is My Homeboy
by Richard Hill, Ph.D.
Why is Madonna wearing Jesus is my Homeboy fashion accessories?
Why are ministers with blogs posting rap sermons with “Jesus
is My Homeboy” as the punchline? Why is a company called
Teenage Millionaire making mega-bucks selling “Jesus is
My Homeboy” and “Mary is My Homegirl” casual
wear? And why are young Christians replacing their worn “Eternity:
Smoking or Non?” T-shirts with bare-midriff “JC is
my HB” tee-shirts?
Does all the Jesus is my Homeboy hoopla illustrate a society dancing
on the muddy shore as the mother of all spiritual and/or cultural
Tsunamis approaches? Or is this a sincere attempt to show spiritual
engagement in contemporary terms?
The great thing about the Jesus is My Homeboy phenomenon from
a marketing standpoint—whether the marketing is a serious
attempt at Christian witness or a cynical sales gimmick—is
the potential for self-righteous reaction AND self-righteous indignation.
1. Jesus is My Homeboy Reaction: “Blasphemy!” “Jesus
is a savior, not a pal!” “Jesus doesn’t belong
on a tee-shirt!”
2. Jesus is My Homeboy Indignation at Reaction: “What? You
got something against Jesus?” “What, you got something
against youth?” “What, you such a Pharisee that you
can’t allow the people to seek Christ from where they are,
as Paul instructed his followers to do?”<
We could go on and on, but the bottom line is that we live—whether
we like it or not—in a kitschy consumer culture. Jesus could
relate: he walked the earth in a time when the temple looked like
a flea market, with money-changers, white-dove bargain stalls,
and other BC equivalents of “Jesus is my Homeboy”
marketing. But interestingly, that’s the very era when he
chose to make his appearance.
But what to DO about this “Jesus is my Homeboy” in-your-face
cultural phenomenon? It doesn’t matter, really, unless you’re
actually a Christian. But if you do believe Jesus is your Lord
and Savior, if you’re actually reading your Bible, attending
church, and making a sincere effort to practice Christ’s
teachings in your life, then try one of the following options:
Option 1: Be Hip. Go ahead, take a pop-culture bath in your spare
time. Sport a Jesus is my Homeboy hooded sweat, with “Jesus
is my ROCK AND I’m on his ROLL” tee-shirt underneath.
Slap a “Got Jesus?” bumper sticker on your car, and
tie a WWJD bracelet on both wrists and both ankles. As long as
you stay on the spiritual path, wear the consumer gear like a
loose garment as it were, and remember that the Option 2 Christians
below are your brothers and sisters in Christ no matter how uptight
they seem, all will be well.
Option 2: Be Square. Ignore the kitschy deluge. Spend your money
and time helping widows and orphans. And while you’re at
it, give the benefit of the doubt to young Christians with tattoos,
lip rings, and expensive Jesus-is-my Homeboy drapery. Who knows?
Maybe all that fashion-conscious conformity doesn’t really
matter in the long run.
Above all, quit agitating yourself about “Jesus is My Homeboy”
and the rest of the pop-culture bath if it bothers you so much.
Get your nose out of the internet and into your Bible. As Weird
Al Yankovich explained, in a very serious, contrite tone, before
introducing his ridiculously irreverent “Amish Paradise”
video, “I’d just like to say to any Amish who might
be offended by this video . . . . . . what the heck are you DOING,
watching this anyhow? You’re not even supposed to HAVE a
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