Monday, May 14, 2007

Salvation Candy

The June issue of Sojourners reported on this gem, under the heading of “Real Product”: Salvation Candy Tubes. You can buy sugar for your children, and have them match the color with the message on the tube. Jesus' Blood is red, sin is of course some kind of dark, unpleasant color, and heaven is apparently yellow. Who knew?

I don’t know what it is that cracks me up about entwining Jesus with consumer products. It has something to do with the sacrilege of it all, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. But I do make a point of sending a semi-sacrilegious product to my brother every year for his birthday. He has received a Buddy Christ, a statuette of a Jesus playing basketball with young boys (inappropriately, it seems to me), a Moses action figure, and a "wash away your sins" soap bar with a small nun statuette entrapped within it (presumably with nail marks on the inside of the soap where the statuette has desperately tried to claw its way out before suffocating).

I suppose one way to look at Salvation Candy is that the company owners love Jesus so much that they want to spread his message of love and compassion via the sacred act of candy consumption. Another way to look at it is that they are using Jesus as bait to sell sugar to schoolchildren. Either way, it seems cruel to get children all hopped up on sugar and then make them feel guilty that they are suddenly physically unable to act like Jesus would want them to.

This particular product is the perfect metaphor for what I’ve long believed: that religious experience often resembles a manic sugar high. Churches pass out the spiritual equivalent of chocolate bunnies and peeps and everyone gets high on God for the morning. It’s all about being saved and feeling good about yourself. But there isn’t much connection between that and ethical choices for the rest of the week.

Many go the opposite way, and eat spiritual barley all day long and are healthy enough, but lack any kind of joy at all. That is one-sided too, and reduces spiritual life to rote ethical duties, devoid of any kind of spirit at all. Our spiritual lives need to be a nutrient-filled, healthy balance between joy and obligation, binding and loosing, spirit and flesh, sugar and vegetables.

How can we tell the difference between deep joy and communion and merely a sugar high? Can we even do God’s work when we are all sugared up? says, of course you can – just load up on Salvation Sugar and Candy Pebbles Crunch Art of Sin, and be on your way!


Anonymous said...

As someone who knows your brother very well, he hasn't received the Wash Away Your Sins soap yet, but I'll be he would like it. Especially considering all the sinnin' he does in the shower.

I just asked Bobble-Head Jesus, who sits on top of my computer, and he agrees.

Dan S said...

Shoot, I thought he was the one that got the soap, but it must have gone to someone else. He's such a stickler for accuracy, that I'm now worried about being reported to the blog police.

Job said...

And what if God just doesn't give a shit how you make a living, or IF you make a living, or if you suffer, or how long you suffer, or what the hell you eat, how many times you pray for: forgiveness, blessings, releases from curses, jobs, money, candy, food, clever blog posts, good candidates, peace, harmony, end to corruption or protection from giant flying asteriods hurtling toward earth in some as-yet unseen portion of the sun's minute gravitational influence? What then?

Does it matter?
Any of it?

What He wants, he gets. What we want is irrelevant. His will be done.