McPassion: The Church Marketing Parody

March 7, 2006 by

McPassion: God's Lovin' It.Just in time for Lent, the McPassion is here. For the 40 days of Lent you can screen the 4-minutes church marketing parody video online.

“[Mel] Gibson’s film was the spark for sure,” said writer-producer Rik Swartzwelder, “but The McPassion is really more of a pointed take on what has happened since the release of his film—this kind of strange and intensifying, post-post-modern union between movie-marketing and houses of worship that his film helped give birth to. It’s a hybrid that’s a little scary and more than a little out of control; that’s why we’re putting our film out there now. The McPassion isn’t about the movies so much as it’s about how and where we sell them, and the overall commercialization of religion. It’s about trying to give congregations a break from the commercial break; it’s about the sanctuary being just that, the sanctuary.”

The film clip is obviously over the top and offensive, but it’s also hilarious. It’s that corporate sponsorship article to the tenth degree.

French fries shaped like the eucharist
Each McPassion meal comes with a crown of thorns and french fries shaped like the eucharist.

McLoaves & Fishsticks
Order the McLoaves & Fishsticks–all you can eat!

McShroud of Turin Moist Towelette
Comes with the McShroud of Turin moist towelette.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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15 Responses to “McPassion: The Church Marketing Parody”

  • Brandon Meek
    March 7, 2006

    Wow.
    I’m lovin’ it.
    I can understand that SOME might find this offensive, but it does a fairly effective job at pointing out how we have monetized the church lately.


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  • dustbury.com
    March 8, 2006

    You deserve a break this eternity

    “I’m sorry, honey, I can’t,” he says. “It’s Lent.” “That’s awful,” she sobs. “To whom, and for how long?” Your reaction to that may well foreshadow your reaction to this….


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  • McPassion:


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  • Brad Isch
    March 9, 2006

    I bet God is not lovin’ it! How would you be “lovin'” it if your child or even your wife was brutally beaten and murdered there was a video produced to mock the event in detail for the sake of satire. How can you say this is offensive and also hilarious? How far will we go to be too cool for the modern church movement? If we loved Jesus as much as we love the church or the experience of church this would make us sick.


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  • glenn
    March 9, 2006

    You know, Mr. Swartzwelder, if you’re going to critique or criticize the “over commercialization of religion,” there are probably a lot of better ways to do so than literally mocking Jesus Christ.
    This movie sucks, and I think that in this regard, the “yeah, but it’s still funny” attitude of ChurchMarketingSucks sucks . . . sometimes you guys are just too wimpy and soft-handed in making a righteous critique about most of the cultural/sacrilegious/foolish “church marketing” nonsense going on around us today.


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  • Brandon Meek
    March 10, 2006

    I have watched this a few times since my initial viewing, and I still stand by what I said originally. When I first saw it, I didn’t really know what to expect; I was entertained, offended and provoked all at the same time.
    My take on it is that these guys are trying to show how the corporate world is using the Church. I don’t think THEY are making light of Christ, but they are showing the secular world’s disregard for what we would consider sacred and using it as a promotional tool.
    I guess I’m not as offended by it because they are insulting the system, not Christ. I can totally understand that some would feel its an insult to Christ, and maybe it is, I guess I am just seeing a different meaning here. They are exposing something that shouldn’t be happening, in my opinion.


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  • glenn
    March 10, 2006

    Hey Brandon, just a thought . . . take the content of your second paragraph there and try explaining that to the kids used by those jokers to mock Jesus Christ and His blood.


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  • Brandon Meek
    March 12, 2006

    For the kids involved, it is unfortunate. It would be difficult to explain to a child because the whole thing is constructed around an adults mind.
    Is it shocking? Yes. Is it offensive? Maybe and certainly if you take it without context. Is it inaccurate? Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that far from the reality of today. They could have done it in a less offensive way, but then there wouldn’t be people talking about it the way they are, and as I understand it, the point was to bring attention to the issue.
    I think it would be equally challenging to explain to a kid why the (TV Series of your choosing) thats being talked about at church isn’t the same one thats on TV (Uh son, we just steal our ideas from other people). Or, why you have some of the stuff from the mall at church but not the toy stores.


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  • Amy
    March 18, 2006

    The McPassion film is shocking for a reason. To make viewers pay attention. This is how secular audiences perceive us when we sell crucifixion nails for necklaces and our church leaders tell us what to buy, or to go see at the movies, or to watch on tv. Rather than getting angry with the messenger, why don’t you address the message?! — Oh, and this film is really well done and side-splittingly funny.


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  • Matthew
    March 26, 2006

    I thought the movie was hilarious, but it takes a few cheap shots, and is, in one sense, maybe pointless.
    Christian marketing deserves to be mocked. Beliefs, however, do not, usually merit such treatment. In fact, denigration of others’ religious beliefs is held to be immoral by most. Most times such beliefs are mocked, two things happen.
    1. Those who disagree are galvanized, insulted and tend to reinforce their own opinions under the threat of attack.
    2. Those who agree are bolstered in their anti-establishment-ism. In other words, the choir gets a rousing sermon and shouts “Glory!”
    The line between articulate defensible beliefs and inarticulate, indefensible values is somewhat blurred. People defend values as beliefs, preferences as church dogma.
    Therefore, to attack religious values under the premise that they’re just preferences and/or personal values is to generate a discussion that is unwinnable.


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  • Amy
    March 30, 2006

    Where in The McPassion do the filmmakers mock or denegrate others’ religious beliefs? They simply point out how various religions’ components are/could be co-opted by those looking to market to/exploit a specific religious audience. I said it before and I’ll say it again: Rather than getting angry with the messenger, why don’t you address the message?!


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  • Corinne
    April 6, 2006

    I find this film extremely offensive being a Christian myself. This is not an effective marketing prompt to get the secular world to come to church rather it is mocking everything about Christianity. If we were to use this commercial for our promotions it would be taking all that we find holy and putting God at our level which he is not. We just read all these events as simple stories every day but can anyone actually imagine going through all that torture that Jesus Christ had to endure?
    This film does show how modernized our world has become and how blind they are to the faith and religion of others. This film was taken way too far and I hope the people involved realize that what they did was completely out of hand.


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  • Corinne
    April 6, 2006

    Just to add something I just noticed. This website is also called “ChurchMarketingSucks” but there is an error in this. Whenever the church is started to be marketed is when we have missed the true point of even going to church. We go to church to worship God with others. Not enter into worship because worship should be in our actions 24/7. That is not always the case. The church does involve monetary issues but those are to help others not to become famous. When we start going to church for selfish reasons and miss the whole message behind it we are becoming blind to what God is trying to tell us. God is holy and righteous, not to be taken as some joke to be portrayed, especially with naive children, in a hypocritical commercial.


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  • Amy
    April 7, 2006

    Corinne, You say, “If we were to use this commercial for our promotions…” Clearly, you *totally* miss the point of The McPassion. The McPassion is a *critique* of marketing as used by Christians and others. It is not a suggestion of how to do more marketing of any faith. The film seems to be intended to both entertain, and to also serve as a warning not to let things go too far. You should read the page where they discuss this stuff and there’s also links to articles too on that site.


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  • Maxwell
    December 1, 2006

    McPassion now streaming on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4TKVyEc91s


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