Two criticisms are often leveled at the church in America: (1) we are far too consumeristic and (2) we are under the sway of Constantinianism or Christendom. What is meant by the second criticism is that Americans have a blend of faith and politics and are often confused about where one begins and the other ends (that is the sort of dumbed down bastardized definition that makes everyone unhappy. You’re welcome).
If you want to see American Consumerism and Christendom in full force, look no further than Christian retailing. My dirty little secret is that I sometimes wander into my local Christian book store just to get an eyeful of the religious kitsch they’re hawking. Long before the folks on Portlandia were putting birds on it, Christian bookstores were slapping crosses and stick figure fish on everything they could. It is really a wonder to behold.
And of course there are the patriotic products, and book titles promoting a conservative republican political agenda (plus a few books tucked way in back that offer a mild critique). But what brings me great joy, is that my local Family Christian Bookstore has just rolled out this year’s patriotic tees. These T-Shirts do a good job of confusing American Patriotism with the Christian gospel so you can look stylish for Memorial Day, Flag day and the 4th of July. Plus they are only $5.97. What. a. deal.
I don’t have pictures of this year’s designs, but last summer I was so taken with the selection I took pictures (most of these are still available): Originally I was going to give you my commentary on each shirt; however I think these fashions speak for themselves. Feedback and comments are welcome! Behold I give you the Family Christian Patriotic T-Shirt Collection: