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Jesus is my Homeboy, Dawg! Be Hip or Be Square


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.


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Jesus 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.

To Illustrate:

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 TV!”

More Rick Hill Articles

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