Yeah, well, so what? One of our astute readers here at TeamPyro made this comment in response to the the new t-shirt design I have thrown together:
I must say something, and I truly do it in all humility.Now, before the fireworks begin, let’s make sure I agree with all the excellent points that were made here. By a long shot, it is far more important that we express the Gospel, support the church locally and globally, and that we stand for unity in truth, than it is to buy one of our little trinkets that are doing so well with the readers.
First off, I love visiting this blog. I especially find James Spurgeon's posts insightful and edifying. Having said that...
I really wish that the Pyromaniacs blog wouldn't give into the temptation to "market"themselves and further fleece the flock by selling t-shirts and other logo-laden merchandise. Doesn't this just add to the whole atmosphere of consumerism and materialism that plagues the Church already? Why not encourage your readers to give to missions instead, especially those in the unreached 10/40 window? America is just so wasteful, especially in the Church.
You guys really do seem to have your fingers on the pulse of the Church when it comes to what we need to hear doctrinally, and yet there is a whole separate area, one in which the Church is failing miserably, that you could use your highly visited blog to address and impact for the positive.
There is a small, new ministry called "Good Measure International" that is selling t-shirts for $15 that say something like, "My t-shirt helped feed a hungry child for a month, what did your t-shirt do?"All the proceeds from the shirts go to ministries who minister the Gospel and help meet the physical needs of the poor. Now THAT's a worthy t-shirt and money well spent.
I don't mean to be a downer on this light posting, but I just had that on my heart to share.
Thank you for always sticking your necks out, and thank you for letting me do the same.
In fact, the point is so critical that I’m going to drop some links in here from my own blog which have been there for, well, at least since last summer:
This is the “Gospel Practicum", folks. Get after it. If you’re just toddling along with your Bible open and you go the church 3 times a week plus your gender-specific Bible study, and you blog about Jesus, but that doesn’t turn into something where some person is getting something personally from you which we can call “love" in the Gospel sense, you’re getting is all wrong.
And for the record, I can’t find a link to “good measure international", but the three I listed here are relief organizations which are Christ-centered and have good ratings with Charity Navigator.
So what’s that got to do with the cess pool which is CBA? Well, let’s look at some current t-shirt designs from the CBA marketplace, shall we?
For those who can’t make it out, the scripture references are “He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says..."(Revelation 3:22) and “My sheep listen to my voice I know them and they follow me."(John 10:27) This T is produced by an organization in Berryville, AR, named “Kerusso"(which you may or may not take offense to). And let me be clear: they make a quality product from a retail standpoint. The Ts are nice weight, and the colors are always great – good looking stuff.
‘K? And I sell these things in my store, so whatever complaint I’m about to pony up, I’m in the boat with the guys at Kerusso.
Now, what’s the point of buying this particular t-shirt? Rather than tease you, let me suggest that the right reason for buying this t-shirt is that it looks good on you. That’s all: if it looks good on you, and you have $15 laying around, and you need a T, brother or sister, there’s nothing stopping you from buying this t-shirt.
But if that’s the point in buying this t-shirt, then let me say that anyone who buys this shirt because they think it makes them some kind of a Christian is significantly self-deluded. Same for putting the fish on your car. Same for reading this blog for that matter. You are not a “better"Christian, or a any kind of “adjective" Christian, because you are doing business – intellectual, retail, whatever – with other Christians and the stuff your pass back and forth has a verse on it or a fish or a celtic trinity symbol or whatever.
See: you are a Christian when you follow the Gospel. And anyone who tells you that their T-shirt helps you follow the Gospel … you should run away from them. They are clearly trying to sell you something, and I’m willing to go out on a limb and say it’s not just a t-shirt. It has something to do with "BUST HILL", but I'm not going to open up a controversy inside a controversy.
The t-shirts at the pawn shop? They don’t help you follow the Gospel. The only reason they have any scripture references on them is because those verses are in the premises of the blog – not because wearing them gives you any kind of an opportunity to preach and teach. If you wear one, you're a groupie -- becuase who else would wear a t-shirt with a blog logo on it besides a groupie?
Is it wrong to be a groupie? Only if you, for example, start calling us at work or start leaving messages for us with our employees.
The dreck at the pawn shop is over-priced – and it’s not because Phil’s licensing fee is so high. It’s because CaféPress has confiscatory vendor pricing. I make $3 on the black Ts which are priced at $21.99 – and “make", btw, is a euphemism for “which I then spend monthly to keep the pawn shop open, because the only profit I ever made from the CafePress store was the T I just bought for myself last week".
It is part of the punch line, folks. I really hate it when we have to deconstruct all of the gags and ironies and snide bits of social satire, but the whole point of the TeamPyro shop is to say, “this is not even close to the ‘good stuff’". If you’re reading this blog to be more “relevant" because you can show everyone you wear the t-shirt, I say “re-read this blog. I think you didn’t ‘get it’ on first pass."
Now, look: it costs me about $7 a month to perpetrate this gag, and to date I haven’t received a single check from CafePress. I bought a black “stoner"T from my shop with $17.99 + shipping, and frankly I don’t have any guilt over that. I needed a new shirt to work out in, and it is 100% serviceable. I gave away a t-shirt last month, and if we sell 2 more shirts this month I’ll give another away – because it’s fun.
Well, I think it’s fun. If you readers think it’s chintzy, I’ll call off the hounds. No sense being the only guy in the room laughing.
Last thing: let’s be careful how we throw around the word “fleecing" in the future. I haven’t fleeced anybody, and this blog isn’t fleecing anybody. It’s not like we’re charging you for the priviledge of posting your comments, for cryin’ out loud ...