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Books: A Profound Weakness: Christians & Kitsch

July 23, 2010

A Profound Weakness: Christians & Kitsch (2005, B. Spackman, UK: Piquant)

I’ve been reading this excellent book on and off for a few months. Each time, I am once again amazed by its intelligent exploration of Christianity and the arts (and kitsch). It’s very challenging, too, and there’s a good chance that a lot of Christian readers might even feel insulted or uncomfortable by the text. Not that feeling bad is a problem: sometimes the truth hurts! It has taken me so long to read, simply because it is so big, so deep, that I can only absorb it in small doses. However, it addresses several important issues of Christianity, and I highly recommend it.

It is for anyone who has ever stopped to ask about the meanings (both overt and hidden) behind Christmas card imagery, Jesus statues, graveyards, motherhood and Mary, Christian t-shirts, Bible verse embroidery, multimedia presentations in church, church buildings, What Would Jesus Do? bracelets, icons, relics and several other similar areas. The insights regarding Christian art, particularly in the pressure upon artists to deliberately incorporate deliberate Gospel messages in their work, is especially important. I have enjoyed the process of being confronted by this powerful illustrated text.

I just wonder how I can get all the Jesus bumper sticker types at my church to read it! (Before you ask, I do not have any Christian bumper stickers on my car. My theory is that, unless I’m a brilliant and consistently courteous, careful driver, I probably shouldn’t be turning people off Jesus by inadvertently irritating them. What is it with the crooked parking, lane-cutting, unexplained sudden braking driving habits of people with ‘Fear God’ bumper stickers*, anyway?!)

(Links accessed 23 July 2010.)

More information:

http://www.amazon.com/Profound-Weakness-Christians-Kitsch/dp/1903689139/

http://orders.koorong.com/search/product/view.jhtml?code=1903689139

http://word.com.au/details.aspx?ProductID=546404

http://piquanteditions.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=10

*generalisation for humourous purposes only

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6 comments

  1. I was agreeing with this sentence “My theory is that, unless I’m a brilliant and consistently courteous, careful driver, I probably shouldn’t be turning people off Jesus by inadvertently irritating them.” and then I suddenly realised that if you replace ‘driver’ with ‘person’…then I would never tell anyone I was a Christian…just in case…which is unfortunately a bit too true of me sometimes…


  2. Wow! And now, considering the logical implications of what I wrote in light of your thoughts here, I realise that perhaps, once again, I over black-and-whited something that’s more grey than anything. Wow. I must’ve been a bit over-annoyed at the Christian bumper stickered car that was taking up half the last remaining undercover carpark space at the shops. Hmm.

    I must admit to recently kicking myself for my lack of Christian high standards around non-Christians who know I’m a Christian. Sigh!


  3. Hi! I have a mixed opinion on Christian Art ..even bumper stickers .. I have one that simply states “Salvation is by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone” in plain lettering.Some love it,most ignore it & a few have voiced a contrary view,sadly. I admit having it there has caused me to drive a bit slower 😀 My photography website has a couple photos with verses on them, a few with verses or youtube hymn links in the description but most do not. I don’t believe in forcing the issue & I do believe God grants opportunity for witnessing ..we need only be faithfully willing in responding. That said I do believe we should witness , but the gospel is an offense to lost men as it is , we need not personally become offensive in its delivery. My Christian worldview determines what types of art I produce & what I won’t do. I turned down a couple projects based on radical doctrinal differences. I do not think a Christian artist needs to, in every work they produce, include a verse etc. Especially if doing so is somehow forced/manipulated upon them. Sometimes we can give the impression of false piety or that our focus is on marketing and money. We should though be grateful to Him though for our abilities. “Psalms 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”


  4. ‘I probably shouldn’t be turning people off Jesus by inadvertently irritating them. What is it with the crooked parking, lane-cutting, unexplained sudden braking driving habits of people with ‘Fear God’ bumper stickers*, anyway?!)’

    Good point.


  5. @ Nina – thanks for sharing your thoughts! My views on bumper stickers are meant in a lighthearted tone! 🙂 I think as an Aussie I tend to be fairly laid back (it might even look apathetic) and if people want to stick stickers on their car, it’s not a huge deal!

    I hear what you’re saying, though, about not wanting to force the issue! 😀


  6. @ Russ – haha maybe it’s just the drivers in my local area! The insanity of the crush of cars driving in and out of the Christian school car park every morning is quite a stressful experience. I think I’m associating the local Christian radio station’s bumper sticker logo with a sense of pure rage being stuck behind cars trying to get into school!



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