Speak UpA Former Division of UnderConsideration
The Archives, August 2002 – April 2009
advertise @ underconsideration
---Click here for full archive list or browse below
  
Postmodern Bible Stories

Packaging is everything. And by packaging I don’t mean a jar with a label on it. But the way certain things are packaged for a smoother ride down people’s throats — sometimes harshly and unexpectedly, sometimes willingly and enjoyable, sometimes superficially and unmemorable and other times deceptively and unwarranted. Whether it is the news as packaged by FOX News or Michael Moore, video games by PTAs or Wired magazine, postpartum depression by Tom Cruise or Brooke Shields, everything is subject to a delivery method best suited for the receiver as decided by the sender. And, without passing any judgment, religion (of all kinds and in all forms) has always relied on packaging.

Image How can religion reach more people? What can it do to entice more participation? Why aren’t more people devoted to it? As varied and open-ended as these questions are, there are as varied and open-ended cultural, political and societal entities (no pun intended), with equally varied and open-ended intentions, methods and goals looking for the next big thing in religious activation (1). And no target audience needs more activation (or is more desired to be activated) today than the coveted 18 to 34 year-old demographic. TV networks, movie studios and every retail shop this side of The Gap fight over this crowd. So why shouldn’t religion? More specifically, why shouldn’t the Bible? Ever since Gutenberg first laid down some major quantities of blackletter to reproduce the Bible, the book has been printed as many times as there are stars in the sky [exaggeration added by the author] and has been continually given the star treatment with fabulous book binding techniques. Yet, the Bible is still the Bible. Old and New. No two ways to go about it. Well, no four ways about it maybe. 2003 saw the publication of Revolve: The Complete New Testament, aimed at teenagers and upping the volume on the mainstream knob, pop quizzes and all, in a teen magazine format. Revolve is now in its third edition and has had the benefit of controversy and “best-selling” marketing status. Rendering it a success. The latest addition to the alternate visualization of the Old and New Testaments is Relevant Book’s Postmodern Bible Stories.

Published and designed by the decidedly contemporary Relevant Media Group, a network revolving around “forward-thinking, spiritually hungry twentysomethings”, Postmodern Bible Stories is a collection of 45, postcardable key stories from the Old and New Testaments as rendered by 30 illustrators accompanied by their statements on their work and preceded by punchy introductions. The premise, ”Sunday school never looked like this,” seems to hold true throughout the book, with unconventional (by Bible standards) illustrations. The marketing spin of the book, on the other hand, seems to falter at very turn of the sentence. The book is dubbed as “risk-taking”. I failed to see any risks taken. Mel Gibson — that’s risk-taking. It then labels it as “a spiritual conversation”. I studied the Old Testament ad nauseam (and in Hebrew, thank you very much) when I was younger (I failed miserably when tested) so I found the relaxed, “street” language amusing and an interesting writing exercise, but nothing more. Certainly not a conversation of spiritual standards. Lastly, the biggest selling point of the book, its illustrators.

Postmodern Bible Stories bills them as “some of the best illustrators and designers in the world”. Some of the illustrators are actually quite good — specifically Mark Sgarbossa, who exploited this book to show a brilliant range of styles, and Rex Crowle’s deceptively humorous Jonah and the Whale illustration, which he described simply as “It’s a fish, with a guy hiding inside it” — and I was visually surprised by some of the illustration but I would not be so trigger-happy with any “Best of” attributions to this group. Some entries were technically poor, others were conceptually off target while others just relied on software illusions and three- or five-year-old trends. Overall, it all seemed to try too hard to live up to the “Postmodern” title. Another subject of contention I presume. But given the ambiguity, and lack of agreement, of the term itself I feel like at this point anyone thinking they are doing something different should just feel free to slap the “Postmodern” tagline on anything. It must be postmodern to someone, somewhere. But I digress. Following is a sampling of some of the illustrations I enjoyed for different reasons:

Postmodern Bible Stories
As I mentioned earlier, this is one of my favorites. Besides the playful simplicity, it is the sailor’s hat that really does it for me.

Postmodern Bible Stories
I am a fan of thick-stroked illustrations and bright colors, so this one satisfies. However, I don’t remember anything about the snake being the devil, but as I said, I never quite paid a lot of attention.

Postmodern Bible Stories
God using a walkie-talkie and condensed sans serif just seems funny.

Postmodern Bible Stories
Not great, but of all the illustrations that used typography, this was by far the best.

Postmodern Bible Stories
Another one of my favorites. The colors and compisition are visually (even one of the few emotionally) strong.

Postmodern Bible Stories is packaged with conviction from its publisher — and is done so in perfect harmony with the the rest of their books and overall enterprise — and at first glance is a valiant effort in making the Bible cool. I imagine I am somewhat removed from their target audience, so I would be very interested to see how others perceive this attempt but, for me, this was a package better left wrapped.

1) Activation is a term used to specify an audience or space that needs to be, well, activated. From an empty corner of a sports arena that can be activated with a mini Hooters to a kid in a playground getting free samples of the latest in sports shoe technology. Given my somewhat sarcastic description you can tell that this is a term I do not embrace.

divider

Book Information
Postmodern Bible Stories: Sunday School Never Looked Like This
Paperback: 45 pages
Publisher: Relevant Books (April, 2006)
ISBN: 0976817519
Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 2724 FILED UNDER Book Reviews
PUBLISHED ON Jun.20.2006 BY Armin
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
m. kingsley’s comment is:

I hate this shit -- especially the bloodless illustrations and their simplistic, direct correspondence to the subject matter.

If it was truly "postmodern," there would be doubt; and heaven forbid there's any doubt in the evangelistic rank and file. Derrida's "Of Grammatology" critiqued the direct relationship between signifier and signified as "logocentrism" -- a "theological" construct — and described a slipperiness between the two.

If anyone is interested in a more postmodern religious tale, I suggest Jean-Luc Godard's Je vous salue, Marie, aka Hail Mary, where Mary plays basketball and works in a gas station, Joseph drives a taxi, and a stranger named Gabriel informs her that she's pregnant. Granted, there's a scene where Mary masturbates in an attempt to connect with God, but it's one of Uncle Jean's more spiritual works.

Otherwise, there's always Sister Corita.

"Postmodern Bible Stories" is, on the other hand: simpering claptrap.

Feh.

Now watch, all the Christian Scientologists will make comments about how I'm either attacking Christianity or some sort of self-hating ex Catholic -- to which I say "hogwash." My argument is with the book, its editors, the illustrations and the book's marketing.

On Jun.20.2006 at 02:31 PM
Jess’s comment is:

As a Christian, I feel ambivalent about this particular rendition of the Bible.

One one hand, I appreciate the effort to reach out to a younger, more visually-driven audience. I think it's good to show that Christians can and will exhibit creativity, humor, even (gasp) edginess. On the other, I think the Bible commands a certain degree of respect as the book of guidance and knowledge it is supposed to be for Christians. The Jonah illustration in particular seems to pander to today's unceremonious youth in a way that makes me wonder if the ultimate points will get across.

It is difficult to be a conservative Christian these days. It's a struggle to fit in, get along, and still remain true to the precepts of the faith. However, I believe that as the times change, so must the way Christians seek to convert others change. I don't know if modernizing the language is the key or if it's something radical like this. It isn't uncommon to wander into a "young" church and find a live rock band, pastors in flip-flops, and folks sporting crazy tattoos. I know some older Christians who scowl at this attitude, but these churches have energy, humor, and are changing lives.

From a design standpoint, it must be difficult to convey the gravity of Christian faith in a way that's tolerable, current, and applicable. So much entertainment and popular culture drives youth away from Christian values. It's a risk when Christian marketing tries to ape secular marketing because many times it seems forced, hoaky, insulting...anything but cool. I call to mind a poster I recently saw in my mother-in-law's basement. It depicted a priest wearing shades on a Matrix-esque backdrop. I rolled my eyes. Not only is the Matrix hype dated, it just struck me as a goofy attempt to get kids' attention.

I think Christian designers and marketers need to find their own ways to be modern. This seems like one such attempt and I'll be interested to see if it takes off.

On Jun.20.2006 at 02:34 PM
szkat’s comment is:

Armin -- maybe The Brick Testament is more your style? :)

i'm a fan of Relevant Magazine for more than one reason, but for one reason more than any other: they ask people such as Pete Wentz, Ozzy Osborne, Anthony Kedis, Adrein Brody, etc the typical interview, then randomly insert questions like "do you pray?"

they don't get into a separation of pop culture vs spirituality, which is historically what's done. so many religious organizations try very hard to be something "cool," keeping up with stories like Tammy Faye Baker's son being a preacher with tattoos and pierces -- and his congregation being equally punk.

personally, i enjoy being able to irreverently celebrate this part of life without the bitter aftertaste. usually irony + religion = dirty priest, but here it's legos and design. doesn't get much better...

i agree with the article that calling the illustrators "some of the best... in the world" is stupid. however, calling it "risk-taking" is not. there are so many conservative Christians out there that will tear this apart.

[look at that! as i was writing this post:]
[em]If it was truly "postmodern," there would be doubt; and heaven forbid there's any doubt in the evangelistic rank and file. Derrida's "Of Grammatology" critiqued the direct relationship between signifier and signified as "logocentrism" -- a "theological" construct — and described a slipperiness between the two.[/em]

Kingsley, normally i'm in quiet awe of whatever you say, but here i think you're taking this way too seriously. these "postmodern" stories are really trying to blend in with our pop culture, and because of that the project will drop off the radar in about ten minutes. i would put in on par with Hail Mary the way i would put Dear Abby on par with Nietzche.

On Jun.20.2006 at 03:01 PM
szkat’s comment is:

sorry -- here's the brick testament link

On Jun.20.2006 at 03:03 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

This is as much about positioning as it is about packaging, but even more closely aligned with image consulting.

On Jun.20.2006 at 03:33 PM
r agrayspace’s comment is:

the inherent problem is this. No matter how cute the Jonah illustration is or how visually cool the adam and eve one is, I am still no more likely believe. Not of this makes the bible any more accessible, but merely strives to make a little money off of the twenty something believer crowd. It's still nonsense to me.

On Jun.20.2006 at 03:43 PM
szkat’s comment is:

the counterpoint: they're not trying to convert you. the nonsense comment is closer to the mark.

On Jun.20.2006 at 03:48 PM
m. kingsley’s comment is:

Szkat, as backstory, you should know that the publishers approached me several months ago about writing a review for Speak Up. That, plus the notion publishers and editors are (hopefully) equally as serious about their language as their marketing, is why I'm happy to deconstruct the title.

The Brick Testament is as insignificant uncritical an exercise as all the cities rendered in Jell-O which Boing Boing links to.

On Jun.20.2006 at 03:48 PM
marian bantjes’s comment is:

The Bible is a very old book, and as such it has been typeset and designed in thousands of different forms, many of which conform to some kind of style of an era. As Armin says, the packaging of everything is important, and the Bible is no exception. It raises interest only because a) as a historical artefact we are used to seeing it in a certain way and b) it is a religious text. The latter is interesting to me, especially in light of Jess's comment:

I think the Bible commands a certain degree of respect as the book of guidance and knowledge it is supposed to be for Christians.

I think that the same could hold true for anything written by a great philosopher, or any text that someone holds dear. In which case it is up to the buyer to find a copy they can regard as precious.

For my money, if I had to own a bible, I'd choose the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible (also available on Amazon), illustrated and designed by Barry Moser (and here's a review of the book). It truly does have world-class illustrations, is beautiful, respectful and just downright yummy.

Postmodern Bible Stories falls under another category: that being proseletyzing, or marketing. In this case it's not trying to sell the book, but rather the bigger message or machine behind the book. This puts it more on a par with, say, Harry Potter. The organization behind the book is trying to sell you so much more, so their desperate attempts lead to gimmicks. I would classify this book as one such gimmick, kinda like action figures.

On Jun.20.2006 at 09:16 PM
Frank’s comment is:

Damned if you do. Dammed if you don't.

On Jun.21.2006 at 12:00 AM
Jason L.’s comment is:

Frank's right.

I'm generally interested in all tings related to religious art or design so that makes me a biased person to comment. At this point, everything comes off as pandering in popular religious discourse, which is a shame.

There is some great work being done out there, the above mentioned Pennyroyal Caxton Bible and Luba Lukova's "Women of the Bible" are just two examples. Religious art, no matter how great the master, has always been a way for the church, or those with power, to appeal to the masses and have always been pandering in a way. It's always been packaged. Yet, somehow it still suprises folks.

And who doesn't love a giant fish in a sailor hat? Really.

On Jun.21.2006 at 09:43 AM
Adrian’s comment is:

When I reviewed the book my criticism had to do with the corny "hip" language of the stories. It just sounds like a desperate plea to be taken seriously. It does everything but apologize for having a Christian message. I think this is a trap that much of "Christian" media falls into. Rather than creating something truely stunning, innovative, inspirational, original or ambitious, most of the energy gets spent on simply trying to appear relevant. As a result the message gets lost, or worse the product ends up being a "Christian" version of a secular product that has "proven" to be relevant. You can read what else I had to say as well as some comments over at Be A Design Group.

On Jun.21.2006 at 11:22 AM
szkat’s comment is:

...as backstory, you should know that the publishers approached me several months ago about writing a review for Speak Up. That, plus the notion publishers and editors are (hopefully) equally as serious about their language as their marketing, is why I'm happy to deconstruct the title.

thank you for that -- it does broaden your post, especially as it's supported by Adrian's opinion above.

i haven't seen this book live, so to speak, but after reading the language used to explain the Bible stories on the back of the cards i have to concede that part of the project is disappointing. link to an example hosted by Be A Design Group

i agree with some comments over at beadesigngroup.com, that the art seems to hold up, but the paraphrasing seems... lame... and to attribute yourself as having street cred is antithetical. usually you pull that, and then it's 'no more street cred for you.'

and yet. i'm still glad the project was done, and i still think it's a good try. i'm interested in hearing more opinions here.

On Jun.21.2006 at 12:22 PM
Jpaper’s comment is:

I got the book because I'm a designer who knows some of the guys in the book. I appreciated the art, loved reading the interpretations and thoughts on the stories, and thought it was cool overall. All the other stuff doesn't really mean anything to me-postmodern-twenty-something-getting a "message" across.

It was cool, I liked it. That's enough for me. I don't think Relevant claimed to achieve anything more than that.

On Jun.21.2006 at 02:14 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

One of the favourite scriptures of people who do things like this was written by Paul the apostle about the way he went about proselytizing/evangelising/‘activating’: ‘I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.’ (1 Corinthians 9:22)

Often overlooked is something else Paul wrote in the same letter on the same subject: ‘And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.’ (1 Corinthians 2:1–2, emphasis mine)

Often Christians in their ‘marketing’ efforts know everything but that -- only they know it about 10 after the rest of popular culture.

Another thing that is often overlooked is the simple fact* that the vast majority of people who convert to any religion do so because of the influence of a friend or family member, not because of media marketing efforts. But designing a book is so much easier than making friends with someone outside your own comfortable culture.

Finally,those wishing to reach the 18–30 crowd should go after the ones who have children. research has shown** that people are more likely to be interested in religion when they start having children.

Hopefully, the good folks at Relevant are making some money off this. It is unlikely that they are doing effective evangelism.

-

*I couldn't lay my hands on anything specific, but I believe I read this in some reserach done by Barna, a Christian polling/research company.

**Again, nothing specific except for this tangentially related study conducted by Barna in 1999.

On Jun.21.2006 at 04:15 PM
ben...’s comment is:

I have a subscription to relevant magazine because the design is awesome, and I agree mostly with what they have to say and what they do. With Christianity competing with the likes of MTV, these folks are trying to bring new light and life to subject matter that historically to most is seen as boring. You see, everyone has a concept in their head of what a Christian is. They think they have to act a certain way, look a certain way, and only be around certain people. Relevant is breaking down the walls of traditionalism so people will see what the heart of the message in the Bible truly is. For so long, Christian media has suffered. Whether its books, cd covers, magazines, or web sites, the Christian media has always been second best, actually, the worst. Of late, things have changed a lot. Relevant is leading the way with some innovative design and style within their pages. I think to judge relevant on this particular book, without reviewing the web site and their magazine, and finding out a little more about them would be a bad move. You have to really see where they are coming from...and maybe that is an issue. However, the illustrations are awesome, they make people think differently about some stuff they've been hearing for years, and maybe someone will see this and get a little more interested. I don't think they are trying to convert people through these postcards, they're just trying to let the graphic design world know they have arrived. Heck, we're all talking about them.

On Jun.21.2006 at 05:57 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Maybe it should be looked at from the vantage point that the Bible doesn't need to be designed, or packaged, or marketed. Maybe it should be viewed as a historical text and taken at face value.

People get so wrapped up in the notion that Christianity must be entertaining and marketed and changed to fit the masses perception of what is cool and hip.

Maybe the Bible was designed well originally. Maybe the continual tinkering over the years has diluted the message in these contemporary versions and is what makes Christianity laughable to a growing percentage of the population. Too many Christians believe that the Bible's value is determined by those that don't believe.

To me, the ones that hold the most value are those that strive to remain as true to the original manuscripts as possible. In written and spoken word, the closer you get to the original or speaker, the closer you get to the truth. Nothing is more true in historical texts.

On Jun.21.2006 at 11:23 PM
Jess’s comment is:

Well, and that's the difficulty, isn't it? You cannot market faith. You can't give it a snazzy logo and kickin' tagline and expect the converts to come pouring in. You cannot show its immediate benefits in a way that the skeptical will not simply attribute to coincidence or nonsense or whathaveyou. Faith is entirely too personal to condense into a t-shirt or a bumper sticker or even a set of postcards.

I agree that the Bible's message should stand as is and for itself. It must have its own universality, because it's still around and still widely recognized. I don't think for individual stories this kind of treatment is necessarily bad. I also doubt it's going to convert anyone, the way I doubt the t-shirts and bumper stickers will. It might, however, be the sort of thing suitable for a coffee table. In turn, this might spark curiosity that would lead to personal interaction and possibly conversion. That's about the extent of it.

I find myself frustrated at Christian marketing efforts as I stated earlier. To simply mimic old secular trends is plainly stupid. This is somewhat different, but I wonder how effective it is, even for a convert? Again, as previously stated, I don't know how I feel about this.

On Jun.22.2006 at 11:00 AM
Josh B’s comment is:

I'm no history buff, nor religious, but it seems to me religion has always had one way or another to market itself. I think the big difference between then and now is how the people were reached. Back in the day it was all about awe. Greek temples, pyramids, massive things that inspired shock, and wonder, and often times fear. They were signs of power, and they commanded respect. The Christians had this too: flying buttresses, vaulted ceilings, towering steeples, grand stained glass windows, and breathtaking frescos.

Now it seems Christianity's contemporary marketing efforts rely on the complete and total opposite: not awe, but mass appeal. Make it hip. Make it like that other thing the kids like so much. And for me, and many others, it comes across as half-hearted, disingenuous pandering. It's the Buddy Christ tactic. The church has always been better at Beauty, but have taken the seemingly easier path of Cool.

If the book were truly postmodern, if it defied expectation and explanation, and touched something inexplicable and incalculable in the hearts of it's readers... well, then it might truly function as evangelism.

On Jun.22.2006 at 02:40 PM
Keith McCord’s comment is:

I'm really glad that this post is getting into these type of issues. It means a lot to me as a Christian, who also happens to be a designer, that there are other designers out there who see it the same way I do.

My brother is a member of my church, which at its core tries to focus completely on the teachings of the Bible and we base our worship, behavior, and basically our whole lives on what it says. We try not to add or take anything away. My brother is also a member of a youth group at a church that has rock music, goes to evening worship services where the preacher wears flip-flops, and needless to say, most of the participants are in the coveted 18-30 bracket. Now, why does my brother feel the need to have more than just the basic necessities (that's what I would deem them) of Christian life? Because he has fun, socializes with people his age, and has a genuine love for God (he is foregoing his Sophmore year of College to go to a Missionary "Camp," for lack of a better word, that spreads the message with stage shows and the like). I am totally on board with those of you who think that all we need is the Bible in it's pure and distilled form, however, I think presented with the pop culture of today's world, if the Christian faith needs to become a little "hip," I really can't blame them. No matter how we argue this, I think it is better that there are hip Christian bible stories and rock music and tee shirts and magazines that are well done and well designed, than the MTVs and Comso mags and hip-hop albums that are the staple of today's youth culture.

Maybe the Bible was designed well originally. Maybe the continual tinkering over the years has diluted the message in these contemporary versions and is what makes Christianity laughable to a growing percentage of the population. Too many Christians believe that the Bible's value is determined by those that don't believe.

I think that you might be stuck in the 1990's counter-culture mentality, because this form of contemporary Christianty is far from "laughable" (like Buddy Christ, Dogma, et al.) The post-911 culture has made religion in general a more acceptable and down-to earth (no pun intended) practice. As for the "value" of the Bible, I think that in a very big way, modern religion has turned away from the basics of the Bible. For example, a church down the road from where I work is having a series on "The DaVinci Code,": Fact or Fiction. And while that is all well and good, and I'm sure they're trying to bring more people in by using pop culture, if there is a question of whether that book is fact or fiction, there might be something deeper wrong with those people's faith.

Now it seems Christianity's contemporary marketing efforts rely on the complete and total opposite: not awe, but mass appeal. Make it hip. Make it like that other thing the kids like so much. And for me, and many others, it comes across as half-hearted, disingenuous pandering. It's the Buddy Christ tactic. The church has always been better at Beauty, but have taken the seemingly easier path of Cool.

See, now this is something I can agree with to some extent. I think that the Bible (the one with ALL the stories, not just 45 illustrated versions) tells us that the masses will never accept Christianity in its true form. I also think that its easier for kids today to feel accepted by society as a Christian, whereas before it might have been taboo or uncool to be a strong young Christian.

If the book were truly postmodern, if it defied expectation and explanation, and touched something inexplicable and incalculable in the hearts of it's readers... well, then it might truly function as evangelism.

I am right there with this comment. If this book was so great and post-modern, I think it would have to go beyond a "Bible Story picture book." It isn't really a work of art, just a media company trying to use an art term to sell books.

Post-Script:
I also agree with whoever made the comment about Mel Gibson. Now that was an example of real art. Especially being done in the original language. I think it took a lot of ribbing from Hollywood, but it was a very successful example of mass-marketing an idea in a very basic, if not controversial, and artistic way.

On Jun.23.2006 at 11:45 AM
cweese’s comment is:

The Brick Testament is as insignificant uncritical an exercise as all the cities rendered in Jell-O which Boing Boing links to.

Mark, I have to say I disagree with you here, for a few reasons. I can't claim to fathom the author's intent here as to whether or not he's being critical (there are a few tongue-in-cheek pointers on the site, see question 9 on the FAQ's) but it claims to take the Bible version 'chosen for its generally accurate translation into readable contemporary English' and displays them in their utter Lego glory - rape, violence, murder, vengeful God and all. If you've ever studied creation or historical myths from other cultures, the similarities in how stories are used for explanation are very striking (granted 'myth' is a loaded word when referencing the Bible). I think this is an illustration format that makes a comment on the stories themselves, and how they're relevant to us today - and I don't mean this in a religious way, but in a cultural history/story kind of way.

For instance, how many of us did violent things with our Legos when we were kids? The Noah's Ark story shows three consecutive pictures of floodwaters rising - little Lego people in their entirety, then just their top halves as the waters rise, and finally just the little hair pieces floating above a Lego blue. And when the waters recede, there are all these little Lego skeltons laying around. Perhaps this is just my own background (a strange mix of childhood Lego and Bible camp memories, and University cultural story study) but I get a real kick out of it... and it makes me hope we can maybe start to look at the Old Testament in a different perspective, instead of, for example, justification for the death penalty.

Granted, it is hardly on the level of the Pennyroyal Bible... but then, what else really is?

On Jun.23.2006 at 02:37 PM
cweese’s comment is:

OK, I have the scoop if anyone cares - the author of the Brick Testament is an athiest religious buff. It's in the radio program link.

On Jun.23.2006 at 03:57 PM
cweese’s comment is:

Thought I would share this as well - here is a link I happened upon by coincidence that discusses the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible. The last page has some links to more of Barry Moser's essays. The pictures, alas, do not do justice to the actual book... as can only be expected :)

http://www.todayinliterature.com/texts.asp?contributorID=3&textID=1916

The Bruce Peel Special Collections library at the University of Alberta (Edmonton) has a copy of the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, as well as the Pennyroyal Alice - I highly recommend a detour if you are ever in the area, it is stunning and powerful to see Mr. Moser's work in print.

On Jun.26.2006 at 02:45 AM
Brian Alter’s comment is:

I have news for everyone: the bible isn't cool or hip and never will be. These books aren't converting anyone and the fact that Christianity (and religion in general) even tries to do so is downright creepy. "Join us!"

On Jun.28.2006 at 11:28 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

"People get so wrapped up in the notion that Christianity must be entertaining and marketed and changed to fit the masses perception of what is cool and hip."

Are we talking about christianity or mass marketed religious material? The latter is just pure business...and a good one at that, it seems.

On Jun.28.2006 at 06:19 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

Brian Alter... I disagree. I think the texts are as cool and hip as anything I've ever studied. Of course—like all things—much depends on what one chooses to bring to it on approach. Or further... do with it. It's a reflection. A tool. Endlessly fascinating in my opinion.

Has anyone read Douglas Rushkoff's 'Testament'? (art by Liam McSharp) I think his open-source theories on the texts are crazy good.

On Jun.28.2006 at 10:04 PM
Justin’s comment is:

It appears Christians in this thread want to be respected and accepted by non-believer designers. A book such as this is probably geared to entertain Christians and peak curiousity in non-Christians.

Non-christians in this thread seem instantly angry that someone would publish a book such as this and seem all too eager to write it off as uncool, incorrect, and with wrong intentions.

Christians and non-christians shouldn't have much beef with Relevant. They're slowing giving Christians a good name b/c they promote openmindedness and put down hypocrisy of all forms. I discovered this by reading just a few articles on their site.

On Jul.03.2006 at 11:58 AM
brian alter’s comment is:

Steve Mock,

So you're saying the bible is fashionable? If you have any respect for it, one would think the appearance of the bible should strive for timelessness over fashion any day of the week. So maybe if you're just being a geek about the bible, sure, it's hip to you. Or maybe you just fell for these stupid books! Mission accomplished!

On Jul.03.2006 at 02:30 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

Not once did I use the word 'fashion' nor 'fashionable', Brian.

Postmodern Bible Stories is not the bible. It's a silly, goofy (stupid is a little harsh) piece of nonsense, though it might have it's moments.

I disagreed with your opinion so proclaimed as 'news for everyone'. That opinion is not news. In fact, it's tired and old.

Now... if by 'stupid books' you mean the canonical collection that is The Bible, yeah... fell for that a long time ago. Mea culpa.

On Jul.03.2006 at 09:50 PM
brian alter’s comment is:

Steve,

Cool & hip = fashionable. To you the texts are as cool and hip as anything you ever read. So approach it with your dictionary next time you pick it up!

By books, I actually meant book, as in Postmodern Bible Stories. Factoring in conversion of the weak-minded.

Sheesh, I'm being a jerk! I can't help myself.

On Jul.03.2006 at 11:27 PM
KJV’s comment is:

For more info on Bible Versions go to www.biblediscernment.com

On Aug.17.2006 at 07:47 PM
Amarilys’s comment is:

I illustrated in the book. Something to keep in mind while making your mind up about this book: It is not a Bible, it's a book of postcards. No one could replace the Bible, its message its language, its power. This is simply (and I know it's often difficult for us to let things be simple and leave the thought alone) a few artists rendering what these Bible stories look like to them today.
And as far as the "hip" language being "faked"... maybe... just maybe we are hip!
http:///Users/AmarilysH/Desktop/MISC/Z Pers. Misc/ADHEsther.gif/>http:///Users/AmarilysH/Desktop/MISC/Z Pers. Misc/ADHLoveSongs.gif/>http:///Users/AmarilysH/Desktop/MISC/Z Pers. Misc/ADHNewHNewE.gif/>

On Oct.04.2006 at 06:20 PM
bp’s comment is:

I know this is a really, really old post. I just came across it and have to say something here.

We've all seen the scandals and hypocritical finger pointing that have given Christians a black eye. I find it refreshing as a Christian to see a company like Relevant Media displaying open-mindedness in it's approach to Christian material. Unfortunately it's not good enough for some people. So, to parrot what a previous post said "Damned if you do, damned if you don't."

Now on to the book.

The thing to remember here is the target audience. This book was aimed toward teenager and twenty-something CHRISTIANS. The book is a fresh look at the Bible stories Christians grow up hearing in church. If you don't understand the book, then your probably not the target audience. Isn't that the job as designers to do research and design for your target audience? You wouldn't give your grandma and copy of Raygun and expect here to "get it".

On Mar.02.2007 at 01:04 PM
bp’s comment is:

Correction:
You wouldn't give your grandma a copy of Raygun and expect her to "get it".

On Mar.02.2007 at 01:07 PM
john mccabe’s comment is:

If the concepts contained in the bible are not enough to 'connect with the target audience' then no amount of fashionable illustration will do it either. The power is in the concepts behind the language, these illustrations simply add another distracting layer of meaning.

Postmodern is a drastically overused word. Jean Francoise Lyotrad described postmodernism as the end of the grand narratives of which Christianity is one. How can the Bible ever be described as postmodern. The Bible and postmodern theory are mutually exclusive philosophical positions.

On Mar.02.2007 at 06:55 PM
Bram Pitoyo’s comment is:

I think they should make the real Postmodern Bible, you know, deconstruct the text and have some fun with it. Then it'll really be fun.

On Mar.16.2007 at 04:22 PM