#243 – Jedi for Jesus

One of my very dear Internet friends, @spacekicker, shared the above shirt with me yesterday.

When I first saw the shirt I laughed. I love Star Wars shirts and one that also talks about Jesus is pretty amusing. After the initial amusement wore off, though, I realized that the shirt didn’t sit that well with me for some reason.

Obviously I think the people who designed the shirt wanted to have some fun and profess their affection for Jesus and Star Wars at the same time. On the surface it’s not a terrible shirt. I have seen worse Christian shirts that weren’t nearly as amusing and far more offensive.

My biggest problem with the shirt is that it’s not very creative.

It’s takes an existing logo and simply repurposes it for Jesus.

It takes someone else’s idea and simply adds a holy element.

It takes something old and doesn’t make anything new.

The problem with this shirt, and a lot of other Christian shirts, is that they don’t reflect the creativity of the God they purport to celebrate. When God created the universe he didn’t take something old and make nothing new. God began from nothing and expressed his infinite creativity in the universe he created. Everything we see around us, from a blade of grass to binary stars millions of miles away, was entirely new.

God didn’t recycle or repurpose anything.

And that includes us as well. God handcrafted each and every one of us. Now, as we allow him, he is creating something new within each of our lives. He is transforming and shaping our lives into a new creation. God isn’t unoriginal with us so we shouldn’t be unoriginal with him.

And when I see a lot of Christian shirts, I see a lot of unoriginality. I see a lot of corporate logos or popular phrases simply repurposed and given a new Christian coat of paint. Our God deserves more because he does much more than that with each of our lives.

I’m not an artist, though, but I do understand that sometimes it’s easier to take something old instead of creating something new. I have been guilty of that on this blog. I’ve already written a post about Christian shirts and I’ve repurposed posts from an old blog for this blog.

Our God deserves better than that. And now I’ve been convicted about using old posts. If one of my purposes for this blog is to bring glory to God, God is more glorified through my creativity than my recycling.

We should seize every opportunity we have to be creative, however we express our creativity. When we’re creative we reflect the character of God, which is far more glorifying than being a Jedi for Jesus.

How do you express your creativity for God?

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16 Responses to “#243 – Jedi for Jesus”

  1. It’s a good point. I mean, if you’re just being lazy, taking shortcuts, not even attempting to be creative etc. then that’s not glorifying to God. But in another sense, isn’t it true that there’s “nothing new under the sun”? As humans there’s a limit to how creative we can be; everything we do comes from something else, and builds on pre-existing things, as well as the the work and thoughts of others; only God can create ex nihilo.

    Still, that isn’t excuse to not try to be as creative as we can.

    • My old blog was titled “Nothing New Under the Sun”.

      Obviously no Christians are going to come up with new ideas about faith or new chords for music. But I think we should strive to create something as new as possible instead of copying something that already exists. We should be free-hand drawers for Jesus instead of tracers.

  2. Well said.

  3. I think that “Intention” plays a huge role in any art. Art can be very subjective in my opinion. Someone could buy the shirt as a clever way to evangelize, or maybe it’s their stand at school (which I had done with christian shirts when I was high school). A line in the sand that tells others what I believe, or who I believe in. If it bothers you obviously you don’t buy it, but it shouldn’t take away the intrinsic value said art has for the wearer, or the maker. Some young star wars christian could find this empowering. Heck, it could open up dialogue between people that would never talk about Jesus in the first place (power in the name!)

    But there is a trend of “mashing up” existing materials. Whether it’s Doctor Who smashing into a Delorean. Or calvin and Hobbes made up to look like characters from Firefly. Mash-ups can be fun for what they are, and instead of being lazy, could just be the artist’s attempt of combining two things they love.

    I agree that God gives us creativity, and we should try to BE CREATIVE with it. But Christians have repurposed things forever (Christmas and Easter to name a couple). It is God’s to begin with, attributing the honor and integrity of a Jedi Knight with Jesus is kind of a cool lesson at some superficial level. Oh I could go on and on. Love the blog, and the article. Definitely a great thing to think and meditate on.

    • I agree with everything you say.

      If some Christian wants to wear this shirt as the expression of his or her faith, I am all for it. As I stated, there are a lot of Christian shirts with which I take more issue, and this one is basically harmless.

      The deeper issue for me, though, is that a lot of Christian culture seems to just be a copy of something secular with a Christian twist. In the Family Christian Stores catalog it said, “Do you like Coldplay? Then listen to such and such band.” Instead of trying to sound like someone else or recreate an existing logo, we should strive for creativity because I think that better reflects God’s character.

      As I was writing this post I thought about Christians repurposing Christmas and Easter. I started down that path but it was too big an issue to resolve in a small rabbit trail. I’ve got some thoughts somewhere but they’re not all together yet.

      Thanks for your response and the impetus for the idea.

  4. One of my biggest pet peeves about some of the Christian wear that’s out there is that they are exactly what you said, a play on something already out there.

    While in seminary, I worked at a Christian bookstore. In 04 we had a shirt that said “Jesus died for Pedro” referring to Napoleon Dynamite. Or it had the coke symbol by said Christ. The same was with music. There were a number of bands that weren’t artistic in what they did but instead tried to be an already existing sound. I’d have a number of people coming in and ask “Do you have a Christian version of…” and then name a band. My favorite was “Do you have a Christian version of Wake Me When September Ends?” The lady got mad at me when I told her that was a war protest song.

    When I look for a Christian shirt, I look for ones that aren’t knock offs of other logos, etc but instead what is more artistically interesting and/or original. These, sadly, are hard to find.

    Keep up this blog, loving it.

  5. jason taylor Says:

    Novelty is not the primary virtue in other areas of life and it never was regarded as a particular virtue in storytelling until recently. And a story about a farm boy, a princess, a Black Knight, and an Evil Emperor do not clearly form an example of originality. If anything one of the reasons why people like Star Wars is that the original didn’t give a hoot about originality because it wanted to tell a story.

    • This is a good point, but I think there’s a distinction between novelty and creativity. My objection above is really about novelty as well, but creativity is different.

      Part of being created in God’s image means, for humans, having the capacity to create themselves, whereas no other creatures can. Thus we should create things and be creative to reflect the creative nature of the creator (but we don’t have to be novel).

  6. jason taylor Says:

    How about one for Traveller fans:

    Imperial Intersteller Scout Service agents for Jesus!

  7. jason taylor Says:

    Or another one for Traveller: Free Traders for Jesus!

  8. I like the way you write. Awesome, keep it up.

  9. You share tons of interesting info, neat and excellent design you’ve got here. It’s certainly one of the most informative stuff on this topic I’ve ever read.

  10. [...] it is my favorite even so:This one puzzles me……even more than this one:And here is the evidence that some find that their identity as Christians and as Star Wars fans intersects:   So what do [...]

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