Most of this is lifted directly from a com­ment I posted at Pam’s place regard­ing a “youth min­istry” that recently offered a “free” Bible to any­one will­ing to send in five bucks to cover ship­ping costs.

Guess what?

They ran out of Bibles!


Hmm. Wonder where all those Lincolns are going.

Anyway, a com­menter there men­tioned the Youth Bibles of the 1970s, which I actu­ally remem­ber. They were a Zondervan-​​style pro­duc­tion done up in ways that would appeal — pre­sum­ably — to the dis­af­fected boys and girls liv­ing in a post-​​Beatles America, try­ing to make sense of how the Summer of Love had gone so ter­ri­bly weird all of a sudden.

That reminded me of a spe­cific Bible phe­nom­e­non of the 1980s: The Book. This was another mod­ern­ized Bible done up in lan­guage acces­si­ble to late-​​20th-​​Century read­ers. Overall, not a bad idea nec­es­sar­ily, since know­ing the one book that dic­tates so much about American cul­ture isn’t a bad thing; how­ever, there was a much more pop­u­lar extru­sion called The Story, which was given away for prac­ti­cally noth­ing ($2.99, if mem­ory serves).

This was a very con­densed form of The Book, was released as a pulp-​​sized rack edi­tion, and was cov­ered in yellow-​​colored stock that fea­tured a holo­gram of a dove. (It was the 1980s. Printed holog­ra­phy was Teh Kewl then.) It was 300 or so pages long, writ­ten in novel style, with dia­logue in quotes, and skipped over a lot of the begats to sort of get to the point, which was of course that Jesus is the Light of the bla bla bla.

Well, it seems the most cur­rent edi­tion is some­thing called the Teen Extreme Bible, which reminded me of the time, a cou­ple years back, when the Bible was released as a pair of mag­a­zines.

True story. It came com­plete with slick “ads” and teen-​​angsty arti­cles such as “The Top Ten Ways to Score Your Perfect Mate” (or some such) — and there was a ver­sion for teen girls, with a sep­a­rate one for teen boys, all done up in high-​​graphic ultra-​​wannabe-​​cool Cosmo/​Maxim style.

The graphic-​​artist/​PR geek in me had its inter­nal cyn­i­cism meter1 pegged at 100 for a while before it just burned right out. (I now have a much more resis­tant one installed, but even still it gets strained from time to time.) TTBOMK the Bible-​​as-​​magazine craze fiz­zled about as fast as Ted Haggard’s homo­sex­u­al­ity when con­fronted with a load of men on their knees.


I haven’t seen the Teen Extreme Bible, but I was reminded of the throw­away line from Office Space2 wherein the wait­ress (Jennifer Aniston) is describ­ing the food offer­ings at her Chili’s/TGI Friday’s style restau­rant, and men­tions extreme faji­tas.

Extreme faji­tas? What exactly is that? I mean, as opposed to reg­u­lar, or maybe not-​​so-​​extreme, faji­tas? Were they once called Fajitas To The Max before a menu reprint?

So … what pre­cisely might a Teen Extreme Bible actu­ally be? Does Jesus col­lect his dis­ci­ples from his choic­est clan of Halo II play­ers on His Holy Xbox 360?3 Does he cast out demons not by putting them into herds of swine, but via bungee-​​jumping?

Does he IM graph­ics to the mul­ti­tudes, feed­ing them LOLoaves and fishes? Does he offer the Lord’s Prayer as Our Father, who Blogs in Heaven? (“Give us this week our Open Thread, and remem­ber our Carnivals, even as we remem­ber the A-​​listers who HREF toward us…”)

Does he say, “Lazarus, come forth, for yea, there are bitchin’ slopes out there, and lo we must snow­board them, and go for the Sacred 720″?

How long do you think it’ll actu­ally be before some­one does the Bible as a blog?

Jesus wept. Now we know why.


1. This is the meter that records how cheap, sleazy and low a given ad cam­paign is. It usu­ally gets a work­out most when I see an ad for an SUV that pro­claims itself “green” because it uses dual-​​fuel.

2. Mike Judge was pitch-​​perfect when he did Office Space; it wasn’t just a sendup of cubi­cle life. It was a pretty well-​​done indict­ment of pre-​​packaged, ludicrously-​​commercialized America; it hit exactly the same kind of pres­sure points as Fight Club, but in very dif­fer­ent ways.

3. And is Halo III there­fore his sec­ond com­ing, or his third? Was Halo I the Old Testament? Discuss.


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