Friday, April 11, 2008

Dress Your Bible for Success

I’m baffled why evangelicals put clothing on their Bibles. I’m not certain how this started. It’s even more bizarre than poodle clothes. No longer is it enough to dress our daughters in ruffled dresses, our sons in board shorts and Nike shoes pimped by Sports Illustrated cover boys. Can we allow a naked Bible? In church? Heaven forbid, when thanks to Christian merchandising, your Bible too can be a fashion statement. Take the “FaithGirlz” line. (See photograph above.) In pastel daisy-print motif, your Bible can dress like Doris Day. Check out that hip-hop faiThGirLz!® logo. Gotta love that sassy ‘z’ like some youth-evoking ripoff from the BratzGirlz® line of fashion dolls. Your Bible can hang out with the likes of Cloe, Sasha, Jade and Yasmin. If you buy two, the mixed branding allows for mother-daughter bonding. And that 50%-off deal – let’s hope the sticker comes attached, so Mom can show she’s the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman.

If the BratzGirlz aren’t your style, there’s always Barbie.

Fashioned in glamorous pink vinyl, with sparkly-jewel accents, the “Glitter Princess Bible Cover” (You can’t make this stuff up) bears the message “PRINCESS – My Father is the King of Kings.”

For women of color, offers Afro-American artwork on zippered microfiber vinyl, perfect (says the website) for “showcasing” your Bible.

For older Pat Nixon Republicans, there are Republican cloth coats.

For Gone-With-the-Wind Confederate belles, some come complete with lacey frills.

For men, a zippered leather jacket can send your Bible off to church with more panache than Marlon Brando on a Harley.

And if your vision of Christianity is more aligned with GI Joe,
this desert-camo beauty features two caribiner hooks (in case your Bible gets caught in crossfire in the caves of Tora Bora.) Above its mesh-zippered pocket, the charge “FIGHT WELL IN THE LORD’S BATTLES” is stenciled on sturdy canvas. George Bush would certainly approve.

Should your Bible be a Democrat, there are metrosexual Bible covers
in “rugged vinyl.” Dig those racing stripes; the rubber 2:52 logo patch.

And, for children, these cuddly Veggie-Tales® pajamas are guaranteed to keep their Bibles snuggly warm on winter nights.

What does this say about Christianity in America? How superficial are we, when the outsides of our Bibles eclipse whatever message is inside? Is there a lesson here? According to George Gallup, “Americans revere the Bible - but, by and large, they don't read it. And …have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” This leaves evangelicals fair game for politicians and tele-charlatans who misquote scripture, pursuing money, sex and power. What if in secret, behind closed doors, we read the Bible ourselves, peeled off the clothing; yes, actually read a naked Bible? Oh the horror, if on reading it, we formed our own opinions instead of being force-fed by televangelists and Christian “leaders” guarding their interests.

Who knows? We might have to tell some of our leaders to pound sand. We might jettison self-serving answers, wrestle with ancient truths, master the gentle art of being who we are. We might have to grow up, asking hard questions and, (scariest of all) strip off our own facades, facing the world as naked Christians.