What Would Jesus Buy?

What Would Jesus Buy?Religion aside for a moment, there's a terrible addiction that has swept across this country, and it's one of the nation's best kept secrets. Mostly everyone will tell you that it's a really bad thing, but nobody can seem to stop doing it. And it doesn't come cheap, nearly sixty percent of us are in long term debt because of it. No, we're not talking booze, drugs or overeating. It's shopping. And over 15 million Americans may in fact be addicted to it.

Rob VanAlkemade's 'What Would Jesus Buy?' is a rousing, irreverent and simultaneously sobering documentary about the year round destructive shopaholic obsession that spins into an out of control buying and spending orgy by the time Christmas rolls around. The movie follows performance activist Reverend Billy and his ragtag cross country caravan, The Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, to bring the voice of reason a few holiday seasons ago, to compulsive consumers everywhere. The intent of this countdown to Christmas is to save the holiday from what Reverend Billy has dubbed only slightly in jest, the Shopocalypse. Ironically, many of his group are injured when one of their buses collides on a highway with a truck rushing to deliver Christmas merchandise to stores. Meanwhile, the Reverend muses, 'everyone in a car is driving to a television.

The What Would Jesus Buy? project is the brainchild of Morgan Spurlock, the same guy who in a less spiritual frame of mind, lost the junk food battle of the bulge against McDonald's with his Academy Award nominated high calorie investigative doc, Super Size Me, and is now hitting the plexes with Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden. The concerns of What Would Jesus Buy are broader than digestion issues, as Reverend Billy and entourage put out a wakeup call to mall junkies everywhere, exorcising the demons from assorted cash registers and credit cards as he urges consumers to return to a more authentic relationship with Christmas. (Excerpt from amazon.com)

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Ratings: 8.00/10from 25 users.

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48 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Kelly

    This is about as stupid as anything can get. Religious leaders telling people to stop shopping is like pigs telling us to stop over eating.

  2. coryn

    Funny, funny, funny.... What a riot of laughs. This man is high on God or life or something....... It does seem like people are trying to accumulate as much stuff as possible, even to the point of going way deep in debt. And the cheaper the stuff, the more you can get.....
    But the other side of the coin is that much of it is produced by slave labor.... One crazy world we're living in.......

    1. Yusiley Sierra

      Scarier still is that much of those material goods were produced by children, many under the age of 15. :( It's not just a crazy world, but a highly distorted and depressing one, suffering from socipathic tendencies.

  3. Yusiley S

    The best advice comes from Fight Club...
    Tyler Durden: We're consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don't concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy's name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.
    Narrator: Martha Stewart.
    Tyler Durden: F**k Martha Stewart. Martha's polishing the brass on the Titanic. It's all going down, man. So f--k off with your sofa units and Strinne green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let... lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may."

    So yea f--k debt. Live your life that you see fit, not some commercial or society. Don't believe in the hype. Hell don't even believe in what I write set your own goals. Not goals of others. Just keep in mind that... "You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your f--king khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world."

  4. Beaglelvrboz

    Jesus himself already came to tell us what really matters - and it isn't shopping for the latest gadget or clothing, or anything this world has to offer. Knowing you have salvation in Jesus Christ is what really matters. Reverend Billy and his choir are putting out a great message - but if they don't have salvation in Jesus Christ, they don't have any more than people who buy too much stuff.

  5. Robert Fairhurst

    Except for the Jesus business I wholeheartedly agree with everything this guy says

  6. manfruss

    Wait a minute..... if everyone stopped buying useless trinkets, what's gonna keep the economy going? We need people in debt to feed our corporate monster. We need people to justify their existence with buying things, and working so they can buy things.

    I feel there is are major flaws in our socioeconomic systems. Chiefly surrounding the meaning of life, the purpose of life, and how things function. I know I'm sacrilegious to question the corporate-capitalistic system Western Civilization is in love with, and I'm proud to be sacrilegious. There are other options. Let's recalibrate the systems in play. The only reason to not re examine it, is if you like the current stratification of society. There are better ways, that I've heard of to name a few. Take currency away from the banks, and give it back to community. I've heard of many places trying this one out! You need something, you get and now owe the community. You pay that back by providing services to others within the community. If you give more than you take, your community owes you.

    Not a great explanation for a few sentences, and maybe people can start to shift the paradigms they're lock into, that this is the only way. We're not that righteous.

    1. Yusiley S

      "If you give more than you take, your community owes you."

      If this were actually practice now-a-days, than the communities would go bankrupt because they owe teachers a lot... especially teachers who specialize in teaching people with special needs or who are labeled with disabilities.

  7. Laura Badger

    The lady with the pampered pooch has some kind of new mental disease! I don't know anyone like this! Makes me want to hate Christmas! Oh well, at least there's eggnog!

  8. noconman

    He surely wouldn't buy the concept of christmas at all. To give to ones who do not need, is to give nothing at all. To him, I believe, love is the only gift worthy of giving. But that would mean giving all that you have to others who have nothing at all. And when you have done that, and are like those, who have nothing at all, you will be worthy to recieve what you need from others. Love is the only gift we need, in order to share this material world. To bad his wise words are overlooked and distorted. Other wise men have said it too. They are not my words, but they are true. Be generous every day, give to those who need, not to those who just want. The men who preach the words, without living them, do nothing for us but spread doubt in others that there is any truth to them at all. Please God, save me from your followers, and forgive them, they don't understand the words they read.

    1. Yusiley Sierra

      That is so beautiful and so true. I kind of giggled towards the last sentence of your comment. :) Thank you for sharing your delightful and very insightful opinion.

  9. Dale Chan

    The lady with the dog is scary.

    1. Yusiley S

      I agree 100%, but what is most disturbing is her husband (I think he is her hubby).... um clearly he likes high maintenance women. Really depressing, no wonder he is gulping down that eggnog. :) I don't know I think it's because I rather spend $60 to $80 taking my dog to a specialist than spending my money on buying him a toy. Seriously...what the *beep* is a Louise Vertton (however the *beep* you spell it)? With that kind of money (the money that lady spent on her dog is over $1000 I bet) I could pay off my loans and help my man pay off his. O_O

  10. Dale Chan

    We are doomed.

  11. Yusiley S

    I love this reverend and this documentary (and why not it was produced by the same guy who did Super Size Me; Morgan Spurlock). It has the true feeling and meaning of what Christians ought to be and how Christmas need to be celebrated. It's a very Atheist and Agnostic friendly movie and something to which ALL people could relate... that you ought to not burden yourself with too many material goods and to keep your life simple in order to have true happiness. It's a very up-to-date documentary to the Affluenza movie series. I personally view this film as a brother or sister to the Affluenza films from the 1990s. A third parter if you will. :)

    You know these kids would be shocked at the gifts I received for Christmas when I was a kid... I had Christmases when I would get only two gifts from my parents. I still remembered one of them... I got a Barbie Corvette convertible (I loved how this white car looked and always wanted one) and a pink plush of those purring cats that disguised as another animal (I had the pink cat who dressed up as a Toucan). It was one of my favorite Christmas days, second to the one when I was 5 yrs old and finally got a dinosaur plush (I still have it, that thing is over 25 yrs old).

    It's this simplicity of Christmases and in gift receiving overall is the reason why that I'm more ecstatic and joyful when my man adds to my Transformers Shockwave collection over having jewelery or expensive gifts that most women of my age group expect from their men (you know who you are... gold diggers). Also finding joy in simple things and the simple life is why I think my man had stuck around with me for over 8yrs now.

    Don't get me wrong I love buying new things now and then. However, only when I'm forced to find replacements of those items, such as old shoes I had for over ten yrs. I have about 15 shoes and they all get worn... shoot 7 of those 15 pairs are over 12 yrs old. I'm not the type to throw things out until they are completely worn out to the point of being not fixable... forget whether they are fashionable or not...or that they are the latest models. I could careless. If they fit and still function, I'm going to wear them. I got a pair of high heels in the color of burgundy (Bakers brand) that are over 16yrs old and I just don't have the heart to throw them out. They're brand new still even though I've used them a lot (I care for my things very well). I even fixed that burgundy sandal one time because one of the straps undid itself and needed repairs. I just glued that baby right back to its place with automotive glue and it still intact. People these days are so wasteful and greedy. They need to visit countries like Cuba to see what having nothing is really like so they can be more appreciative for what they have and are given. >_> I sometimes feel like a freak because I see such uncreative, wasteful, greedy people all around me who just throw things out without considering the possibilities of repairing it or updating it. *sighs* I'm currently going to a tailor because I have a lovely blouse and a pair of palazzo pants I need to have altered so that they fit on me. It would cost me more to have them altered than the price I paid for them, but alterations are still millions times cheaper than these items ending up in a landfill.

  12. suzyvee81

    This movie is a bit on the wacky side but it succeeded in keeping my attention for the duration of the film. If that's what it takes to get the message out, then so be it! It absolutely made me stop and think about the choices I make.

  13. Eric Cromwell

    I have been trying to get it through peoples heads for 20 years that, spending time with your family and making a rough wooden car for a child is worth far more than the latest plastic gizmo thatll be broken in a month. Shame I'm in the minority.

  14. Anon

    I am An atheist and i love Rev. Billy!

  15. Mark Paulson

    At the 41 minute mark, that is hilarious where he is praying while pumping gas. FUNNY!

  16. CherryBombpop

    Hmm, the message is a good one, but this guy acts like a buffoon. It's too bad. It gets him attention at least, but I think more people are just gawking at how odd he acts instead of really listening to his message. Too bad because we ALL NEED TO HEAR THIS MESSAGE AND TAKE IT TO HEART. Our over-spending has helped get us into the recession we're in now. It's not ALL the government's/banker's/elite's fault. Do your darn best not to go further into debt this year everyone, and happy holidays with your loved ones.

    ~ Go look at Christmas lights
    ~ Go ice skating, or play in the snow
    ~ Sing carols together or other seasonal songs
    ~ Go to a cut-your-own Christmas tree farm together
    ~ Make Christmas ornaments with recycled stuff, give some as gifts
    ~ Make cookies together and give some away
    ~ Go to see the Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol at a local amateur theater
    ~ Don't watch commercial TV, rent and watch some great holiday movies (I recommend White Christmas), and vow to get away from obnoxious ads, especially if you have kids
    ~ Volunteer as a family at a homeless shelter, nursing home, or animal shelter
    ~ Make home made gift tags with recycled papers and old cards - try pinking shears for the edges, and don't forget the glitter, ribbons, buttons, googly eyes, rick rack...get busy with it and have fun
    ~ Take a cooking class, a knitting class, a candle making class, a woodworking class - something creative and productive
    ~ Look to nature for gift trims and decorations - acorns and small pine cones and greenery to deck your halls, walls, and gifts
    ~ Pop loads of popcorn and string it with cranberries on dental floss, while listening to Christmas music, then decorate the tree with your garlands :)
    ~ Make a Christmas scrap book - either a real one, or you can make some really cute ones online with pics you upload. Those are easy to share with faraway friends and family, too
    ~ Play charades, board games, or card games - games like Pictionary will have you laughing your heads off
    ~ Make silhouettes - put a lamp behind a family member so they cast a shadow on the wall. Hang a piece of paper at the right height and have the person stand so their shadow is in profile on it. Trace their outline, then cut it out and glue it to a contrasting piece of paper. Hang on the wall or add to scrapbook. it's fun to have a whole family gallery of these :)
    ~ Make hand made recipe books, candles, soap, cookies, muffins, sock puppets, ANYTHING handmade as gifts instead of buying, wherever possible
    ~ Knit quick and easy winter scarves out of yarn bought at thrift stores
    ~ Present the kids with a dress-up box of fun/funny clothes, hats, shoes, scarves, and costume jewelry. Ask them to come up with a skit using the clothes.

    It's all about being with the people you love and making memories with them, not about going broke and paying it off for the rest of the year. Merry Merry!

    1. Mantid

      "things to do besides shop", #8 on your list is, shopping!

    2. CherryBombpop

      #8 on my list is watching movies. You can rent movies from a library or order them online cheaply.

    3. Mike James

      YOu get it!

  17. ranii02

    im scared for my future children, to be sucked more into this materialistic commercialism more than i experienced. that little girl at 20mins was a snob; i hope my children know that if they want something (which obviously they would) then they have to work for it, and defnietly not become an overweight greedy child just like the one at 20mins!

  18. MJ

    Eh... slightly funny, if directionless

  19. Hambone Littletail

    Two years ago, I walked away from my six-figure job; I sold all of my homes (except one, which I rent for $700 per month, which is my total income); I got rid of both my gas-sucking cars; I gave away 99.5 percent of my material possessions (every material possession, except of course my rental house, that I own would fit into the pickup truck I no longer own); paid off all my credit cards and sliced them up (my Home Depto card alone was $22K); took all my money out of the bank and put it inot silver (which has almost tripled in two years, by the way); and became voluntarily unemployed and homeless. I’m still alive to talk about it; I am a better person for it; and (most importantly), this is a healthier planet for it. Of course, it is Friday night, and (once again), I have found myself TOTALLY ALONE, not to mention the fact that I haven’t been laid in a year, because NOT ONE PERSON I know has joined me in my save-the-planet dive into radical voluntary simplicity (or non-radical voluntary simplicity, for that matter.) If any of this piques your interest, come find me on Youtube at Humptydumptytribe, and let’s talk.

    1. KooKookaChoo

      Did you purchase physical silver or certificates? I watched a documentary on this site (forget which one) that said to invest in precious metals but to have it physically in your possession because some companies (is that right word?) do not actually have the metal and will pay you out with normal currency (which devalues so you are no better off than if you stashed your useless money under your mattress)

      I am very interested in this kind of investment, but am just at the collecting old jewellery phase (I haven't ventured into serious investment yet) - any advice?

      You are not alone (I am not looking to hook-up, lol, I have an aversion to dating) but there are many people who want this simple life and are either trying to attain it or don't really know the best way to attain it (me!).

      Best of luck in your new life.

  20. aaangie

    this is excellent. if only more people would realise that the best things in life are not things..

  21. kathleen

    First of all thank you Vlatko for having this amazing documentary site for us and putting this film on it.
    I'm grateful to this group for their courage and unique way of getting the message out there.I hope it can be viewed on main stream T.V. soon....since it is convincing and inspiring and not complicated .
    Our consumerism is hurting people , harming the planet and we're not even made happier doing it.....
    This documentary is valuable because once one knows the suffering that went into making the products available to us we can realize the price may be cheap .... but the cost in misery too high.

  22. Miguel

    The initial idea of teaching people of the real meaning of Christmas is good, but this group (especially the priest) behaves in such a foolish way that they aren't seen in any other way but as clowns. The priest talking about his anger towards the police, "exorcising" a Walmart sign and speaking much non-sense such as "change-aluyah" and some other craziness about mickey mouse... it's a waste of time and money. There's no need to go and attack places, but there is a need, though, to teach each individual who feels the need for truth. At no point he preached a biblical verse as if it wasn't necessary.
    May God bless them with whatever they're lacking as well as the rest of us.

  23. muse

    whats funny is that while posting this show, the google AD's... the ZALES diamond AD's to find it at a shopping mall near you, ironic isn't it? LOL

  24. Sharon

    Excellent film! Everyone should watch it on Black Friday :D

  25. Dodgy


  26. ryan

    Cute and Funny! I totally enjoyed! My spirit of Consumer Christmas was broken after watching my Mother cry, year after year because she could not make the consumer quota!

  27. Ang

    The message is good, (reminds me of true activism). I do however, disagree with the the mocking of preaching and religious association. Certainly the message is to convey we are focusing way too much on the commercialization of Christmas however you can say that without looking like a preacher or acting like you are in a church....after all Christ is not really what "RevBilly" is even promoting. It has funny moments as well as thought provoking ones. Glad to see the teenagers paying attention to the clothes they were buying, smh that the store had no clue as to what the ladies were asking. The stats were outrageous throughout this movie, People are TRAMPLED TO DEATH each year during the holidays but we still act senseless over a doll, game, a 1/2 sign. People would rather go BROKE then share TIME WITH THEIR FAMILIES....WHAT A CONCEPT!

    True Walmart is a Mega-Giant and has more issues than the ones presented, a young girl slaves away feeling as though she is going to die for pennies while another in AMERICA another has to work 90+ hours to get ahead in life....point proven! Overall well done!

  28. Jenn

    Hilarious and eye-opening.
    No credit cards for this girl! :]

  29. James

    Fantastic & great documentary. Really enjoyed it. Please slow down and be mindful and the world will be a better place.

  30. Nickolas

    Great and amazing. Good to see others feel like I do. Your cause has inspired me!

  31. richard

    "In Credit We trust" should be our new motto on dollar bills. We our drowning in our riches, whether it be in debt, obesity or hoarding all this stuff we claim to need to have in our huge underfunded houses that we couldn't afford to buy in the first place. Ya... I got infected by 'need to buy' mantra that's been drilled into us. I owe many tens of thousands of dollars to almost everyone. The days when I don't work are filled with endless calls from creditors. Even my children have been touched deeply. Deprivation rules the roost these days as daddy can't even put out for a cheap Mcdonald's toy. Love to everyone.

  32. Southern Tier Western NY

    I'm a believer sign me up...
    Last yr we paid bills...and enjoyed being together as gifts..It was hard because everyone bragged...But after it was over we felt stronger for it...
    God Bless us one and all..
    Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday baby Jesus

  33. sunny1

    A must see anywhere in the world! Very creative idea even though sometimes over the top - in this world how else to get your message out. Keep on preachin' Rev Billy...

  34. Robston

    Ok, funny at times, but not much substance really.

  35. azure

    Boring -- Good message but cant watch for long

  36. Craig S.

    Loved it, deliver to all consumers everywhere, a powerful message rapped in humor, 5 stars *****

    1. Vlatko

      You mean 10 stars Craig S.

  37. Charles B.

    shopocalypse? How funny! This was good, but a bit long.

  38. Tyler

    These are what I would call "good Christians." :)

  39. Demi

    lol, sorry, it's 3:00 am and i've hat to much to drink....but i thought this was a good post ;) thz