Friday, March 30, 2007

What were they thinking?

T-Shirts in Tongues
Originally uploaded by Paul Grant.

I ripped this picture from These people are selling an insider's joke: glossalia, or speaking in tongues. The intent is probably to provoke, while maintaining a posture of being an insider, in the know.

This is cool Christianity 101: Christianity is very difficult to cool up, period.

Accordingly, Christians committed to cool quite often end up in a position of mocking the faith. Christianity is way easier to make fun of than unbelief, because Christians don't wrap themselves in blankets of attitude.

But my question is: Mocking or otherwise, exactly what was the mindset of the creators of holy-ghost T-shirts? I'd love to hear your opinions, because this one stumps me.

P.S. I've posted this image in the Uncool Flickr group. If you've got your own pictures to share, either of coolness and uncoolness, or related topics, join the pool!


At 7:44 PM, March 30, 2007, Blogger jdsiv3 said...

Such a shirt to me seems quite odd... a mockery really, I don't quite get it, but maybe that's because I am not cool enough

At 2:58 PM, April 04, 2007, Anonymous daniel so said...

Irony seems to be all the rage in young, hipster circles - Christian or otherwise. Often, I'll see the latest bands my students listen to on MTV2 or the Fuse and, though they might be a pop-punk/emo band, a band member or two will be sporting an 80's hair-metal band t-shirt.

I agree that people seem to use irony to stand both inside and outside of whatever is the object of their derision. It's almost like testing the waters -- if someone else laughs, then the first person can laugh along as well ("Oh, of course I think they're ridiculous!"); if the other person expresses genuine appreciation for it, then the first person can reveal his/her true feelings about it ("But secretly I like it").

As Christians, there are certainly legitimate uses for satire -- but I worry when we start to follow this line of detached, ironic thinking as a means of achieving "coolness."

At 3:11 PM, April 04, 2007, Blogger daniel so said...

By the way, the guy with the hat (from the t-shirt photo) looks a lot like Jus Rhyme from the (White) Rapper Show. Go figure :)

At 3:55 PM, April 04, 2007, Anonymous Paul Grant said...

Hi Daniel: Jesus, of course, used sarcasm in debates--but only against cynical opponents. I don't think irony is a spiritual fruit in general.

oh and Jus Rhyme's mug is here, for comparison's sake.


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