Jesus junk mail.
September 9, 2002 6:53 PM   Subscribe

Jesus junk mail. (As an update to last year's Texas story) Every household in South Carolina will receive a videocassette of a bad film about Jesus this week. The Special 9-11 Remembrance Edition features an introduction by three members of the NY Fire Dept. Regardless of how you feel about Jesus H., isn't there a better film to send to every household in South Carolina?
posted by found missing (45 comments total)

 
A woman on NPR this morning said the Jesus video saved her failing teenage marriage and prevented her husband from committing suicide. Still, if it has to be an uplifting film in which someone nice dies at the end, I prefer Harold and Maude.
posted by found missing at 7:01 PM on September 9, 2002


Great use of money. Perhaps they could have used those millions of dollars to ... oh... say... provide food and shelter for the poor?
posted by EmoChild at 7:02 PM on September 9, 2002


*makes mental note to tell the Jesus Project they can send my video to some nice family in North Carolina or Georgia*
posted by octobersurprise at 7:18 PM on September 9, 2002


Wow, after lugging bags filled with VHS cassettes around all day I'm sure the mailcarriers of South Carolina will be left in a very christian mood by the end of their shift.
I get the feeling a lot of those videos will end up floating down nearby streams.

I wonder if the homeless or those who can't afford things like VCRs will also get a tape. You would think they could use the money spent on the cassette and postage far more...
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:20 PM on September 9, 2002


They did a similar thing in Alabama a few years back. A friend of mine has the Jesus video to prove it.
posted by eilatan at 7:25 PM on September 9, 2002


Still, if it has to be an uplifting film in which someone nice dies at the end, I prefer Harold and Maude.

Or Old Yeller.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:25 PM on September 9, 2002


>Great use of money. Perhaps they could have used those millions of dollars to ... oh... say... provide food and
>shelter for the poor?

Actually, the various churches connected with this already give quite a bit for food & shelter for the poor, so it's more of a case of helping the poor and giving the video, not one or the other. Still, if they're going to send a Jesus video, it's a shame they picked such a lame one, although for bad casting nothing beats seeing "The Greatest Story Ever Told", with a rather grim, heavily accented Max von Sydow as Jesus (Der meek vil inherit der earth!). Most critics tend to prefer the far better Jesus of Nazareth.
posted by unreason at 7:27 PM on September 9, 2002


Of course, they promise the video will change my life. Maybe I'll step right up after all.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:30 PM on September 9, 2002


They did a similar thing in Alabama a few years back. A friend of mine has the Jesus video to prove it.

I received the Alabama Jesus video. Watched it, actually "MST3ked" it mostly, then I tried to use it to record Real Sex 13(?), you know, the one where they have Ron Jeremy and the Real Doll.

Salvation is at hand indeed.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:33 PM on September 9, 2002


Jesus DIES??? Well, that's just great. Thanks for blowing the ending. How about a damn "Spoiler Alert" next time, huh?
posted by Optamystic at 7:35 PM on September 9, 2002


I'd love to sneak a few copies of "The Life of Brian" into the mailbags.
posted by Optamystic at 7:36 PM on September 9, 2002


Jesus DIES??? Well, that's just great. Thanks for blowing the ending. How about a damn "Spoiler Alert" next time, huh?

It's OK, he doesn't really die. Oops, sorry, SPOILER ALERT.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:38 PM on September 9, 2002


Actually, the various churches connected with this already give quite a bit for food & shelter for the poor, so it's more of a case of helping the poor and giving the video, not one or the other.

No, it's a case of helping the poor and giving the video as opposed to helping the poor more and not giving the video. WWJD? Not make the god damned video and give the money to the poor.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:42 PM on September 9, 2002


It's OK, he doesn't really die

Look, matey, I know a dead messiah when I see one, and
I'm looking at one right now.
O: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable savior, the Jesus of Nazereth, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!
C: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.
O: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!
C: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up!
(shouting at the cage)
'Ello, Mister Jesus Christ! I've got a some lovely loaves and fishes for ye!
O: There, he ressurected...
posted by Optamystic at 7:47 PM on September 9, 2002


So, it's a case of helping the poor and giving the video as opposed to helping the poor more and not giving the video. WWJD? Not make the god damned video and give the money to the poor.

Actually, I suspect Jesus would do both. If you read the bible, you'll see that Jesus divided his time between helping the poor and preaching. He did both, the philosophy being that both the spiritual and the physical well being of the person is important. So it's not unreasonable for a church to both give to the poor and distribute the video.
posted by unreason at 7:53 PM on September 9, 2002


Welcome to the Bible Belt! The Charlotte (NC) Observer had a story about a woman who bakes cakes and adds some scripture to the mix. She covers each cake with plastic wrap and tops it with her address and a sticker, each one with a different Bible verse.

Second question they ask after your name around these parts is what church you attend. The videotapes don't surprise me...

P.S. Was that a good link Hildago? I kept it off the front page just for you. Bless your heart.
posted by Macboy at 7:54 PM on September 9, 2002


C: Look, I took the liberty of examining Jesus when I got him home, and I discovered the only reason that he had been standing on his cross in the first place was that he had been NAILED there.
posted by Silune at 8:00 PM on September 9, 2002


I beg to differ --- Jesus' preaching cost him nothing but effort whereas production and distribution the video in question probably cost some serious mammon. That same mammon could be used to provide for a believer's physical well-being (perhaps even simple, meager survival) instead of assuring the spiritual well-being of those fortunate enough to receive religious guidance from the orifice of their VCR.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:00 PM on September 9, 2002


They're adapting the available media to follow the "Great Commission" of the risen Jesus to His followers (Matt. 28:19): "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit." (Nice to know that Sunday school was good for something, I guess.) Next, they'll be spamming us with .ram and QuickTime files, right?
posted by alumshubby at 8:00 PM on September 9, 2002


Let them send the tapes if they want. I'm also sure that the parishioners would think its a great idea, even if its pointed out, with copious proof that they could feed some number of additional families for a year.

Most of the people I work with are hard core Christians, they attend Promise Keeper meetings, protest Harry Potter and provide biblical proof that all of Afghanistan should've been leveled with nuclear weapons. From talking with them I've learned that spiritual health is much more important than physical health.

If you've got a choice between feeding a person now and possibly converting them to Christianity later or converting a person now and possibly having them starve to death tomorrow then the choice is clear: Salvation first, sustenance second.

Not everybody is like that, but an awful lot of the people I do work with are.
posted by substrate at 8:01 PM on September 9, 2002


Two days later half of those are going to be used to record WWE RAW.
posted by skallas at 8:01 PM on September 9, 2002


alumshubby --- and IT geeks are eevil pawns of Satan for their demonic hell-firewalls.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:08 PM on September 9, 2002


I beg to differ --- Jesus' preaching cost him nothing but effort whereas production and distribution the video in question probably cost some serious mammon.

Well, look at it this way. Jesus can cure the sick. let's say he can cure 6 sick people in an hour. Let's further say, for the sake of argument, that he spends 5 hours each day preaching, 5 hours curing the sick. Now, by your logic, he should spend all his time curing the sick, which would lead to 30 additional cured people. So Jesus did give up some of the opportunity to help physically to help spiritually. And that's resonable. Let's take you, for example. I'll assume that you give a certain portion of your money to charity. Howver, you don't give all of your money. You also buy PC's and pay the ISP and whatnot. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that. You're giving in moderation. So if it's ok to give some and keep the rest of what you have, why isn't it ok to give it all, but in different ways?
posted by unreason at 8:13 PM on September 9, 2002


If your physical body is going to die no matter how carefully you try to maintain it, and you believe you have an immortal soul to place in safekeeping somehow, which is more important -- physical or spiritual health?
posted by alumshubby at 8:16 PM on September 9, 2002


... isn't there a better film to send to every household in South Carolina?

Yes: Shag.
posted by fredosan at 8:21 PM on September 9, 2002


I’ve spent the summer in Greenville, South Carolina - and I gotta tell ya - people are screwy with the Jesus stuff down here.

You can’t go out for a drink on Friday or Saturday in downtown without having several different encounters with various Christian folks trying to witness to you. They range from glassy eyed teens that chant around a drum circle to your run of the mill, screaming street preachers.

I’ve had all sorts of weird encounters with them - One night, last week, as I was stepping out of a bar I almost tripped over some big white guy who was crouched by the door. I asked if he was okay and he explained to me that he was praying - thanking god for closing a downtown bar (it’s closed for renovations) and asking god to "give" his church group a building in downtown where they could hold youth events.

This guy was very rehearsed - at one point he asked me if I'd like to get a cup of coffee so he could tell me all I wanted to know about Jesus. I suddenly felt like he was coming on to me, like he was some over eager schoolboy with a hard on -- pushing and pawing at some girl after school, under the bleachers.

Down boy, I thought. Sometimes these guys just want to pop your spiritual cherry.

Christian pamphlets litter the streets of Greenville. I’ve actually collected up quite a few - at least a dozen separate ones. The twin towers explode under the heading, "What if you were here?" A knight on horseback points a blood-drenched sword at the reader, the title reads, "The Blood and the Beauty." Winged angles, floating in the sky, dump goblets of blood on to the earth as cities burn and people run in terror. It really is beautiful stuff to behold. Sadly I haven’t come across any Chick Tracts yet.

In downtown Greenville there is an alleyway where someone has spray painted "God Cares" - to which someone has added an "s" in front of the "cares" part. Who says graffiti artists aren’t clever?

A few weeks back I was sitting at home when I saw two young boys stop their bikes and run up our front steps, where the left an anonymous looking envelope. They then got back on their bikes and did the same thing to the neighbor’s house. What was in the envelope? You guessed it - Christian propaganda. I was gorilla witnessed too.

I should have called the CDC or DHEC or the FBI. I can see the headlines now: "Christian Propaganda puts authorities on alert" or "Suspicious envelope turns out to be Christian pamphlets"

I gotta say that in those jerks in the middle have nothing on South Carolina’s religious nuts. Anyone can blow people up - it takes a special caliber of religious nut to try and save them.
posted by wfrgms at 8:28 PM on September 9, 2002


"Look, mate... if we hadn't nailed 'im up there, he would have muscled up to those money changers and VOOM!"
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:34 PM on September 9, 2002


I'll assume that you give a certain portion of your money to charity. Howver, you don't give all of your money.

Actually I'm unemployed and have less than $30 in my checking account at the moment, and student loans staring me in the face; I'm seriously considering going back to school if not just for a temporary reprieve on payment. The only reason I'm able to post here is due to the kindness of my parents, but I earn my keep through sweat equity. When I did have a regular job, I gave to organizations which I feel do real, practical good (Doctors Without Borders, mainly). I know you didn't know this, only pointing it for reference.

And to counter: My life and mission is not to help people. The last time I checked, Christianity kinda had a thing with caring for the poor, the weak, and the needy. And the funny thing about caring is that it tends to be a sermon in itself.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:37 PM on September 9, 2002


Optamystic, silune, Ryland -

Best. Monty Python references. Ever.
posted by yhbc at 8:37 PM on September 9, 2002


I was gorilla witnessed too.

I really, really like the mental image this conjures up.
posted by hippugeek at 8:49 PM on September 9, 2002


And the funny thing about caring is that it tends to be a sermon in itself.

You're missing the point. To a Christian, preaching can be another form of caring, just as valid as caring for the physical. That's why most churches do both..
posted by unreason at 8:51 PM on September 9, 2002


This Jesus wouldn't Vroom if you put 5,000 volts through him!

Salvation First, sustenance Later unless of course you believe that salvation comes from within and you worship dolphins as fun loving creatures of the sea and the way that life is supposed to be.

We must always ask ourselves, WWJD
posted by MaddCutty at 9:00 PM on September 9, 2002


Jesus' preaching cost him nothing but effort

Well, there was the small price of bearing the sins of the entire world and having God turn His back on him. Oh yeah, the Romans killed him too.

Fortunately, he did get better.
posted by kindall at 9:14 PM on September 9, 2002


unreason: If you read the bible, you'll see that Jesus divided his time between helping the poor and preaching.

He preached to crowds who gathered to hear him, he didn't spam people with video cassettes. There's a difference in that public speaking is literally free (other than the opportunity cost of not going to work, etc) and many of his sermons ended with mythological miracles. This tape, no matter how well produced will be poignant as Jesus's original sermons nor will produce any mythological miracles. I dont think the strict Catholic (to use an example) requirements to prove a miracle has ever been applied to videotape. This is proselytizing to those who may or may not want to hear the message and has little in common with the methods described in the gospel.

alum: If your physical body is going to die no matter how carefully you try to maintain it, and you believe you have an immortal soul to place in safekeeping somehow, which is more important -- physical or spiritual health?

I would think your priorities are wrong. Even a marginal gain in health can prevent future disease. Increasing the quality of say soup line meals, providing vitamins, providing access to healthcare, etc could lower the risk of the nasty diseases the homeless are prone to. And it probably could have been done for the price of this video spam. I wonder how many people who gave money to these churches knew it was going to be used this way? I like to give my charity money to organizations without priorities invested into invisible men in the sky. At the very least, if I'm terribly wrong about being non-religious, its a lot more practical for all concerned.

Secondly, how far can you take this position? Should the Christian Scientist be allowed to deny children in their care medicine they badly need? The martyr allowed to blow himself up for the promise of heaven? It looks like the 'heaven before earth' ideal is a lame rationalization for things which would be considered literally insane without the framework and popularity of established religion.
posted by skallas at 9:17 PM on September 9, 2002


Nothing wrong with soup lines and vitamins. As one rabbi said in a Torah commentary, "Look after your own soul and the other man's belly."
posted by alumshubby at 9:21 PM on September 9, 2002


skallas: It's pretty much a given that when you give money to a church, they're going to use some of it for missionary work along with the charity. So the donors know what they're getting into. I'm not wild about the video either, though. First, it seems kinda pushy, although I suppose you could always just not watch it. Mainly, though, I think that if you want to interest someone into being a Christian, you should let 'em have the actual Bible, not some weird fundamentalist's interpretation of it. Give 'em the book, and let them decide for themselves if they want to read it, and if they do, how they should interpret it. That's what the Gideons (The people who leave Bibles in hotel rooms) do, and it works out pretty well. Thanks to them, you can find a Bible pretty much whenever you want it, but if you're not interested, you don't have to read it. It seems like a sound approach, and one that lets people make up their own minds.
posted by unreason at 9:30 PM on September 9, 2002


Nice to see a religious thread conducted in such good faith.... and good humour!
(",)
posted by dash_slot- at 9:45 PM on September 9, 2002


may i point out that he is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy.

i hope this clears up any confusion.
posted by quarsan at 11:24 PM on September 9, 2002


Talk about preaching to the choir...South Carolina? How many people in that state are not already Christians? 4? I suspect this campaign is less about conversion and more about whipping themselves into a collective lather.

I live in the other Carolina. It isn't much better, but a little. I'm trying to get out of here, though, before my son starts to absorb the poison. Back north of the old Mason-Dixon for me.

I was driving the other day and saw a bumper sticker that said "I'm the guy that Satan and the liberal media warned you about."
posted by Shike at 4:23 AM on September 10, 2002


I saw that same sticker at my local Sam's Club.

I don't know why the video is such a big deal. It's a free country. People can choose to not watch the video, or pop some popcorn and enjoy a movie. And face it, a lot of Jesus movies have been made, and as far as I know most of them were expected to turn a profit. Somebody had to be watching them.
I hate churchianity as much as the next person, but I have a feeling that most Jesus mockery has been based less on Jesus himself than on people's perception of His followers.
But we already knew that humans aren't perfect.
posted by konolia at 6:35 AM on September 10, 2002


This particular Jesus video was distributed all throughout Middle Tennessee a few years back. Not so good to watch, but really great for napping to. Just put that mother on, and you're out like a light. Better than a gin & Sleepytime Theraflu.
posted by mikrophon at 7:19 AM on September 10, 2002


How many people in that state are not already Christians? 4?

There's a lot more of us, actually. We meet underground and identify each other by secret signs.

can choose to not watch the video

Of course I can choose not to watch the movie, Konolia. But don't I get a choice to receive it or not, too?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:27 AM on September 10, 2002


If you've got a choice between feeding a person now and possibly converting them to Christianity later or converting a person now and possibly having them starve to death tomorrow then the choice is clear: Salvation first, sustenance second.


kind of like the whole toture-them-til-they-convert-then-kill-them method. i like.

if salvation is so much more important, why aren't Christians killing their children while still innocent?


and having God turn His back on him
i'm hoping god turns his back on me too so i can be resurrected and ascend to heaven.
posted by tolkhan at 7:36 AM on September 10, 2002


For some reason, back when they did this in Texas, I received 42 copies of the film. I taped a lot of porn on those films, and no one questions what's on them. My mother-in-law comes over for dinner, sees Jesus on the shelf, and assumes I'm being a good boy.
posted by bradth27 at 7:38 AM on September 10, 2002


What I don't get is the Christian bathroom graffitti. Why, if you're trying to do God's work, would you associate yourself with the same people who deface walls with "kill the gays" or pictures of dicks, by adding "Jesus Saves" to the mix?
posted by Foosnark at 9:30 AM on September 10, 2002


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