Friday, April 9, 2010

Challenging Conventional Christian Wisdom – Part 3 – Why we have Jesus Action Figures

So I'm not sure if you noticed or not, but at the right of this blog, you can now subscribe. You get an email with a link every time I post a new blog. This means that I don't have to post (is it annoying?) facebook posts about new blogs. I really want to move AWAY from weekly facebook posts, and I hope this is the answer.

So be so kind and subscribe, just one email a week, promise.

Thanks guys.

Now on to the blog.


Our world moves fast. Even faster now that we have the Internet. If a business doesn't adapt quickly, then the it fails. If the head of the business is smart, then (s)he makes the right choices to survive (thrive). As for the church, I think that creates a problem. Because the church has no one president. No one leader. Aside from the obvious, of course, God/the trinity. As a result, we have Jesus action figures.

But for this purpose (the reading of the times, the leadership direction for a changing world) we, the Church, do not hear clearly from Jesus, or are directed by the Holy Spirit clear enough to all be on the same page. I know that sounds bad. But, isn't this the reason for so many problems between church today? Because we are all reading the same script, just on different pages.

At one time, trends and fashions would be in for decades. Now the shelf life of a style is a few years. Because now, we overkill. We see it everywhere (facebook, twitter). This is why Chuck Norris jokes aren't funny anymore. They're dated.

Think about videos. What was funny last year is cliché this year (Rick Rolling, the Evolution of Dance, William Hung).

That's why we still have Christian T Shirts that look just like something in the business world, except with an evangelist's touch.

That's why we still have Church marque signs that rhyme.

That's why we have Jesus action figures.

And I think that's why we still have "You're going to Hell" signs.

Because we don't have one person saying, "Ok, enough with this. It was good last year, but this year it just looks tacky."

This became most evident while I was having a conversation with an American missionary here in Britain. He told me, "I'd yell on street corners, if it worked here. I'd carry a big cross around, if I knew it would make an impact. But it doesn't. People would just look at me weird. That sort of things works in Africa. If I were in Africa, I'd do that sort of thing. But here, it won't make an impact."

To me, this is smart. Some things don't work everywhere. Times change. So should our methods.

And some people are smart enough to see these, and many other things. And they tell us. In their books, blogs, and seminars.

If we are smart, then we listen, and try to see what they see.

It's harder for us as a church than a business, because we don't have that one person. We have a multitude of these thinkers who tell our pastors. And we have our pastors who tell us.

But maybe that's better.

Sure, it makes us slower to adapt to a constantly and rapidly changing culture.

But it also shows how strong the church is. Businesses go bankrupt without rapidly changing.

But the church is still here. Still passionate. Still learning.

So back to the missionary. What worked in his context, if not cross carrying? Something I'm sure you could guess:


Fancy that.


  1. Is it wrong to have an action figure? I had a G.I. Joe and a David and Goliath action figure with a book and audio tape to go along. I loved it! I think I turned out alright. Little confused with the point of the post.

    Hope you're doing alright! Haven't talked to you in a long time!

  2. @sethg
    hey Seth. the point i was trying to make is that i think it is ridiculous to have our Lord and Savior reduced to a piece of plastic.

    the church is unique in the fact that it doesnt have 1 person to say, 'this is great, keep this going' and 'ok, that was fine then, now lets change and go this way.'

    in some ways its bad because we have embarrassing 'test-a-mints' and socks with scripture on the to 'keep our feet in the word'.

    but its good to see how strong the church is without that central leadership. she has been here and has stood the test of time.

    this blog was more of an observation on the speed that the church moves forward.

  3. @A Boy and his God

    oh, and lastly. that we should be sensitive to the fact that times change, and that methods change. at one time, street corner evangelism was great. people had a strong respect for God and the church, despite their rebellious life. so an encounter with a minister on the street was a very powerful experience.

    but now, i think it takes more than a simple encounter on the street. i think it is important to form more credibility with those we are trying to reach, via relationships.

  4. OOHH, okay. Totally get it now.



  5. i ordered the Jesus action figure for my series in the Gospel of John- The 7 Major Signs/Miracles. Crazy! We will all get a laugh
    Thanks for the post

  6. @Kevin Bordeaux- The Well Community Church

    nice! what was your point did you use with the action figures?