Justin Gignac is a New York City based artist and entrepreneur. He began selling garbage in 2001 after a co-worker challenged the importance of package design. To prove them wrong, he set out to find something that no one would ever buy, and package it to sell. Looking around the dirty streets of Times Square, garbage was the perfect answer. Twelve years later, over 1,400 NYC Garbage cubes have been sold and now reside in 30 countries around the world.
Who would think it was possible to sell trash off the street? It seems that marketing and packaging is everything. It seems that you can sell even garbage if it is packaged the right way. In fact, pretty much everything that’s sold to us is a version of beautifully packaged garbage of one kind or another.
It hit me today: that is what much of the world things we are selling too. Last week I spoke on Mark 15 and 16 to some university students. I made the point that Mark’s gospel is either a complete load of rubbish, or it is true and changes everything. One young man looked at me and told me that he thinks there is a third alternative: that is not true, but it is beautiful nonetheless. He liked the beauty and depth of the Christian story while refusing to believe that it is true. He’s wrong. If the gospel is only pretty trash, then it’s a curiosity at best. It’s hardly worth much of our time or attention.
We’re not selling beautifully packaged garbage. If the gospel is true, and Jesus did rise from the dead, then that changes everything. I will devote my life to showing people the beauty of something that is not just beautiful but true, something that not only is pleasant to look at but that is also life- and cosmos- changing in scope.
Pretty much everything that the world sells is a version of beautifully packaged garbage. I’m so glad that Easter offers us more.