June Cleaver’s religious preference wasn’t revealed on “Leave It To Beaver,” but I’m going to bet she was a church-going gal. Me, not so much. I love churches (and temples and mosques and shrines) for their architecture, sense of awe, history and just have a general respect for those who commit themselves so wholeheartedly to religion. I tend to subscribe more to the Hallmark version of holidays though. Hey kids! It’s Easter/Passover and Christmas/Hanukkah! I’ve yet to totally cross the line and serve dyed eggs on our seder plate, but it’s crossed my mind. With so many like me, not true believers, I can understand why churches are doing almost anything they can to hook and retain future church members at a young age. Which, it seems, is where the “Fun & Faith” edition of the Oriental Trading catalog comes into play. I can totally understand enticing kids any way you can to go to Sunday school, Vacation Bible School and participate in religious activities when they’d likely rather be doing something else. But some of the items seem a little desperate, or, alternately totally perplexing and random. Lets examine a sampling, shall we?
Religious Mini Noise Putty: comes in plastic containers with smiling faces and inspirational messages
Noise putty is, for those of you unfamiliar, slimy stuff that when squished makes a very loud fart noise. Or, as the site calls it “gastronomical” sounds. The inspirational message is John 3:16, “He loves me.” I’m not sure how the product and the quote go together here for the good of Christianity. Possibly it implies that, like any good relationship, you’ll become so comfortable and familiar with God that you’ll be okay farting in front of him? The King James version of the quote is “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everylasting life.” So, maybe, like a lingering fart, if you believe in Jesus you will not perish?
“Smile! Jesus Loves You” Punch Balls: with an image of smiling sun on it
I love Jesus! Jesus loves me! Now I will aggressively beat the crap out of this balloon in a group setting that will likely lead to someone crying, a time out and possibly some Hail Mary’s. Praise the lord! See also “Religious Cross Kick Balls.”
Forgiven Mints: metal filled tins filled with mints and the word “Forgiven” on the front
My child, Jesus will forgive you for your sins……and your halitosis.
Cross With Nails Craft Kit: a fun craft for VBS
This purple foam cross (“self-adhesive!”) features a heart in middle, held in place by foam nails and the quote “The nails didn’t hold Jesus to the cross. It was His love for all of us that held Him there.” Um, hey, kids? If this is fun for you then you may want to re-think your childhood. (P.S.. I’m pretty sure it was actually the nails). Or maybe they meant Jesus was self-adhesive?
Maybe it’s because I went to a women’s college. Or maybe because I live in Southern California. But when I see a rainbow flag, I immediately think “gay.” I’m not sure if Oriental Trading missed that memo or if they’re trying to re-imagine the image for the church, but rainbow crafts are everywhere, each color having been assigned a characteristic (i.e. yellow stands for God’s perfect light, red represents the blood Jesus shed for us, blue represents baptism). Among the crafts peddled are also rainbow flags and rainbow stovepipe hats (“stand out in any crowd!”). I have to say, I do get a kick out of a group of Sunday school kids in their stoner rainbow stovepipe hats, waving their flags for Jesus and everyone seeing them thinking they’re supporting gay rights.
No matter what you support, enjoy the long Easter weekend!