Wait. Testamints, video games, action figures, jewelry … where's the books? The National Post's Corbin Andrews doesn't offer any unique observations, but it's a fun story. The bottom line: "Evangelicals are increasingly using such non-traditional devices to take the Gospel message to the marketplace, hoping to reach out to the conspicuous consumers and pop-culture addicts of North America by updating the Christian message. The goal is to repackage Christianity in a form that better addresses today's accelerated culture. But many are concerned that Christianity is being overrun with consumerism. As Christians try harder to appear relevant by flooding the market with specialty items, the real content of the gospel is being cheapened." But the best line goes to Larry Eskridge, associate director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, who is quoted in the story. "I once saw a store selling ties with lizard prints on them," he tells the paper. "And then it had the words ' Iguana be like Jesus' superimposed on it. Is that really the best way to present the Gospel?" See Christianity Today Managing Editor Mark Galli's take on the sometimes embarrassing Christian Booksellers Association world here.
The National Post also has a related story focusing on Christian video games, particularly those made by WisdomTree. "Conservative Christians are historically suspicious of anything that looks like fun," explains Neil MacQueen, president of Sunday School Software, so there aren't too many Christian games out there. And those that are, like WisdomTree's, aren't exactly cutting edge. They're making games for Nintendo—that's the original Nintendo—as well as Game Boy, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis. No Nintendo 64, no Sony Playstation, no Sega Dreamcast. They might as well be churning out Atari 2600 games. But apparently people are still buying the WisdomTree games. Even if they're also confusing. "When I booted up the game [Bible Adventures], all that appeared was an intro screen quoting scripture from Exodus. Don't get me wrong—I find the Old Testament quite uplifting. But it doesn't have much to tell gamers about how to duck, jump and run. One of the weirder aspects of Bible Adventures is that pressing the CTRL button makes your character throw Baby Moses across the screen like a football. This does no harm to Moses—you can pick him up again, unharmed—but I never figured out why the feature was included. I assumed at first that Moses could be used as a sort of Holy Hand Grenade to smite my enemies. I quickly found, however, that the Pharaoh's guards were immune to my savage Baby Moses attacks."
… but we're not included. Maybe that's a good thing. Newly launched Christianity.com is dismissed as "[Pat] Robertson's brand of Christianity … not a place where all Christians will feel welcome." IBelieve.com is "the most annoying spiritual strip mall. … Frequently, links that appear to offer free access to inspirational materials turn out to be dead-end pitches to buy something." But religion writer David Crumm really likes Gospelcom.net, and praises Beliefnet.com for folks who want a multifaith experience. Hmmm. Their common link: having a confusing name (com.net/net.com). Should ChristianityToday.com become eduChristianitynetTodayorg.com?
Since I just mentioned and linked to almost all of the other Christian Web sites out there, I should probably mention that our corporate site has just relaunched. You've probably already seen the changes to our corporate page, which used to be ChristianityOnline.com and is now ChristianityToday.com (the magazine's site, which was ChristianityToday.com, is now available at ChristianityToday.com/ctmag/). See the changes here.
The Evangelical Alliance Wales, CARE and the Christian Institute are uniting against a sex fair in Cardiff. "The presentation of sex as a commodity for sale and experimentation is exploitative and will in no way enhance the quality of community life within and beyond the home," Alfred Godding, general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance Wales, tells the BBC. The Christian Institute's site has a special area for the protests, including press clippings, press releases, and reports from what happened when the touring Xsensual fair went to Newcastle last month.
See our past Weblog updates:
Copyright © 2000 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.