Update: Some Jew (just following his instructions) wrote me about his confusion regarding the "Full Out or Get Out" T-shirt. He's not too familiar with Christianese, and wondered just what that might be about. His initial impression was that it referred to an acceptable form of birth control. I'll let my readers supply their own versions of the mechanics involved for such a method.
Just got back from our Branson, MO trip a little while ago. We spent the day at Silver Dollar City
, which is an amusement park near Branson. It's theme is American pioneer, and it works surprisingly well. There's an Exposition section that's modeled - loosely - on the St. Louis World's Fair, some Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn stuff, a lumber camp, etc. They focus quite a bit on showing artisans working with the same tools and methods of 100-150 years ago, with candy-making, pottery, glass blowing, basket weaving, etc. Cool stuff, especially for my daughter.
This weekend was also Young Christians' Weekend
*; I never did figure out if that referred to a specific organization or was just a way to tell all the youth groups in the Bible Belt that they could get a discount on tickets. Silver Dollar City actually has church services every Sunday in their Wilderness Church, which is one of the several buildings they've dismantled and placed on the property - usually as a way to save them from development, so that's not really a bad thing. Today the Young Christians' Weekend had a church service in the big amphitheater, which worked out really well for the rest of us. The park wasn't nearly as crowded during that service, and I especially liked how we hardly waited in line for lunch.
There's a few things I need to say about T-shirts:
- One shirt noted that "To some people God is a nobody. Well, Nobody is perfect!" That's not even clever at the first impression. It's not a point, it's not a rebuttal. T-shirts like that are why Richard Dawkins can be so smug.
- If you are riding a rollercoaster at Silver Dollar City as part of Young Christians' Weekend, then you are not a "Rebel with a cause," even if you do have a picture of a cross in the background. You are not a rebel at all, nor are you "extreme" in any way. Unless you buy a lot of merchandise or chain-drink frozen lemonades or something, then I suppose you might be "extreme."
- For those whose T-shirts exhort struggling Christians to be "Full out or get out," remember that Jesus never told anyone to be an asshole. This is especially true of youth pastors, and critical to recall when those youth pastors are designing a motto for the youth group that comes with a T-shirt.
- If your T-shirt features the exact logo of a well-known product and changes the words to express some sort of Christian sentiment, you are officially lame. There was a period of time - 1988-1993 on the Coasts, 1994-1997 everywhere else - when this was an acceptable use of Gen X/Y irony. Unfortunately for most people, this irony began and ended with the "God's Gym" line of T-shirts. Everything else has always been dumb. Do not buy them; people will make fun of you.
*Did you notice the Bible verse listed at the top of the link? One of the most persistent ironies of youth ministry in the USA is that people who put together youth programs and events insist upon labeling as "counter cultural" the activities that most
resemble American culture at large.