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Mar 17 2007

Because Jesus loves you even if you are really, really good-looking

Sadly, Models for Christ is not, as I’d first thought, a support forum for the sandy-haired, blue-eyed white dudes who dress up in Jesus-togas for Xian propaganda photo shoots, but it’s still pretty funny, if, like me, you get a chuckle out of the inexplicably universal belief that an invisible dead Jew from the Roman Empire has been floating around the stratosphere for the past 2000 years performing concierge duties for mealymouthed Americans. Or, in this case, for 16-year-old models.

Christ is my best friend [...] He is completely involved with my modeling.”

The gifted author of the Models for Christ website, undeterred by what some might call oxymoron, crafts this remarkable sentence: “Models for Christ seeks to encourage and strengthen the spiritual growth of all who are interested within the fashion business.”

Once you stop laughing at the idea of the God-shaped vacuum inside every fashion model, it takes about 47 seconds to grasp that Models for Christ is actually a shill for “one on one consultations with today’s top industry professionals” (to the tune of $100 an hour), as well as “materials” ($6.95 – $19.95) containing “essential facts” about how to make it big in the modeling game. Imagine. Godbags preying on young girls.

You probably aren’t lying around with nothing better to do, but if you are, the life story of Jill Williams, a model who once had “everything in the world” (i.e. she belonged to a Saudi harem) but whose face, thanks to Jesus, bears no trace of “stress lines,” is just as good as a movie on Lifetime TV.

49 comments

  1. Tapetum

    Wait – upon skimming the Williams thing (I don’t think I can bear to read it in detail), Buddhism and Islam are occult? Huh?

  2. Alarming Female

    As my friend caroline would say, “christ on a pogo stick!”

    Yes, yes, the “truly Christian” are richer, whiter, more good looking, etc., etc., blah blah blah.

    Give me a Buddhist any day of the week. Or better yet, an atheist.

  3. nolo

    Reminds me of the time I got conned into showing up for a time-share hard-sell, and the salesperson I was paired with came equipped with a three-ring sales brochure that had a “WWJD” bracelet hanging off the middle binder ring. I saw that, and two questions immediately came into my mind: (1) Is there anything a Christian won’t fall for? and (2) Is there anything a Christian won’t do?

  4. Fiona

    Why am I now thinking of that godawful “I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me” song?

  5. Miller

    Hilarious!
    It always seems to be the Protestants who have all these “I’m on Jesus’ Team” shenanigans. Protestant Jesus not only has his own bracelets, but also foot soldiers, GodMen, President of the United States, and now models. All we Catholics have is get-out-of-jail Jesus, which allows all the child rapists to roam free from church to church while the clergy who intentionally put children in immediate danger get lauded with trips to the Vatican. And the children forever damaged don’t even get a damn WWJD bracelet.

  6. mearl

    I can just see the big phony bastard who runs this operation shifting into first gear and asking Jesus to send him a few more brainwashed bone racks, to paraphrase the always-facund J.D.S.

  7. the stripper...

    I suspect the only thing those models have in common with Jesus is how emaciated they are.

  8. Rainbow Girl

    I’m too sexy for this cross,
    too sexy for this cross,
    So sexy…

  9. Pinko Punko

    I would pay quite a lot of money to see 12 identically enrobed J’s walking His Sassy Assies down the catwalk. Plus, there will be an awesome laser light show, and a smoke machine. The Good Lord doth love a Smoke Machine of the Holy Spirit.

  10. MzNicky

    Alarming Female: Buddhists ARE atheist.

  11. June

    Jill Williams’ story is really sad. I’m a little confused about why Models for Christ put it up, 1) because it makes modeling look a horrible career choice for women and 2) because her life didn’t appear to get any better after she converted to Christianity. In particular, it seems to bust wide open the religious right’s myth that marrying a man you meet in bible study group will magically solve your problems.

  12. Spinning Liz

    I’m really sorry Twisty, but I’m going to have to stop reading the comments here. This is the third time this week that damn Pinko Punko has made me wet my pants before breakfast.

  13. Pearl

    oh my! That is an unusual niche.

  14. Pinko Punko

    Ain’t I a stinker?

  15. Rainbow Girl

    I like how Buddhism, Sufism and Islam are all considered part of “the occult” in the article. Spooooky!

  16. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Technically he’s correct: The meaning of occult is “hidden.” Since he don’t know shit about these other religions their wisdoms (such as they are) shall always be occulted to him.

  17. SusanM

    June:

    Jill Williams’ story is really sad. I’m a little confused about why Models for Christ put it up, 1) because it makes modeling look a horrible career choice for women and 2) because her life didn’t appear to get any better after she converted to Christianity. In particular, it seems to bust wide open the religious right’s myth that marrying a man you meet in bible study group will magically solve your problems.

    Yes. I enjoyed this from the Williams report:

    But her hopes of marrying Mr. Right, who loved God too, were dimmed when her husband became unemployed and turned from God. He became verbally abusive and morally corrupt. Her dreams for the ideal marriage ended in a divorce. “Divorced and with a child, I was completely humbled,” says Williams, who doesn’t condone divorce.

    She need a clue-by-four. Humble, but not so humble she can’t criticize other women taking the same route she chose, I guess.

  18. Inverarity

    She need a clue-by-four. Humble, but not so humble she can’t criticize other women taking the same route she chose, I guess.

    Amazing how many fundie/conservative women will have divorces, abortions, recreational sex, etc., then suddenly decide that was bad and get all sanctimonious about other women who do the same thing.

    As for Islam, Buddhism, etc., being “occult,” you must not have encountered fundamentalist and evangelical literature before. They consider any non-Christian religion to be occult and Satanic. (They make kind of a grudging exception for Jews, who are sort of Biblical and have the special duty of reclaiming Israel and then subsequently being massacred during armageddon so the Christians can all get whooshed to heaven.)

  19. Metal Prophet

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Conservative evangelical Christianity plus crass American-style capitalism leads to some weird shit. There’s pretty much no area where the Christian market hasn’t attempted to make some sort of crossover. There’s Christian businessmen’s associations, Christian coffeeshops (there’s one in my town), Christian heavy metal, Christian rap, and Christian punk, Christian action movies, Christian action video games, Christian romance novels, and now Christian modelling. I suppose Christian pornography isn’t that far off. Just think of it, a merger of two kinds of misogyny.

  20. mg_65

    When I was still shoe modeling (yes, it’s a real job) in NYC, I went into an agency for work and the guy running the joint told me that I would be expected to “date” clients. For pay.

    I said, “I don’t date clients.”

    He told me angrily that all the models there dated clients, and if you didn’t date clients, you didn’t work. Then he gestured around at all the headshots on the walls and started bragging about how much money they made. These models were all between 13 and 18 years old. They were all from places like Ukraine and Somalia and so forth.

    This was a legit agency. A lot of these girls were doing very well as legit models, also.

    There’s more to this story because I told a friend of mine, also a model, about it and we tried to get the guy busted but we were unable to. Anyway. This was in the early nineties.

    I notice that this website says that they are not an agency and do not offer any agenting services. I’m not sure what they do offer. But nothing sez Godbag like a child prostitution ring, I suppose.

    Sorry for the long comment. Modeling is a evil and this just puts another twist on. IBTP.

  21. Mel

    I saw a great bumper sticker the other day:

    Come the rapture, can I have your car?

    Hahahahaha!

  22. Elspeth R

    “Sadly, Models for Christ is not, as I’d first thought, a support forum for the sandy-haired, blue-eyed white dudes who dress up in Jesus-togas for Xian propaganda photo shoots…”

    Three years ago on Easter weekend, it was my first ever visit to San Francisco, I got to experience a very wondrous thing. I was shown around S.F. in fab style by my best friend who lives there. He took me to Edison Park to see the festivities going on there (near the Castro, IIRC). The “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” were hostessing their Easter Bonnet parade and the, get this, “Hunky Jesus” contest!!! Being a Pagan myself, I had a hoot of a time. The easter bonnets being sported by the many attendees were, well, fabulous! And the S.of P.I. were great in Kabuki-ish drag. But seeing the various contestants ‘warming up’ for their walk on the crucifix-way was freakin’ priceless! One fellow was clad in a loosely wrapped hip cloth, crown of thorns and rather appropriately scrawny – had his friend/handler doing a last minute critique of his cross-pose, arms outstretched…I had to control myself. It was great! Only in S.F., anywhere else and the fundies would be foaming and fuming and gathering torches and pitchforks. I loved the irreverence, and since the xtians stole our Ostara, I think it is hilarious to have this as delightful payback. One of my pics was priceless – a butch fellow in pink-buttless chaps and bunny tail w/bunny ear headband. If I hadn’t had to get to the airport, I would have had a super time!
    Peace and blessings,
    Elspeth

  23. Antelope

    Speaking of Our Lord struttin’ it:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2566269671806009973

    For anybody who hasn’t already seen this, it’s fully worth a minute and a half of your time.

  24. Rainbow Girl

    About the occult thing, yeah it really did take me by surprise. I guess I haven’t seen as much evangelical writing (my GOD I am trying hard not to be the sanctimonious, know-it-all Canadian defined by opposition to stupid America right now!).

    But Christianity and Islam share many texts, just like Christianity and Judaism. Is this “occult” perception really that common? Because I thought it was hilarious!

  25. MzNicky

    Antelope: Thanks for posting that link! That’s the clip I’ve been thinking about all through this thread. Too hilarous.

  26. Catherine Martell

    “if, like me, you get a chuckle out of the inexplicably universal belief that an invisible dead Jew from the Roman Empire has been floating around the stratosphere for the past 2000 years performing concierge duties for mealymouthed Americans.”

    Anyone got any tips for getting coffee stains out of a sofa? I may have to have hysterics less demonstratively next time.

    Ah yes, Christian godbags vs Islamic godbags: a battle to the death between two virtually identical factions of the Abrahamic patriarchy. In 500 years, the historians among our descendants will look back in deep confusion from their feminist utopia. See also: Catholics vs Protestants, Guelphs vs Ghibellines, Sunni vs Shiite, People’s Front of Judea vs Judean People’s Front, etc.

    Don’t get too excited about Buddhism being atheistic. It’s still a formalised and unquestionable set of beliefs, and that makes it a religion, regardless of whether or not there’s a skyfairy perched at the top of the tree. And you don’t need to spend very long in a Buddhist part of the world to realise that you’re in for just the same patriarchal bullshit as in all religions. Men control all the power and hierarchy; women are banned from the sacred hut for their dirty crime of menstruating. And don’t get me started on the institutionalised prostitution.

    Godbags: available in all flavours, apart from feminist.

  27. MzNicky

    “Men control all the power and hierarchy; women are banned from the sacred hut for their dirty crime of menstruating.”

    Not at the sangha I go to. Just sayin’.

  28. Mel

    “But Christianity and Islam share many texts, just like Christianity and Judaism. Is this ‘occult’ perception really that common? Because I thought it was hilarious!”

    No, Rainbow Girl. It’s only common among the christian fundies. Everyone who doesn’t believe EXACTLY as they believe and do EXACTLY as they’re told is looked at as “evil” and “occult.” One of their favorite sayings to someone who displays a sign, however so faint, of having an actual thought is, “It’s too easy for Satan to get in.” That’s what they mean in that article Twisty linked to about “opening your mind.” Opening your mind is looked at as the ULTIMATE EVIL among godbagian fundies. Once you open your mind, that guy with the pitchfork and the red hot pants just oozes right in through your frontal lobes.

    If I were you, I’d wear my Canadian heritage like a badge of honor at this point! I have many relatives in Canada. I have seriously thought now and then about applying for citizenship!

  29. hedonistic

    “Once you open your mind, that guy with the pitchfork and the red hot pants just oozes right in through your frontal lobes.”

    (A pitchfork and red hot pants? SEXAYYYYY!)

  30. Mychelline

    It’s not just *non*-Christian faiths that fundies think are Satanic. Catholics, the original Christians, also qualify. I was raised Catholic (although now I’m a Pagan), and the fundies here in Indiana think my Catholic family are just as suspect/unacceptable, simply because Catholics don’t believe *exactly* what they believe, as someone else mentioned.

    My in-laws are Southern Baptist, and we scrupulously avoid the topic of religion because they think I’m Catholic, like my family, and that’s entirely bad enough. If they knew I was a Pagan, well, I can’t imagine what would happen, but it wouldn’t be pretty.

  31. hedonistic

    Oh I forgot to mention,this. DO NOT LINK TO ME TODAY if you are at work! If you are curious as to what the HPS is all about the best time to visit is at home.

    I’ll be NSFW for a few days. The photo makes sense in context. Although, when the action dies down I’ll probably photoshop an “OBJECTIVELY OFFENSIVE” SIGN over the titays.

    (Anybody out there know how to Photoshop?)

  32. Samantha

    Interesting point: According to the author of Jill Williams’ life story, Buddhism, Islam, and Sufism are “the occult.” Who knew?

    Apparently, as a result of reading New Age books, Ms. Williams “gained weight which hurt her modeling career.” I’m sure it made Jesus very sad that she no longer looked like a stick in her bikini.

  33. Sylvanite

    What June said about the tone of that story. Yeesh! What a sordid little tale. It really does illustrate that “finding Jesus” doesn’t guarantee a happy life. It’s just false advertising.

    Could christian fundamentalism be any more assinine?

  34. hedonistic

    I just deleted the reversed-gender analogy I was writing up as a little joke (“Chippendales for Christ”) once I realized the guys would need to be underaged. I’ll be off my feed for HOURS, trying to evict the disturbing visuals invading my brainspace. Worlds of EW. Somebody take this guy the feck OUT, please?

  35. Frumious B

    You all need to rent the modern, musical version of Reefer Madness. The Jesus Vegas number (complete with lurex loincloth) will have you rolling.

  36. Jennifer

    Rainbow Girl gets my vote for inducing coffee to spurt from my nostrils. Her “I’m too sexy for this cross” ditty appealed to my sick sense of humor in a wicked wicked way!

  37. Bird

    Weirdest Jesus-brand product I’ve ever seen recently? Fish-shaped breath mints so you can “share the Gospel!” when you tell your friend her breath stinks.

    My mom’s a fundie, and she hasn’t been able to drive for a few years because of the brain cancer. Guess who has made some rather educational trips to the Christian bookstore in the last few years?

    The things people will buy if you slap a bible verse on something—wow.

    Oh, and don’t even get me started on going to her church (which I’ve done from time to time to keep her happy). It takes all the tongue biting and hand sitting I can manage to keep from jumping up and yelling at the pastor. The day he started in on men’s authority in marriage and how his wife doesn’t get to have a say, well, I bit my cheek until it bled. Sad thing is, my mother used to be a feminist.

    Yes, the fundies exist in Canada too.

  38. Catherine Martell

    MzNicky: “Not at the sangha I go to. Just sayin’.”

    Of course: I know that most liberal, Western forms of Buddhism have gone in for the gender-neutral thing (sorry, here I am assuming that you’re liberal and Western, but I’m just taking a punt on it – apologies if I’m mistaken). Buddhist societies, though, seem to end up being pretty darned patriarchal, at least in my experience.

    Plus, I realise that you may well not adhere to everything that has ever been attributed to Buddha, but I’ve never got past the Eight Heavy Duties. Could hardly define women more clearly as the inferior sex.

  39. Jezebella

    Bird, when my mother requires my attendance at church, I read the bible. Usually the hallucinogenic stuff in the Book of Revelation or the steamy stuff in Song of Solomon. She can’t exactly tell you to quit reading the bible in church, can she? My mother hasn’t figured out how to, anyway. It’s the only way I get through it without going bananas.

  40. KMTberry

    Just wanted to chip in that CHICK TRACTS describe Catholics as VERY VERY Occult Satan-Worshippers (Not that we want to navigate the world by CHICK TRACTS, but they DO offer a view of what the Fundies are REALLY thinking.)

    And speaking of Catholics: My Neighborhood Catholic Cathedral (San Jose on Herndon) is mostly attended by Mexican Americans and they ALWAYS have a strolling Jesus Impersonator at their street fair/money raising carnival thingys. It’s Wonderful. The congregation views the strolling Jesus Impersonator as Totally Normal and Festive.

    Once I went to Sturgis and there was a strolling Jesus Impersonator there, with the mission to hand out tracts and also witness to Biker gangs(!), and he had a WEE LITTLE WHEEL on the bottom of his wooden cross so he could drag it thru the streets with greater ease

    a priceless detail

  41. Jezebella

    The Jesuses wandering around preaching during Mardi Gras in New Orleans also attach wee little wheels on their crosses for dragging convenience. I think it’s kind of a cop-out, personally. I mean, if you’re gonna play Jesus, you really ought to COMMIT to the role. Jeezus himself didn’t have a roll-aboard crucifix.

  42. Jezebella

    I learn something new every time I read this blog. Today, the Eight Heavy Duties of women in Buddhism, which I’d never heard of. A quick google search yields this article: http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=70,2666,0,0,1,0
    which argues that the Eight Heavy Duties were not original to the Buddha but rather added post-haste by Buddhist dudes when the nuns got too uppity.

  43. Bird

    a roll-aboard crucifix

    Can I get one in red tartan with a little pull-strap?

    Anyways, the whole thing with my mother’s church is really weird now that she’s dying. The arrangements for her memorial service and funeral have been left up to me. I’m the only one she ever discussed her wishes with, largely because I do understand what her beliefs are, unlike most of the family. Sitting down and talking to her pastor about her wishes is really, really uncomfortable.

    I’d also like all of them to stop praying for her to live longer. She’s in a whole lot of pain and on a whole lot of drugs, and her quality of life is terrible (no walking, trouble speaking, regular low-level infections, frequent seizures, loss of eyesight, the list goes on and on). If heaven’s such a good place to be, why don’t they wish for her to be there instead of here suffering?

    Sorry for the rant. It’s all just a bit of a sore spot at the moment.

    Jezebella, I also must confess a fondness for the Song of Solomon. Pomegranates are a good thing.

  44. Frumious B

    I sense a “No True Buddhist” argument in the works.

    Eight Heavy Duties were not original to the Buddha but rather added post-haste by Buddhist dudes when the nuns got too uppity.

    Which in no way negates their existance or makes Buddhism any less full of sexist knobbery.

  45. Jezebella

    Oh no! NO! I did NOT mean to start an argument, as I am not a Buddhist. I was just blathering because I learned something new.

    And you’re right, Frumious. Word.

  46. Alarming Female

    I suppose I was thinking along the lines of “all Buddhists are atheists, but not all atheists are Buddhists.” My perception of Buddhists is that they are pretty much cool with just about anything, religion-wise. But then I was told that by a semi-practicing Buddhist who was offended when someone characterized her an “not Christian.”

    Didn’t mean to start anything. My bad.

    And my Christian fundamentalist background definitely damned the Catholics. They pray to Mary(!) and worship graven images. Yeah-huh.

  47. LMYC

    Jesus is the ONLY one who does love you if you look really good — as little dear Jill is desperately trying to deny. All of those Gawdly Kristian Men she’s panicking for?

    Ain’t gonna happen, honey. Yeats:

    ‘I heard an old religious man /
    But yesternight declare /
    That he had found a text to prove /
    That only God, my dear, /
    Could love you for yourself alone /
    And not your yellow hair.’

    That Gawdly Mayun you’re looking for? He’s just another guy trying to poke you, no matter how many WWJD bumperstickers he slaps on his fucking car.

    Bitter? Why yes, why do you ask?

  48. Mike

    While doing a google search for the Models for Christ website, I stumbled upon this blog and felt compelled to post so at least there would be one alternative viewpoint here. I don’t have the time or the eloquence to post anything here that is going to open your minds to the truth about God, but at the very least I do want to defend the organization. I personally know a few of the people who work for MFC and to the best of my knowledge it is completely on the up-and-up. Any fees charged to people who seek them out are not in any way to line the pockets of the organizers, but to simply cover expenses for living and operating in one of the most expensive cities in America. Apart from the Calenbergs, who are very successful models, the rest of the employees are dirt poor because they DON’T charge for most of the services they provide. It really is a group of good people trying to help in a very dark industry.

    I am sorry that most of you who post here have apparently had bad experiences with those who claim to represent Jesus Christ. The facts are, no one is perfect, no organization is perfect, and that includes Christians and churches. If you actually look into the facts, Christianity never promises a perfect life and heaven on earth – it promises heaven in heaven. And if every Christian truly knew and represented what the Christian faith claimed there would be no such thing as a “hypocrite” because we never made any claims that Christians would be nicer, better, or any less “sinful” than everyone else. The central message of Christianity: we’re ALL sinful, mean, lazy, etc. and that’s why Christ had to come.

    Bottom line, you shouldn’t close your mind towards a perfect & loving God just because people are jerks, and when someone is really trying to do a good thing don’t automatically look for ways to bash it simply because you disagree with the beliefs of the people doing it.

  49. Crystal

    Chick tracts!
    I only came across these recently when some uuberchristian dude gave me this one:
    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1104/1104_01.asp
    when I guess I showed too much respect for the Muslims. It notes on the website that this is the altered version “for black audiences,” which is kind of sad because when I got it I was like, “well, at least it’s not a white dude.”
    My favorite stills are the 2nd and 24th ones. The really sad thing is that on the same day I saw a pic of Mariah Carey in the same position as the Muslim dude in the 2nd illustration in some magazine along with text of her talking about being “empowered” now.
    I had to see what the deal was with these so I checked out the website and after reading some I have to wonder who the intended audience is for these? Seriously, how could anyone take them seriously? I hope these aren’t supposed to be for little kids, but I’m suspecting that that’s the case.
    The most offensive one to me was this one:
    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1020/1020_01.asp

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