Life after "Firm Believer" videos

WWDEat.jpgOK, OK, this story is a few days old, but I just had to pass it along because of the oh so sweet headline: “Christian Diets: Fewer Loaves, Lots of Fishes.”

Maybe I am just sensitive to this right now, having just finished the traditional Eastern Orthodox Lent (no meat, no dairy), which makes it nigh unto impossible to avoid carbs. As Frederica “grandmother of this blog” Mathewes-Green likes to quip, during Lent “we don’t eat. We graze.”

Actually, this is a great example of what I like to call the “photocopy the culture” option among Christian entrepreneurs (like the whole Contemporary Christian Music industry). When in doubt, the Christian marketplace just sells a copy of whatever is hot in the real marketplace, only adding a few Scripture quotations.

Here are, literally, the money paragraphs from reporter John Leland’s feature in The New York Times:

Lose It for Life is among the many Christian weight-loss programs hoping to combine the success of “The South Beach Diet” with the Christian self-help pull of Rick Warren’s “Purpose-Driven Life,” a best seller at 22 million copies. “Look, it’s no secret that some of the most popular songs, books and movies now are faith-based,” said Jordan S. Rubin, author of “The Maker’s Diet,” which has sold more than a million copies. “Look at ‘Purpose-Driven Life’ and ‘Left Behind’ in books, ‘Passion of the Christ’ at the movies and musical artists like Switchfoot, who sell in the millions. In the pop secular marketplace people are embracing faith as mainstream.”

And the marketplace is returning the embrace. If you have ever wondered “What Would Jesus Eat?” you need only turn to the best seller by the same name written by a Florida physician named Don Colbert. (Answer: lots of fish, grains and vegetables.) And if that fails, you can try “Body by God,” “The Hallelujah Diet” and dozens of others.

Well, the Passion wasn’t exactly a photocopy of anything, was it?

But, hey, readers: What are your favorite “photocopy the culture” products from the past year or so?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Will

    “He must increase, and I must decrease”

  • Bob Smietana

    Christian chick lit ( is probably close to the top of the copy the culture list.

    This story also has Doug’s “dreaded one-sentence summary of a complex history” when referring to Gwen Shamblin’s Weigh Down: “Another popular program, Weigh Down, alienated many when its telegenic founder, Gwen Shamblin, disavowed the Holy Trinity.”

    Shamblin’s Remnant Fellowship Church, (, which comes close to saying that anyone who is fat or a member of another church is apostate, and whose disciplinary practices for children may have contributed to the death of an eight year old, is worth a little more than a throwaway line.

  • Nick

    This is a shameless plug, but it fits the topic, so I should be okay.

    I do Catholic parody songs. A lot of people think they’re funny. Songs like “Should I Stand or Should I Kneel?” and “R.C.I.A.”

    My webpage is .

    So, yeah, my stuff copies the culture. But I would hope that the comic twist makes it forgiveable.


  • Brian Lewis

    Just a quick comment – not all carbs are bad. it’s like fat – some fats are good fats, some fats are bad (like trans-fats.)

    brown rice is good for you; white rice is not so good.

    whole wheat loaves and fishes are good; white loaves and fishes are not so good.

  • Darrell Grizzle

    The most tacky “photocopy the culture” item I’ve seen: “Testa-Mints” breath mints with Scripture verses on the wrappers, sold at Christian book stores. Has anyone actually gotten “saved” by sucking on a Christian mint?

  • Amy Welborn

    My two favorites are:

    Body for God, the cover of which looks a lot like the much more famous Body for Life, and, in the Christianchicklit genre, The Yada Yada Prayer Group, obviously playing off the Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. The last CBA I went to, there was a Brigid-Jones type book, too. I’m fascinated by the phenomenon, too.

  • moronikos

    Another “medical” book by Dr. Colbert, Benny Hinn’s physician screener who makes sure that anyone who is really ill and actually in need of a healing never makes it on stage.

  • Tim Drake

    For the Catholic version of the Jesus-diet, check out The Light Weigh (

  • http://none Bill Astron

    In response to Shamblin’s w.d. approach,
    maybe you should actually read what the bible says to see if what she is preaching is right or not. I have taken many classes and found them to be full of the truth.