We've posted Jeremy Lott's wonderful analysis of the Christian Culture Industry over on the main page of Reason Online. Jeremy's article, which appears in our February print edition (subscribe!), is very much in keeping with our interest in how people use cultural production and consumption to create meaning, value, community, and identity in their lives.
As Jeremy concludes,
The products, good and bad, that dominated the [Christian Booksellers Association convention] both reflected and validated the subculture that generated the demand for them. The people who read the books, listen to the music, hang the Thomas Kinkade paintings in their homes, and use the other products of this industry are surrounding themselves with artifacts that reflect their values and beliefs, that validate who they are. For such consumers, the Left Behind novels, the evangelical pop music, and all the rest serve as the building blocks of a shared evangelical cultural identity. In brief, evangelicals are using the market to fashion and refashion themselves, and to project the resulting identity to others, in just the way that all consumers do.
Here's a Web site that's not for the faint of heart: Divine Interventions, a sex toy operation that uses religious imagery in a way the nuns at good old St. Mary's never discussed (though Linda Blair anticipated it all in The Exorcist).
Interestingly, it was an evangelical Christian pal o' mine who told me about the site, claiming he'd "stumbled" across it by accident.