Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bible too racy for Sam's Club

Apparently Sam's Club rejected the Brick Testament. The company responded to inquiries saying "Sam's Club received numerous concerns from our members and parents about the mature content in what is perceived as a children's book. Accordingly, Sam's Club made a business decision to discontinue sales." It appears that the company got a few e-mails (or maybe just one?) complaining that Brendan is an atheist, and that on his website (NOT in the book) there were offensive depictions of sexual activity. Wow! Gee whiz! They've uncovered some deep dark secret that was, um, never a secret, and explicitly stated way back in 2001 (shoot, I missed celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the BT a month ago). There is a long discussion on Facebook where you can interact with the person that may be behind the initial complaints to Sam's Club.

BTW, while Brendan may have lost out here financially, since there will be fewer sales of his book (and to help remedy that, see below), IMO he won rhetorically. He has oft stated that one of his goals is to make people look at the Bible and judge it, not just go on the redacted version they got through Sunday School when they were little. Also IMO, I think both Brendan and small minded people like (IMO) the complainers here have a complete misunderstanding of the Bible. They all think that the Bible is meant to be a guide book for right living, full of upstanding moral examples. To Brendan the Bible fails at this, and so he rejects it. The complainers simply seek to ignore the failings of Biblical figures, and so stick to their Sunday School version. I'm sitting in my son's room right now as I type this (because I'm waiting for the baby to wake up and she's in the crib, okay, that was unneeded information), and there on the shelf is a Children's Bible with about twenty or so nice stories. I think that's what these complainers want the Bible to be. But it's not. The Bible is about God's quest to save a stupid, stubborn sinner like me (and you and you and you). God doesn't work through moral paragons, but through a deceiver like Jacob and an adulterer like David as the ancestors of Jesus, a bullheaded Peter as one of his closest friends and leader of his church, heck, the whole nation of Israel that was constantly turning away from Him to chase after other false gods. He did this so that none could boast that we were saved through our own righteousness, or that of our forebears. Any righteousness we might have is just dirty rags, as Paul writes. Instead, he saves us by pure grace, despite all of that. So, IMO, both Brendan and Tabitha Grace fall into the same pitfall. The Bible is not meant to be a perfect little book full of nice sayings, stories, and rules to live by. It is the story of God's encounter with humanity, a humanity that lusts, hates, covets, lies, kills, and ultimately denies that God. And yet He died on Calvary to save us.

Okay, end of sermon. I've shared these ideas before in discussions with Brendan on the old, now largely defunct, Lugnet, and in some of my reviews here. I disagree with him philosophically, and yet I love what he has built out of LEGO. If you're looking to buy the Brick Testament, perhaps as a Christmas gift for that AFOL in your life, you can go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


  1. Thanks for your comments. As a Sunday School teacher and an AFOL I'm glad to see someone say what you've just said. I agree that unfortunately way too many churches have watered down the story of God's radical grace in the Bible to moralistic stories that in the long run just condemn people all the more. I also appreciate a lot of what Brendan has done in the BT, and can appreciate it as art based on one man's perspective on the Bible. Anyway, all that to say thanks for the post.

  2. What is the difference between stupidity and ignorance?
    Between stubbornness and laziness?
    What makes us sinners if not the qualifiers laid out in the Book?
    And what else would he have done other than die for you?