Apparently I needed a good laugh. That is the only way I can understand what happened.
I just went to the mailbox at the church. Amidst the rest of the mail was a catalog. It was for church supplies. One of the hot items, the cover item, was their “new offering cans”. Yes, they are little banks meant to look like soda cans (or pop cans if you are so inclined). These are supposed to make our collecting coins more exciting, interesting and worshipful.
They have taken popular soft drinks and mutated them. Much like some “Christian” t-shirts. 7-Up was “converted” to 7 Gifts of the Spirit. Coke, as usual, was “converted” to Jesus Christ: Eternally Refreshing. Red Bull became Red Sea: Hope Gives You Wings. Pepsi One => Perfect One. Sprite => (you guessed it) Spirit with the saying, “God Loves a Cheerful Giver” on the side. A&W Rootbeer was converted to Alpha & Omega.
There are 8 of these in all. And I’m wondering “why?”. They seem innocuous enough, right? But don’t they seem to trivialize faith? I can’t think of many things more unimportant than a soda can. After all, soda really isn’t all that good for you. It is nutritionally meaningless and rots your teeth. That really doesn’t seem to represent the gospel well, and doesn’t really reinforce the message on the outside- that the gospel is precious. Not only that but the cans themselves are essentially worthless, true symbols of pop culture not an eternal gospel.
Yes, I’m not hip, cool and sometimes a stick in the mud. But not all fun in harmless. Laughter is the best response (no, anger really isn’t for it gives the devil a foothold).
What is it about American Christianity that we consistently do such things? Can you see Paul thinking up ways to “convert” popular symbols of the Roman culture? I’m not sure what popular symbols there were of Roman culture, but there had to be some. It seems like running a “Christian” vomitorium or bordello. You can’t sanctify sin, and isn’t a soda can a symbol of our gluttony and obesity?
As I consider culture-making, this is no what I had in mind. We can do better. We have a better story than this.