Book Review: Shopping for Jesus

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Janes, Dominic. Ed. Shopping for Jesus : faith in marketing in the USA. New Academia Publishing, 2008.

There is a thin line between attraction and revulsion. It is like cleaning the refrigerator and finding food of unknown vintage. Despite knowing it is spoiled, there is a compelling urge to open the container and take a sniff before throwing it in the trash.

When I saw this book on the display shelves in the marketing area of the Ford Library, I noticed the crucified Jesus on the cover, his outstretched hands nailed to the cross, clutching shopping bags filled with consumer goods. I was repulsed by the cover, yet I could not resist the urge to open it up and sniff the contents.

What I found surprised me. Shopping for Jesus is a collection of thoughtful essays about the boundary between religion and business. It explores the connections between belief, its presentation and the processes by which it is sold and consumed. Each chapter presents an independent case study.

The chapter about branding discusses the development of the United Church of Christ’s “God is still speaking” campaign, which begins with the idea of Jesus as a brand. The following chapter explores the use of sex to sell religion. My favorite essay was about conservative Christians’ emotional responses to Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion.

Contributors to the volume are university faculty members in history, communication, literature and theology, who have written a serious book about the presentation and consumption of religion in contemporary society.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library РFuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.

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