The film follows Reverend Billy (Bill Talen), and his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir cross-country, on two bio-diesel buses, preaching to people from all walks of life about the commercialization of Christmas in America
Hilarious and captivating, What Would Jesus Buy explores the American frenzy spending during the holidays.
At its premise is that people have lost sight of what is truly important in life, and that rather than the holidays’ spirituality, it is the malls that we have come to worship.
Noting that approximately 15 million Americans are clinically addicted to purchasing and are following the path of “eternal debt”, the documentary humorously brings forth the materialistic life style people are caught in where love, affection, and esteem, have been reduced or equated to a disposable gift.
The film follows Reverend Billy (Bill Talen), and his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir cross-country, on two bio-diesel buses, preaching to people from all walks of life about the commercialization of Christmas in America. He is on a mission to save our souls from consumerism, or “shopocalypse.”
Along with parents and children, interviewed are also theologians, historians, politicians, and preachers, who openly express their views about the extravagant purchases during the holidays.
In his quest against the worship of retail, Reverend Billy sets Spending-Sins Confessional-Booths at shopping malls, he exorcizes department stores “to drive the demons out of cash registers,” sets outdoor demonstrations, preaches in churches and, in the company of his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, goes door to door singing Christmas carols with amusing lyrics.
For his activism, Reverend Billy encountered some trouble on the way. He was arrested over 40 times, and received a court order ban from every Starbucks in California.
Director Rob VanAlkemade well balances the challenges and the successes through the use of music, animation, and humor. “We should realize the true meaning of Christmas” states Reverend Billy. Instead of accumulating more debt and spending our life away at the malls, we need to put more time where it matters. “Explore the options is all we ask” he says.
Devoting more quality time to our families, reducing frivolous spending, donating more to charity, and to our communities, conveys a powerful message indeed.