache and a dental visit if you overindulge. And you are not doing the work of prayer in eating them (even when worshiping at the porcelain throne a few hours later). I have no problems of selling the beans in the cross-shaped tin — such items are fun mementos of Easter — but people are going to buy the jelly beans anyway. It’s Easter, that’s what you do. You don’t make them any less a candy by claiming them as a prayer aid (though it is hilarious to picture someone popping them in place of using their rosary or prayer rope).

You do not necessarily take something mundane or profane and turn it sacred merely by slapping a bit of scripture on it, or some other religious symbol. You won’t make a Juggalo any less demented by making him wear a WWJD bracelet (and picturing a Juggalo with a “what would Jesus do?” bracelet is so nonsensical that it may really better off as a Buddhist koan). It is what we do with ordinary objects that makes them sacred (that’s why the Cross is venerated in the first place). Overindulging in Easter candy, no matter how it is dressed up, will still make you sick.

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  1. Judge Mental Member

    SkipSul: “Mmmm… delicious licorice sin beans!”

    Now I get it.

    • #1
    • April 8, 2018, at 8:28 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. SpiritO'78 Member

    I am not fan of Christian kitsch either. I won’t call it blasphemy, but it does reduce a holy day (glorious even) to something rather cartoonish.

    • #2
    • April 8, 2018, at 8:29 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Heavens above, Skip! Did you dye your eggs red? Blessed Pascha/Bright Week ahead!

    • #3
    • April 8, 2018, at 8:30 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Johnnie Alum 13 Inactive

    Also see the candy cane prayer.

    • #4
    • April 8, 2018, at 8:32 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Heavens above, Skip! Did you dye your eggs red? Blessed Pascha/Bright Week ahead!

    Actually, yes! Daughter 3 painted one of them.

    • #5
    • April 8, 2018, at 8:39 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Johnnie Alum 13 (View Comment):

    Also see the candy cane prayer.

    I rather like the traditional reference to St. Nicholas of Myra’s staff there, Johnnie; also, traditionally-shaped pretzels as praying hands, too. References are okay if they have a connection, but if it’s just reference for the sake of Christianizing: Blech! 

    • #6
    • April 8, 2018, at 8:53 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Heavens above, Skip! Did you dye your eggs red? Blessed Pascha/Bright Week ahead!

    Actually, yes! Daughter 3 painted one of them.

    Beautiful! Cracking against each other’s is fun, too: Christos anesti!…

    • #7
    • April 8, 2018, at 8:56 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    Christos anesti

    Aleethos anesti!

    • #8
    • April 8, 2018, at 9:01 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Captain French Moderator

     

    …one could certainly argue that sin can indeed taste delicious.

    Doesn’t it always taste delicious? Isn’t that why Satan is so successful?

     

    • #9
    • April 8, 2018, at 9:44 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Isn’t it racist to designate the black jellybean as the sinful one?

    • #10
    • April 8, 2018, at 9:54 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  11. I. M. Fine Coolidge

    SpiritO'78 (View Comment):

    I am not fan of Christian kitsch either. I won’t call it blasphemy, but it does reduce a holy day (glorious even) to something rather cartoonish.

    Even calling it “Christian Kitsch” is kind; I have routinely heard it referred to (appropriately, I feel) as “Jesus Junk.” I have been at more than a few Christian publishing conferences where this merchandise was gleefully sold. A very popular item for a number of years was the “Rapture Mug” — a coffee mug with figures of people, half of whom suddenly “disappear” when you pour hot liquid into the mug. A colleague of mine once had a bumper sticker on her car with a crown of thorn that said “This blood’s for you.” 

    • #11
    • April 9, 2018, at 5:13 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. Seawriter Contributor

    I. M. Fine (View Comment):

    I have been at more than a few Christian publishing conferences where this merchandise was gleefully sold. A very popular item for a number of years was the “Rapture Mug” — a coffee mug with figures of people, half of whom suddenly “disappear” when you pour hot liquid into the mug. A colleague of mine once had a bumper sticker on her car with a crown of thorn that said “This blood’s for you.” 

    It’s funny. I am not sure it is really Christian, though.

    • #12
    • April 9, 2018, at 5:50 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Travis McKee Inactive

    The practice is somewhat understandable, given anxieties of the Culture War. If one feels there’s an overwhelming militant secularization of religious holidays, buying a Christian-themed everything might feel like fighting back. 

    I don’t like the impulse because it drives Christian consumers to buy mediocre items based on marketing alone. 

    • #13
    • April 9, 2018, at 5:54 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Coolidge

    I actually enjoy “Jesus Junk” as a source of unintended humor. There’s no way of knowing whether the producers of this kitsch are motivated by a desire to be witnesses, or whether it’s cynical profit. (Or perhaps an unconscious mixture of both?) I would never buy any, but I do get a chuckle out of it. In the same way that every family has crazy relatives, but they’re still family, this stuff can be funny to those of us in the family of Christ. We are, as the apostle wrote, a “peculiar people.”

    And this looks like a good thread in which to post this recent ad our office staff discovered in a stray copy of Charisma that washed up on our Lutheran shores. The folks in the PIT wondered if it was fake. I assure you it is real.

    • #14
    • April 9, 2018, at 6:51 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  15. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    I actually enjoy “Jesus Junk” as a source of unintended humor. There’s no way of knowing whether the producers of this kitsch are motivated by a desire to be witnesses, or whether it’s cynical profit. (Or perhaps an unconscious mixture of both?) I would never buy any, but I do get a chuckle out of it. In the same way that every family has crazy relatives, but they’re still family, this stuff can be funny to those of us in the family of Christ. We are, as the apostle wrote, a “peculiar people.”

    And this looks like a good thread in which to post this recent ad our office staff discovered in a stray copy of Charisma that washed up on our Lutheran shores. The folks in the PIT wondered if it was fake. I assure you it is real.

    Wow. Talk about mixed messages there!

    • #15
    • April 9, 2018, at 6:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Drew, that ad reminded me of an old Monty Python sketch – String:

    W: Have you ever in a Hospital where they didn’t have string?

    S: No, but it’s only *string*!

    W: ONLY STRING?! It’s everything! It’s…it’s waterproof!

    S: No it isn’t!

    W: All right, it’s water resistant then!

    S: It isn’t!

    W: All right, it’s water absorbent! It’s…Super Absorbent String! ‘ABSORB WATER TODAY WITH SIMPSON’S INDIVIDUAL WATER ABSORB-A-TEX STRINGETTES! AWAY WITH FLOODS!’

    S: You just said it was waterproof!

    W: ‘AWAY WITH THE DULL DRUDGERY OF WORKADAY TIDAL WAVES! USE SIMPSON’S INDIVIDUAL FLOOD PREVENTERS!’

    S: You’re mad!

    W: Shut up, shut up, shut up! Sex, sex sex, must get sex into it. Wait, I see a television commercial- There’s this nude woman in a bath holding a bit of your string. That’s great, great, but we need a doctor, got to have a medical opinion. There’s a nude woman in a bath with a doctor–that’s too sexy. Put an Archbishop there watching them, that’ll take the curse off it. Now, we need children and animals. There’s two kids admiring the string, and a dog admiring the Archbishop who’s blessing the string. Uhh…international flavor’s missing…make the Archbishop Greek Orthodox…. why not ArchBishop Makarios? No no, he’s dead. Never mind, we’ll get his brother, it’ll be cheaper. So, there’s Archbishop Makarios’s brother… (fade out)

    • #16
    • April 9, 2018, at 6:58 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Coolidge

    I would also say there’s a difference between genuine Jesus Junk/Christian Kitsch created by Christians as a witness, and stuff like the “Jesus Toaster,” which is just meant to be funny. Jesus Junk is unintentionally funny.

    Genuine Jesus Junk:

    Image result for Jesus Junk

    Image result for Jesus Junk

    DISINGENUOUS!

    Image result for JEsus Toaster

    Image result for Jesus Junk

    (As always, if you’re unsure as to the authenticity of your find, consult an expert in the field.)

    • #17
    • April 9, 2018, at 7:08 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  18. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    I would also say there’s a difference between genuine Jesus Junk/Christian Kitsch created by Christians as a witness, and stuff like the “Jesus Toaster,” which is just meant to be funny. Jesus Junk is unintentionally funny.

    Wow! Love it!

    • #18
    • April 9, 2018, at 7:26 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Coolidge

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    I would also say there’s a difference between genuine Jesus Junk/Christian Kitsch created by Christians as a witness, and stuff like the “Jesus Toaster,” which is just meant to be funny. Jesus Junk is unintentionally funny.

    Wow! Love it!

    You’re eyeballing the toaster, aren’t you?

    • #19
    • April 9, 2018, at 7:31 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Judge Mental Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    I would also say there’s a difference between genuine Jesus Junk/Christian Kitsch created by Christians as a witness, and stuff like the “Jesus Toaster,” which is just meant to be funny. Jesus Junk is unintentionally funny.

    Wow! Love it!

    You’re eyeballing the toaster, aren’t you?

    I liked the Rapture mug.

    • #20
    • April 9, 2018, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  21. The Reticulator Member

    I. M. Fine (View Comment):

    SpiritO’78 (View Comment):

    I am not fan of Christian kitsch either. I won’t call it blasphemy, but it does reduce a holy day (glorious even) to something rather cartoonish.

    Even calling it “Christian Kitsch” is kind; I have routinely heard it referred to (appropriately, I feel) as “Jesus Junk.” I have been at more than a few Christian publishing conferences where this merchandise was gleefully sold. A very popular item for a number of years was the “Rapture Mug” — a coffee mug with figures of people, half of whom suddenly “disappear” when you pour hot liquid into the mug. A colleague of mine once had a bumper sticker on her car with a crown of thorn that said “This blood’s for you.”

    In the unlikely event that anyone cares, I approve of the bumper sticker, but not the rapture mug or the candies.

    • #21
    • April 9, 2018, at 7:57 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    I would also say there’s a difference between genuine Jesus Junk/Christian Kitsch created by Christians as a witness, and stuff like the “Jesus Toaster,” which is just meant to be funny. Jesus Junk is unintentionally funny.

    Wow! Love it!

    You’re eyeballing the toaster, aren’t you?

    Always on the lookout for a good toaster.

    • #22
    • April 9, 2018, at 8:12 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  23. Patrick McClure Coolidge

    Ricochet: “When the going gets weird, the Weird comment weirder.”

    • #23
    • April 9, 2018, at 9:24 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  24. Stina Inactive

    I. M. Fine (View Comment):
    A very popular item for a number of years was the “Rapture Mug” — a coffee mug with figures of people, half of whom suddenly “disappear” when you pour hot liquid into the mug.

    Ha ha! I had this mug with Henry VIII’s wives on it…

    I only got into Christian music and books. My mom bought us Easter crosses, but the chocolate was awful.

    • #24
    • April 9, 2018, at 10:41 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Once, I got some “Jesus Saves!” piggy banks for people as gifts. As far as I can tell, the design was meant sincerely – to encourage small children to believe saving their change was the morally upright thing to do, and made Jesus happy. 

    I realize the Jesus toasters are fake, but I still find the idea of ’em rather amusing. Not amusing enough to purchase, but I am a little happier knowing that, with the right toaster, people can find Jesus on their toast anytime.

    • #25
    • April 9, 2018, at 10:46 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    AltarGirl (View Comment):

    I. M. Fine (View Comment):
    A very popular item for a number of years was the “Rapture Mug” — a coffee mug with figures of people, half of whom suddenly “disappear” when you pour hot liquid into the mug.

    Ha ha! I had this mug with Henry VIII’s wives on it…

    I only got into Christian music and books. My mom bought us Easter crosses, but the chocolate was awful.

    The subgenre of Christian fiction is endlessly fascinating to me. I worked as a shift supervisor during my 3 years at a Barnes and Noble (back when B&N still carried a deep catalog on its shelves, when Amazon was still young), and one of the areas of the store I tended for a while was Fiction, and we had a rather large Romance section. I learned a great deal about Romance sub-genres (copying the Outlander series at the time was quite common, but there were cowboy fantasies, sci-fi romances, “who is the real daddy?” series, and so forth), and during my time I watched the ebb and flow of the popularity of these sub-genres. Genre work lends itself to less-skilled authors because the accepted norms of the genre do the heavy work for you, and give you a world with the rules already defined. Lets the writer get right to… well…

    We also had a very large Religion section that was, at that time, in a completely different part of the store. Religious Fiction (Christian Fiction, really) was kept there. Aside from the Left Behind series and its imitators, what dominated the Christian Fiction section was Romance, and Christian Romance too had its own waxing and waning of genre romances. The dominant one, though, for all 3 years was Amish Romance!

    And what I had to conclude from that was the notion that when women wanted to read romance novels, but not bawdy ones, they wanted them as chaste as possible, at the opposite extreme. This is difficult (but by no means impossible) to do plausibly with romance novels set in modern times and places (and in the years since I worked there, many such books have been published), but fairly easy to do within the Amish world since most people already accept the settings – the rules are already laid out, you just have to plug in the plot and let it write itself. The writer needs to spend less time on character development compared with modern settings, and a modern-set Christian romance can very easily seem hokey to jaded eyes if the writer is not particularly skilled.

    • #26
    • April 9, 2018, at 11:10 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Coolidge

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Aside from the Left Behind series and its imitators, what dominated the Christian Fiction section was Romance, and Christian Romance too had its own waxing and waning of genre romances. The dominant one, though, for all 3 years was Amish Romance!

    My wife loves that stuff. I’m surprised just how much of it there is. It seems she’s never running out of reading material.

    • #27
    • April 9, 2018, at 11:14 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. The Reticulator Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Aside from the Left Behind series and its imitators, what dominated the Christian Fiction section was Romance, and Christian Romance too had its own waxing and waning of genre romances. The dominant one, though, for all 3 years was Amish Romance!

    My wife loves that stuff. I’m surprised just how much of it there is. It seems she’s never running out of reading material.

    Mine too. And speaking of cheap, she has joined some kind of book exchange where people mail their books to another person when they’re done.

    And she even interacts with real Amish people more than I do. 

    Oh, well, she puts up with my interests, too.

    • #28
    • April 9, 2018, at 1:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Stina Inactive

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    This is quite true, but I mostly steered away from Christian romance after around 15 or 16.

    We read historical fiction, Stephen R Lawhead, spiritual warfare (The Veritas Conflict is quite enjoyable). Ted Dekker is a family favorite.

    We also read mystery from the Christian aisle. Basically the same as the Romance – formulaic but cleaned up. First time I read Clancey, I was taken aback by the language and I was in my late 20s. 

    I did read a modern Christian romance that left the Amish for New Orleans. Teri Blackstock. It was good. I think she comes from the Bayou because she had some strong emphasis on the Cajun culture.

    • #29
    • April 9, 2018, at 1:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  30. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    I actually enjoy “Jesus Junk” as a source of unintended humor. There’s no way of knowing whether the producers of this kitsch are motivated by a desire to be witnesses, or whether it’s cynical profit. (Or perhaps an unconscious mixture of both?) I would never buy any, but I do get a chuckle out of it. In the same way that every family has crazy relatives, but they’re still family, this stuff can be funny to those of us in the family of Christ. We are, as the apostle wrote, a “peculiar people.”

    And this looks like a good thread in which to post this recent ad our office staff discovered in a stray copy of Charisma that washed up on our Lutheran shores. The folks in the PIT wondered if it was fake. I assure you it is real.

    Okaaaay….

    • #30
    • April 9, 2018, at 1:48 PM PDT
    • 2 likes

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