By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
I Am The Enemy
As I sat in the office one day, tapping the Jesus Bobblehead on my desk with my pen while I wore my favorite “Mary is My Homegirl” T-shirt, along with my official Passion of the Christ nail pendant necklace, I received an e-mail notifying me of a recent MSNBC.com article about the latest Christian merchandise.
Christians always have had the dilemma of learning how to trust in a God we cannot see or hear. But now, thanks to a couple in South Dakota, we might just be able to smell his son.
“His Essence” candles were created by Bob and Karen Tosterud and were inspired by Psalm 45:8: “All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia,” apparently referring to the return of Jesus. The candles are made using the ingredients of myrrh, aloe and cassia, which form a cinnamon smell, and “the result is a fragrance which serves as a reminder of his presence,” according the Web site www.hisessence.com.
The candle comes in a 14-ounce jar, burns for 80 to 100 hours and can be yours for $17.95, all a product of what the Tosteruds call a ministry. The couple has sold more than 10,000 candles so far nationwide.
Coming soon from the company is a 40-day devotional, written by Karen Tosterud, which will be intended for use with the candle “to help us deepen our faith and get to know Jesus better.” Jewelry, hand cream, perfume and potpourri are on the way as well.
Other Web sites are also amusing, such as www.dancingjesus.com, which offers the previously mentioned Jesus Bobblehead as well as a Jesus action figure, a dashboard Jesus and Jesus wrapping paper. The action figure has movable arms that “reach toward the heavens and wheels in his base for smooth gliding action.” At least the intentions of the site are made honest with the title “Official Jesus Merchandise (aka Shameless Commerce).” Underneath the title is Ecclesiastes 10:19: “Wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.”
Apparently Christians got the memo, along with non-Christians, who can find believers to exploit. Regardless of whether it is merchandise bought in jest or a tool used as a ministry, people should be careful where they send their money. The merchandising of our savior for commercial gain is a disturbing trend.
God bless capitalism.