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Christ co-opted by culture – the huckster Jesus

26 December 2008

In a series of images intended to illustrate H. Richard Niebuhr’s 5 models of Christianity’s interaction with culture, Wanderings of a Theological Vagabond chooses to represent Christ by an image of Christ as huckster, a view of Christ as completely coopted by capitalist culture. Hat-tip to What’s the deal with stuff for drawing my attention to this.

  1. Christ against culture
  2. Christ of culture
  3. Christ above culture
  4. Christ and culture in parados
  5. Christ transforminc culture

The Christ the Transformer of Culture image, however, exposes the falsity of both images:

Christ the Transformer of Culture

In which the salesman Christ transforms Mr T into a besuited useful tool of the Marketing Department, so a phony Christ transforms people into a phony culture. The problem with the series is that the image on the left represents the Christ of culture — or at least the Christ of Western capitalist culture, far better than that of the chosen Mr T with a halo.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 December 2008 1:36 am

    Thanks for interacting with the content from my blog! Unfortunately, I intended a pot-shot at empiricism that seems to often go unnoticed. In creating the iconic representation I attempted to also call into question what a ‘redemption’ of culture looks like. I wasn’t nearly proposing that Mr. T looked ‘Christian’ in the image, but, rather, represents both the transformation (from the old Mr.T) as well as make one ask ‘Why does this picture look so ridiculous?’ Moreover, I chose the ‘Buddy Jesus’ from Kevin Smith’s Dogma as the humorous representation of Jesus, most fitting for the images with Mr. T.

    Perhaps I am just naive, but never assumed anyone would actually assume that is how I picture Jesus.


  2. 27 December 2008 3:13 am


    I didn’t think the “Buddy Jesus” figure was the way you pictured Jesus, but that the last of the series (which I showed in my post) was best in showing the Christ co-opted by culture transforming culture into the capitalist image.

    But in the series the image on the left on its own portrays the “Christ of culture” (No 2) better than the one with Mr T with a halo.


  1. Khanya

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