Truth Amidst Schlock

Because of the Lord's great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26

Who knows how these things happen, but somehow a catalog appeared on my coffee table bearing the title 'Christian Gifts: to Encourage, Comfort and Inspire'. You know the sort: filled with things like Guitar Praise: Solid Rock Edition, inspirational banners, key chains, wind chimes, mouse pads, and bible cosies. Also something called God's Girlz ('tired of toys with a worldly appearance? You'll welcome these dolls with a perfect fit of faith and fashion!'). I think my favorite is the description of the Gospel Masters CD set; Elvis Presley singing the hits of the tent revival era: 'Worship the King of heaven with the king of rock 'n' roll!' Normally I try to stay away from these sorts of Christian junk venues, it's bad for my soul, and I don't need any more fodder for bitterness and cynicism.
What Would Jesus Buy?
Years ago I read in Voice Of The Martyrs magazine about the Christian pastor in China who
was imprisoned for his faith and put into a labor camp-where he was forced to make Christmas tree lights, sold to the West. The very idea makes my head want to explode, and is why I found the whole WWJD? bracelets (made in China) particularly repugnant. As a culture we don't need more schlock, and we need even less the schlock that is based around the teachings of the homeless One who exhorts us to store up treasures in heaven, rather than on earth, for 'where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." And we give tacit approval to the social injustice of slave labor when we support an industry that is built on the backs of the oppressed. I should be the first to point out that I struggle with living this out: I don't check the labels of everything I buy, or boycott China and other nations with dodgy human rights records. But I'm trying.
Balaam's Ass
But this morning I found myself flipping through the Jesus junk catalog, just prior to chucking it out. I veered past the faux Gucci handbag-style Bible cosies (horrors!) & averted my gaze from the sick-making Precious Moments section. ("Lord, I've Sentimentalized the Gospel for Money!")
My eye was caught by a Scripture reference that I didn't recognize (I think it was on a Scripture-based travel coffee mug.) I looked it up,and found the above scripture from Lamentations. It was soothing, sweet & beautiful, and suddenly I had been handed the balm that I didn't know I needed. I sat still for a few moments, my anger and indignation momentarily placed on my emotional back-burner. God is so good, and always gets in there with just what I need to hear.

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

It also made me laugh, and remember that God is not above speaking to me through the pages of Christian schlock. And neither should I be. Who am I to snigger at the way truth comes to me? It's like finding an oasis in the desert and then turning up my nose at the glass of water that I'm handed because it isn't Waterford crystal.
(But I still threw the catalog in the bin.)


Mum said...

It just keeps coming back to His love, doesn't it? Thanks, Rosa. Even though I also personally find the Jesus junk very annoying, it speaks to someone and God will use it.
I really love this scripture. The other day I was thinking about the "great is your faithfulness "part of this and thinking I wanted to look it up.

rosa said...

I remember you used to call it Jesus junk when we were little, this probably contributed to my dislike. (Even though all the other girls at church had a Holly Hobbie bible cosy and I didn't.)

Mum said...

Hmmmmm, wonder if I could find one for you for Christmas. I was going to get you something very cool and wonderful, but you are obviously hinting for that Bible cosy.

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.