The goal of the American Christian Mind Project (ACMP) and Tracts with Legs are the same: to address the tremendous problem in American Christianity, that we do not love God with our minds as Jesus Christ said we must in His First and Great Commandment. ACMP involves serious methodology to get at the heart of the church – “Tracts with Legs” is about – tracts with legs! Or rather – t-shirts with inviting messages, along with a web address and a number, to get “the rest of the message” – though what’s even better is if a discussion ensues about that topic.
Our organization is the only one we know of in the world that is addressing this sin issue as a sin issue – with both profound theological and practical implications. If it is a sin (it’s clear from Scripture that it is – and quite a few well-known Evangelical authors tell us it is, not only just “a sin” – but even a very deep sin) – out of obedience to Christ, we must also address the issue as a sin issue. The world desperately needs organizations addressing this thing which is one of American Christianity’s deepest sin issues! We hope other organizations follow as well, with their own approaches, in obedience to God and glorifying to Him. We hope that part of our work results in more prayer for workers for this field – as it is an enormous one, and we can only do a small (but important) part. One of the important parts of our organization is calling to prayer, and bringing people together for weekly online prayer regarding this issue.
Many of the short lessons we present are things which, if the people are informed, I believe could go a very long way toward helping them love God with their minds – and love one another in a way that’s healthier, more glorifying to God, and more than just good intentions and sweet feelings.
If the problem of the American Christian mind is a thing you’re not yet acquainted with, or haven’t yet come to a conviction about – we’d highly suggest familiarizing yourself with the appropriate sources. Mark Noll’s book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind is perhaps the best-known; but there are many others covering utterly essential aspects – enough, really, that we believe that this problem in America has become quite dangerous. We’ve put together an extensive site for the American Christian Mind Project, covering over a hundred aspects of the issue, summarizing some of the best resources available – with some wonderfully promising new avenues of addressing things which previously would have been next to impossible. The material in that site is definitely “meat” and not milk – so it’s behind a login wall – if you are a church leader and would like to find out how to help your own parishoners love God with all their minds, contact us for a login account. Or you can request the full version introduction to this project – about 22 pages – which has lots more pretty t-shirts! But more importantly, provides more background and grounding for understanding our utterly critical mission in this decade of helping the people obey God with their minds – something, sadly, most people don’t even know they need to do.
This project – it is about “Tracts with Legs.”
The project is actually stunningly simple. We sell “Tracts with legs.” These are (mostly) t-shirts [also yard signs, buttons, car magnets – and even clocks]. Some will be images with short texts that are “discussion inviters.” Others will be very candid, plain messages. Yet others will be bits of Scripture which we believe can be tremendously helpful specifically for helping people love God with their minds, and abandon unhealthy attachments to beliefs and patterns of folk theology and religion which seem to have been holding them back from maturity and loving God with all their minds.
Many of the tracts have at the bottom of them – TractsWithLegs.Com – #22 – or some other number (apologies for the old photos – we were previously using a different domain name – also, we expect some of our shirts to simply be the tracts themselves without a number).
Those who buy our Tracts will have some advice about using the Tracts. How to wear them, where to wear them, when to wear them. There will be warnings about the spiritual effects of wearing our more “potentially controversial” shirts for too long, as well as those which contain messages which are more explicitly about sin. After all, we care more about the legs of the tracts than the tracts. We hold high in our priorities the spiritual lives of each of God’s children who walks around “wearing” the tract, or “being” the tract.
Most shirts have a text associated with them.
The texts and images of the tracts will generally be designed to invite conversation. In a way, they are a bit like “social clickbait.” We will be informing those who buy and wear our Tracts that they should be prepared to have a conversation on that topic whenever they wear the Tract – both spiritually, and mentally. For example (this is one of our “more advanced” ones – most of the messages are stunningly simple compared to this one): The cute hedgehog above is an invitation to learn about David Wells’s classic No Place for Truth and Bonhoeffer’s “Letter to the American Church” – Protestantism Without Reformation. It’s generally about how we became so individualistic, we’ve created little social rules in our communities which end up making us frequently “brush away” truth in favor of “let’s just all get along, alright!” Practically speaking – looking at the ability of most Americans to contemplate and discuss serious matters – this kind of attitude and social rule “just” makes a whole lot of sense, because every church has a mission, and needs to prioritize discussions on some matters, while gently discouraging conversations that the people aren’t prepared for. But then when you look at us as a group – we fail in so many ways! We don’t understand why the local body needs to function this way, so we shout – “Censorship!” – or “I’m just expressing myself!”
We show the hedgehog since this is a lot like Schopenhauer’s very famous quote about two hedgehogs (sometimes translated as porcupines) trying to snuggle together in the cold – and how they get prickled and keep darting off – alternatively getting “too close for comfort” – and then too distant for warmth. It’s a powerful symbol for what we have become socially, and why our communities can get dysfunctional in so many ways. It’s an invitation to think, an invitation to remember, and an invitation to act carefully and considerately. It’s an invitation to help one’s congregation with this particular aspect of the American Christian mind problem – and a reminder that our “mind problem” is also, in so many ways, a “body problem” – that we need to do better at working together as the body of Christ.
We started with just the t-shirt tracts, but found that people tended to see our site NOT as “a tract site” or about the sin of the Christian mind, but – “as a t-shirt site.” We added buttons, yard signs, and car magnets to make clear to those who first visit – “this is more about awareness and something having to do with our relationship with God, than it is about t-shirts. We’d encourage you, in speaking about TRACTSwithLEGS – to make people know “this is not about t-shirts.” This seems to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks, even amongst highly-educated Christians. We do believe it is okay for us to also promote awareness with yard signs and car magnets – but the t-shirts and buttons are better, since they actually start conversations. We believe this message – for it to be effective – needs love. More love than simply a sign that sends a person to a website. That can also be helpful – but it will probably at some point, for most people, require a “live person” to deliver the message in a loving manner, and not a typical “culture warrior” manner.
We currently have 50 designs, addressing various aspects of this problem, from false beliefs about the mind that seem to have come to us from Scottish Common Sense Realism, to the way that it appears that some of our habits and “feelings-orientedness” are resulting in anxiety and hurting our sensibilities regarding truth and the holiness of God. Many will be pointing to well-known works by Evangelicals addressing aspects of our problems with loving God with our minds; others are simply bits of Scripture which we believe are particularly helpful in confronting the way our minds seem to be getting more anxious, more knee-jerky, and less helpful in working together in the body of Christ.
In total, there are currently 50 different designs, addressing different aspects of the problem of the American Christian mind. A longer, 23-page document is also available, describing the project in detail, which makes also for a good introduction to the state of the problem of the American Christian mind in 2017, with the highly important new developments of just the last few years. We recommend this document to anyone who is serious about loving God with their minds – it highlights recent research, explores the issue in more depth, and also provides more information about our organization and plans. It is available to church leaders. We’re preparing a “catalog” of all our designs for church leaders interested – for a better idea of the project, for better knowledge of the aspects of the problem, and to help us discern about things like appropriateness and potential problems. Contact us for either. You can help support our “deeper better” ACM project at its donations page at https://www.gofundme.com/american-christian-mind-project – or go for our more “New Evangelical,” ironic, “millenials millenials!! impact impact!! Tracts with Legs project and donate to that at https://www.gofundme.com/tractswithlegscom-starter.
Thanks for your kind attention!
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