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Wanna serve Jesus? Buy this watch

When I first watched internet sensation “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” there was something that began to bug me. Here’s the video that has taken the internet by storm – something like 14 million viewers in the first week!

Okay, I can get past the gender-exclusive language. That’s not what bugs me…

I wonder what the whole over-slick presentation is – the filming of him being filmed (who is this guy?! I’ve never heard of him). But that’s not what bugs me…

I can cope with young people having yet another reason to argue with their parents who are dragging them to church Sunday by Sunday as a family. That’s not what bugs me…

I can overlook the simplistic theology – it’s no different to many a Bible-thumping street-corner preacher. I see religion as the scaffolding, and spirituality as the building – focusing on the scaffolding is putting the emPHASis on the wrong syllABle. But that’s not what bugs me…

Though I do very much appreciate the following theological response:

What bugs me… is when you click on “Show more” on the YouTube video:

serve jesus buy this watch

I’m sorry?!!! I’ll read that again:

“Wanna start helping and serving Jesus in a practical way?”

…it’s gonna say: donate to this, or go and help these, or join the cause for…

But nope. It’s “checkout the company of the watch I am wearing in the video! They give 10-25% of all proceeds to non profits and…(wait there’s more!)… the bands and faces are interchangeable!” (Cool eh! Interchangeable watch bands and faces for Jesus!)

The video is so clearly directed to the USA market – am I surprised that the watches cannot be bought beyond USA borders? What is surprising is that no one is commenting on the connection to the watches. No one. The church is expert at bait and switch – but this appears to be right up there in the slight of hand area. But… I don’t know why it should bug me… It clearly doesn’t bug anyone else… It’s not like American Christianity has ever been anything but totally sincere, with absolute integrity, and deep authenticity…

H/T Christine Sine

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34 thoughts on “Wanna serve Jesus? Buy this watch”

  1. Christy S. Lube

    My honest conclusion on why it doesn’t bug anyone else is that no one has noticed. Everyone gets hyped up about the video itself, clicks “Share”, gushes about how awesome it is, and no one clicks on “show more” or even registers that it’s there.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Christy.

      OK – let’s just work through your points.
      If that’s the case, why did the author put that message there? No one clicks on “show more” or even registers that it’s there – so why risk compromising the integrity of his message SO badly?
      I’m trying to find out from online entrepreneurs what percentage of YouTube viewers normally click on “show more”. YouTube is one of the top ways used by internet traders.
      Can you please tell me who finances such a quality production as this video?
      Bait and switch viral advertising works precisely like this – no one has noticed. Yet.
      Did you notice that today ALL comments have been removed from the viral video on YouTube and comments are closed?
      What does that leave for people to do now?….
      … nothing left to do but… click on “show more”…


      1. Thought: Do video posters even have a say in what will come up in “show related”? Is that Youtube/Google’s call? In which case it might be down to their search engine.

        1. Good thought, Matt. But not for this post of mine.
          “Show related” is, as I understand it (and you suggest) beyond the poster’s control.
          I didn’t mention “show related” – I wrote about “show more” which is the info put there by the video poster.
          This is VERY MUCH intentionally placed there by the video poster.
          Related gives videos related to the one there.
          I wrote about text and a link placed there by the video poster himself.
          (yes – the watch’s advertising video shows this video is related to it – YouTube isn’t stupid… LOL!)


          1. Oops. Hmf. I don’t know how I could have read that twice and *still* mis-read. Next time I’ll try for thrice? 🙂

    1. No, sorry, Mike – but you could try going to his YouTube channel. Let us know. Blessings. (ps. what did you make of the video? & my being disconcerted about the watch…?)

  2. Good catch, Rev. Bosco! 🙂

    A couple points in the video bugged me too; but I’m going to focus on the watch issue and say: I think this is just another case of money changers in the temple.

    That ad reminds me of the way I felt when I visited Our Lady of the Angels cathedral in Los Angeles for the first time, and found Starbucks in the entrance plaza. I know, ministries need to make a buck just like everybody else; but in what way? Does it direct our attention to a product, or to God?

    If this were any other professional speaker’s video, we wouldn’t bat an eye at seeing a promo for a sponsor. This one needs at least two points to bring it up to respectability:

    – Full disclosure. Is the watch company his sponsor? Are they paying him, or funding his video? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Unless it’s hidden under a cloak of piety, of course.

    – Rewording. Just at first glance I could think of several other more practical ways to practice Christianity..like, donate the full hundred dollars to a homeless shelter and check the time on your cell phone for a while. If the watch company is his sponsor, say so. “I want to thank Crux for sponsoring this video. Check out their website [link]- a portion of the profit goes to good causes.”

    As it stands, the dialogue on his Twitter page is already starting to gravitate toward “What color Crux is he wearing today?”

    And I was so distracted looking for the watch on my second viewing that I totally missed the part about how much he hates religion.

    1. Christine, you are a gem!

      I hadn’t yet stalked his twitter profile, but you are correct – he is retweeting Crux watches ads (apparently they do ship internationally now & you can get 30% off currently!) So much for the recent comment here that suggested the Crux watches connection was an accident of YouTube & Google.

      It’s the wording that really got to me. After all the hype about hypocrisy etc. and Jesus doing all this stuff for us – suddenly we can do something for Jesus (talk about bait and switch): buy this cool watch! With interchangeable stuff! Now shipping internationally! Buy now and get 30% off!

      And have you noticed – all the thousands of comments have been removed and comments are now closed. All that’s left is… “show more”.


  3. …point is if he thinks proceeds from his business or whoever’s business it is used to fund non-profit orgs set up for a good legacy is his way of serving God…Dts his problem with God…we,no one is in any position to judge if that’s wrong…and moreso advertising that business isn’t wrong as well…we have pastors who say right in church…buy this..buy that..20% of the proceeds go to missionaries in one location or the other…
    The only reason he’s being attacked is ‘u don’t agree with all he’s said n it’s easier to find faults in him rather than address what he’s talked about…That advert is very far from what the issue is!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Lola.

      You are correct. I do not agree with everything he says in the video. And others have responded to those points better than I – I’ve included one video reply in my post, and agree with that as one response. I’ve also given my own suggestion that religion is important scaffolding, but we need to take care that we don’t over-focus on the scaffolding. Nevertheless, scaffolding is necessary and helpful. And I provided a further link to more of my thoughts on that.


  4. I am sorry, but with respect, I think you are confusing capitalism with Christianity.
    American Christianity provided the wind beneath the wings of those who created the American Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution, and the American Bill of Rights.
    You make a very important observation about the selling of the watch and how it is being sold, and, unfortunately, not many people pay attention to what goes on around them to notice they are being taken for a ride.
    IMHO we need more insightful voices like yours to join forces in our internet commons to combat those who are only interested in money, power, and using people.

  5. Two things strike me about this video and the blatant marketing of the watch.

    First, I do not think that the creator of the video sees the potential conflict. In the US, many of our churches, unfortunately, have adopted Christian consumerism as a tenant of faith. This may not be a written doctrine, but it is certainly an ethos found in some churches. Further, this Christian consumerism is reinforced by an increase in social consumerism. Campaigns such as the RED campaign and companies such as TOM’s Shoes are two examples of social consumerism.

    For the last several decades Christians (mainly Evangelical) have been seen as just another market segment and a great many products have been marketed directly to them. The unspoken message has been that Christians have specific products and by purchasing those products their money is going to do good. This is the climate that Christian millennials have come of age in.

    I, as a christian in the US, live in the tension between distaste for the consumerism that runs amok in our economy and the value that socially responsible campaigns and companies bring to our society.

    Second,the problem is far broader than just promoting a watch at the end of a video. I feel the problem is that consumerism not creativity or production drive our economies. To the point that it is easier to get someone to write a check than it is to get them to volunteer their time to serve. As a former youth worker in a upper middle class church I never had budget problems, but I was many times lacking adults volunteers that had time to share their lives and faith with the young people of our parish. We work more and more hours just so we can consume more and more. (This is a generalization. There is another side to this problem: student loan debt, stagnant wages, and high cost of living. These also cause some to work more and more just to get by. But for today I am just addressing the pervasiveness of consumerism in our society.)

    So to that end religion/faith has become just one more thing to consume. Many churches put a high premium on a ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus to the exclusion of the communal nature of faith. Focusing on ‘me’ and ‘my’ faith allows faith to become one more thing to be consumed. It is not something lived out in community, but is solely up to ‘me’ and ‘my’ experiences of the divine. It is no longer the community being co-creators of the kingdom, but simply consumers of a ‘pop’ Christianity.

    I do not agree with the video creator’s choice to promote the watch without some type of disclosure as to his connection to the company. I also do not agree with his phrasing of the pitch, “Wanna start helping Jesus in a practical way?” It wraps all service to Christ as an economic exchange. Which I do not believe is healthy.

    Unfortunately, as outlined above, I am not surprised because of the current climate of consumerism in our society.

    Christopher Harris

    1. I appreciate so much, Christopher, your insightful addition to the thoughts in this post. Thank you.

      The commodification of God and the gospel is something that really disturbs me. God becomes yet another product that enhances our lives, and the ever-increasing variety of denominations are interpreted as different-styled shops where one may obtain this product in the context of personal preference.

      I do not have issues with creative ways to find financial support for mission and ministry. I do struggle with your notion that the creator of this video would not see that his particular message is undermined in the manner in which it is done here.


  6. Good catch, I had not seen this before. When I first saw the video it was on GodTube and so I had never looked at the video’s YouTube page. I don’t agree with the information in the video either. But even if I did agree with his theology (if you can call it that), I do think that the link on the video page cheapens the message.

    I checked out the watches and they are identical to the “Hello Somebody” watches that I do support. Hello Somebody uses the watches to raise money for their specific goal (sending 3rd world children to school).

    The fact that this company specifies a range of their proceeds goes to “several charities” leads me to believe that they also pay for affiliate links. (He posts the link on his youtube videos, someone clicks, buys a watch, he gets paid for the referral) I don’t like this non-disclosed payouts and it makes me even more dubious of his motives.

    Our world is filled with people proclaiming that they are preaching the Gospel, but anyone who preaches anything that goes against what God’s Word tells us is not preaching the Gospel but are in fact false teachers. We are warned that these false teachers exist and it is up to us to know what God tells us and make the distinction between the true preachers of God’s word and those that are preaching for themselves and their own self-promotion.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. You are absolutely correct that it is amazing that no one is talking about this.

    1. Thanks for your contribution, Sele.

      The “Hello Somebody” watches point is fascinating. I have nothing against such creative ways of funding mission and ministry. Nor would I be insistent on “full disclosure” in every context – it is often not necessary and may be counter-productive. I go to a cafe that is careful to be just about its coffee purchasing and gives its profits away supporting worthy causes. Many will not realise some of these dynamics and that it is overseen by Christians. I find the integrity enhanced, not reduced. In this context, the connection appears to me to not just cheapen the message but undermine it.


  7. Hi Bosco,
    I’m astounded that this retailer claims to donate 10-25% to two specific causes. Who are the two beneficiaries really, and do they get $10 or $25 of each $100 profit … And is it gross profit or net profit … Before or after tax?

    And … The rap style of the video has led to some pretty weird language choices


    1. Your questions are perceptive, thanks, David. Would the video production advertising the watch be counted as a non-profit that fits within its category and able to benefit from watch sales? Blessings.

    1. Thanks, “E R F”, appreciated. The comments policy and culture of this site is that we just use our ordinary names here. Thanks again for pointing to this response. Blessings.

  8. Hi! Thanks for embedding my video! I’m excitedly humbled. I hadn’t noticed the watch advertisement before. Good catch. Your readers’ responses have been fascinating! I really liked your point about his critique of Christian hypocrisy and then advertising a watch. His whole video seemed a bit hypocritical – at first he criticized religion/the church for being judgmental and then he bashed Christians for being Christian only in their “facebook.” I always worry when someone says, “But I’m not being judgmental.” Because it’s simply a way of covering up judgmentalism. On the other hand, it’s easy for me to be judgmental, so I can mostly overlook that transgression. I’d agree with Christopher Harris’ point, too. Much of evangelical Christianity in America emphasizes personal relationship with Jesus, neglecting Jesus’ statement that the commandments boil down to loving God and neighbor. You can’t buy your way into that relationship. You can only get that relationship through self-sacrifice – something inimical to American consumerism.

    I’ve enjoyed your blog and look forward to adding it to my list!

    Grace and peace,

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Adam! I am delighted to make this connection after watching your insightful video, and look forward to reading more on your posts. Thanks if you add this site to your blog list. Blessings.

  9. What most likely is the case is he was given a watch to help promote it. Tom’s Shoes is similar–a company deciding to give back. Christianity is not sincere simply if it is only in “sacred” places. All places are sacred–even our business.

    Now, the presenting issue in my blog post that you commented on is to speak against dualism–a Greek not Christian way of thinking. It is where if you are for something you have to be against something. Saying because the individual is FOR his watch company that gives to charity is NOT a reason to be AGAINST the man’s faith as being a sincere faith. Such judgement is what makes our faith possibly as guilty as the Crusaders. We must be careful to judge motive.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Rich. If you spend any time here you will see I’m strongly for a sacramental approach – I would have including our business, not merely “even our business”. I am not privy to the sincerity of this man’s faith, nor am I privy to his relationship with the watch company (so cannot comment on your suggestion that he was just given a watch and thought he might make that the “Wanna start helping and serving Jesus in a practical way? checkout the company of the watch I am wearing in the video!”) There is much dualistic thinking in Christianity, including (following your definition) in the (Greek-original) New Testament. I am not sure what “faith possibly as guilty as the Crusaders” means. Nor how we should “judge motive”. These are not the ways I think. Blessings.

  10. Hay just looking at your video, you say when you hear law and prophets you immediately think of religion, can you explain to me why that is ?

    1. Jamie, please can you explain what makes you think it is my video?! I thought it would be transparently clear, including that I look quite different, and that my post is not in agreement with his ideas. To be clear in relation to your question: yes, I think law and prophets are part of religion. Blessings.

  11. You raise a very interesting point. One that everybody missed in OUR rush to present this video. On the good side- the Gospel was being talked about and even non believers were checking out the message, as the video climbed through the “now trending” ranks. On the bad side, what message were they hearing? Maybe a good one, but not a complete one. To Bethke’s credit, he seems humble enough to be “listening” (see Kevin DeYoung’s of theGospelCoalition.org website interaction with Jefferson in link at bottom) One other issue arising is this: It looks like he has now gotten fame that he neither asked for, nor was he ready for it. If you had looked at his facebook page, about a week ago, he had single mothers asking him for advice that he admits he is not capable of giving. Lastly, there is always an inherent danger with instant fame. Handlers, well meaning people that help bring about quick fame, can also wind up hurting Jefferson in the long run (i.e the bright idea of :Let’s sell a watch to help people).And it can confuse one to think that they are proclaiming the Gospel when in fact they are not.

    All that being said, may God work in his heart and through him, and may this not be a story with a sad ending. And may God use the faithful leaders to teach and correct wherever and whenever necessary in the manner that Kevin DeYoung did for Bethke here -http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/01/14/following-up-on-the-jesusreligion-video/

  12. Hi Rev. Saw your comment on my blog finally. It got lost in the spam box and I resurrected it. 🙂 I personally missed the more info link myself. Interesting connect. Looks like you guys have had a great convo so there is nothing for me to add. Thanks for visiting my page though. Always appreciate you insight. Take care.

  13. I think he was just plugging them to get people to donate to non profits. A lot of people won’t go out of their way to give their money to charity, but they will if they get something out of it. I have a watch myself and I love it’s symbolic meaning. Every time I look at it personally it gives me inspiration that I can change a life.

    All in all, I think it’s just smart spending in my opinion.

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