IVP - Addenda & Errata - Jesus Made in America

June 29, 2007

Jesus Made in America

I've been having a fabulous time working through the manuscript of Stephen J. Nichol's forthcoming IVP book, Jesus Made in America (due out May 2008). While Steve is new to IVP, he's a veteran author with a spate of books under his belt, and it didn't take me long to figure out why.

This book is replete with simultaneously mesmerizing, dismaying and hilarious depictions of the "malleability" of Jesus when viewed through the lenses of American Christian subculture. One of my favorite examples of this is his description of the "Deluxe Jesus Action Figure" :

"Such trivializing of Jesus by presumably sincere people has sparked a rash of products that step beyond the trivial and verge closely into blasphemy, which might be a good description of some of the products of the good-humored folks at Accoutrements. They market the Deluxe Jesus Action Figure. The deluxe model comes with loaves, fishes, a jug to turn water into wine, and 'glow-in-the-dark miracle hands.' . . . While intended as a spoof, sincere Christians purchase it just the same. American evangelicals, it seems, have a hard time recognizing the comic caricature that they have become. More tragic, American evangelicals have allowed Christ to become a comic caricature. And even more tragic still, American evangelicals can’t even seem to realize that Christ has become a comic caricature."

What's fascinating about this book is that it shows how American Christians have been domesticating, commodifying and otherwise trivializing our Lord from the historical outset. I suppose we would find the same sort of reductionism taking place at any point in the history of Christianity--or Judaism for that matter. After all, wasn't that the whole problem with the Golden Calf?

Posted by Joel Scandrett at June 29, 2007 4:02 PM Bookmark and Share

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