It’s that time! It’s time for hundreds of thousands of Christians to gather together in the dusty fields, converted farms and theme parks of America. It’s time for thunderstorm cancellations; for oppressive heat; for dehydration. It’s time for cold showers; no showers; porta potties and sleeping in tents, hotels and campers. It’s time for Christian festivals!!!

Of all the really great stuff to experience at this uniquely American Christian event called a Christian festival is the uniquely American Christian vendor. I know that Jesus had large crowds that would gather around him but I wonder if he knew what he was missing by not allowing vendors to set up their tents at his gigs.
The vendors at the festivals are a great place to enhance your walk with the Lord by properly accessorizing your faith. After all is un accessorized faith any kind of faith at all?

The T-shirts are the main items you find and they’re just great. There are usually slogans like “a blood donor saved my life” or “tree hugger” with a picture of someone hugging a cross or one of the new hot title: “global warming” with a picture of a globe on fire and a caption that reads “don’t be here when things really heat up”
The idea is that people will become so overwhelmed by the sheer cleverness of our slogans that they will be compelled to engage us in a dialogue and this will in turn allow us to win souls. Peter said we should be ready to give an answer whenever anyone asks us about our faith, and these T-shirts will certainly cause folks to ask some questions. (not sure if they’re the right questions, but questions nonetheless)
I’m personally a big fan because it takes away all the pressure and burden of living a life sacrificially in service and loving our neighbors and replaces it with this really easy solution.

Not to be outdone, There are the trinket people. Of course there are the key chains and necklaces, but that’s not the good stuff. For instance for Fathers day you might want to purchased the ash trays with a picture of Jesus in the bottom looking up at you to sort of scare you from smoking and candles that smell like Jesus. Seriously there is a candle that is made with Psalm 45:8 as the recipe. It says that Jesus garments will smell like myrhh, aloe and cassia. Light this candle up and your whole house will smell like Jesus.

Every year there is a sort of unofficial competition among my people to find the best item from a vendor at the tents. Recent winners have included Christian Poker Chips , The Nativity Egg Timer, Wash Away Your Sins Bubble Bath, and Bobble Head Jesus. The all time favorite of mine and winner for best in show would have to be the product that was made out of hexagon steel nuts that you wore around your neck with carved sayings in them that were titled with no sense of irony at all: “Jesus Nuts”. I don’t know how to promise you enough that I am not making that up.

I guess it never really occurred to me that Jesus was commercially viable. I’m thinking it never occurred to him since he lived his life without even a house, let alone money. I mean I know He’s rich now what with the streets paved in Gold and such. But maybe He knew something that tends to allude us here on earth. Maybe mixing commerce and the gospel is just not meant to be.

I understand the irony of what I’m saying when you consider my day job. It kind of freaks me out just a bit to think about it too much. But I think it’s worth asking the questions. At what point did ministry become a career choice and not a calling.

Pragmatically I tell myself that money is needed to cover the expenses, to pay the bills, etc. I don’t have the answers. Sometimes I’m afraid of what the answer might be, but I guess it’s about time I find out.


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