Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Click any image for a larger version

So, finally, a Jesus Action Man kit?

Well, yes and no.

It was one of the exhibits at the Twente Biennale contemporary art festival in Enschede, Netherlands, in 2015.

It is by Dutch artist, and former broadcaster, Filemon Wesselink, and he explains the background, more or less, as follows.


Filemon sees the crucifix, the image of the body of Jesus on the cross, as the "trademark" of the Christians. He was brought up a Christian himself and had been acutely aware this image all through his childhood. He used to gaze in awe at the large wooden crucifix behind preacher during the sermon.

During a trip to the holy places of Israel, he was confronted many times a day by this symbol. At the same time there were many tourist market stalls selling toys and lots of these involved violence of one sort or another. Action men wielding weapons and allowing children to fantasise their own private wars.

But there was a complete absence among them of any representation of the cruelty of the crucifixion. Hence, this DIY crucifixion kit which raises many questions.

Where do you stand when you nail Jesus to the cross? While Christianity would be diminished without the crucifixion, would this kit be going too far for Christians? And what would it say about the state of Christianity if Christians approved of such a kit? Would people actually feel guilty buying it and replaying the crucifixion? If they did, would this not be an indication that they were true believers?

Filemon reminds us that the town where the Twente Biennale took place was also where the TV show The Passion was shot. That was the 'Disneyfication' of Christianity. This kit is the next step in its ultimate desecration.

Source: my paraphrasing of his Dutch commentary

Filemon Wesselink

There is nothing in Filemon's Wiki page (Google translation) about this, so the page is clearly in need of updating. However it does tell us, for example, that, in May 2002, he was the last person to interview (radio) the Dutch politician, Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated outside the studio minutes after the interview.

Catholicopoly Board Game - detail

Anyway, back to Jesus.

The crucifixion kit, though not on sale in any shops as far as I know, reminded me of an outrageous piece of Christian marketing, which I discovered around 2004, but which still seems to have some traction. Based loosely on the board game Monopoly, this board game has a real-life evangelising and educational function.

I'll leave it to this extract from the game's current blurb to fill you in.
Catholic-opoly is a religious family board game based on the Catholic faith.

The goal of the game is not to accumulate wealth, but to build as many churches and cathedrals as possible in order to spread the Word of the Lord. You still win by bankrupting your opponents, but in a nice,fun way.

Players will also learn scriptures and church history.In addition, the game addresses financial management as well as charity and tithing.

Game tokens include an angel, ark, chalice, donkey, dove,and fish. The drawing cards are Faith and Community Service.

Encounter comical situations such as, You forgot to put the kneeling bench down and jammed your knee on the floor. Pay doctor's bill of $50.

Catholic-opoly is perfect for people of all ages and is an enjoyable way to learn about the Catholic faith.


Now that really annoyed me with visions of medieval European cathedrals, or the local versions of Dublin in the 1960s, vast suburban holy hangers.

It was in the middle of me ranting and raving about the inappropriateness of equating evangelisation with building yet more redundant and wasteful bespoke churches, and muttering that someone should do an online spoof version of the board game, that my wife quietly challenged me and said "Well, stop moaning and do it yourself".

Catholicopoly - online version - introductory screen

So I did. And to this day I'm very proud of it. I learned a lot doing it and got a lot off my chest taking swipes at aspects of the religion in which I was brought up.

As it was online, there wasn't really much you could actually do with it, and anyway that would have been way above my skill level to figure out. So I settled for the following format. You hover the cursor over the word instructions in the large panel and the panel obliges. Then you hover over the peripheral rectangle of your choice. The result appears in the centre panel and your chosen peripheral rectangle changes to a sort of a comment. And that's all it does I'm afraid but I hope you enjoy it.

The Passion of Christ according to Mel

Before you hit the PLAY link below, please note that I had the foresight to include a violent element (above) in keeping with our current theme.

Confession Online

And one of my favourite items, beating Planned Giving by a hairsbreadth, is Confession Online, which in 2004 must have been at the cutting edge of Tech-Theology.



  1. This is pretty awesome information and your cheeky game at the end is fantastic

  2. Thanks DebbieAnn

    I think you're the first person to comment on the "game". Much appreciated after all my effort. I know it's limited and now a bit out of date but it was a fun challenge at the time.

    Stay safe.

  3. How big is the doll of Jesus in the game?