Monday, January 16, 2012

Advertising for Team Jesus

Let me start this by saying, I'm really not trying to be controversial, these are just things I'm thinking through. In no way am I saying I'm right and anyone that disagrees with me is wrong. So please, throw on your hater blockers, and appease me for just a minute.

During the Broncos/Patriots game, I got a text from a friend that asked what I thought about the Focus on the Family commercial that aired.

My first thought?

Oh geez.

I wasn't watching the game, so I had to go look it up on YouTube.

It was a bunch of super cute kids, reciting John 3:16. I mean, how can anyone say anything bad about that?

Except I don't think that's the case. I'm really not trying to be negative here, but it bothered me.

Yes, it was cute. I just don't know if it's appropriate to put an ad for Jesus between car and chips commercials. I don't know if it's appropriate to have commercials for Jesus, period. Advertising is a way of manipulating people into thinking that you need a product. Are we to use manipulation to share who Jesus is? While I loved the children and what they said, using kids is especially manipulative. I mean, why not throw in a puppy or a sweet little grandma in a wheelchair as well? It's reducing Jesus to a product that we need.

Something about this list just looks wrong to me:

Mercedes.
Beer.
Toilet bowl cleaner.
Jesus. 


The quick fix. The gospel of me. Make my life better and gimme somma that eternal life too.

I know people will say that's not the message of John 3:16. And that's why I say context matters. The message gets muddled in a thirty second slot in the middle of a football games where products are advertised that everyone knows are not truly life changing. It's sending the wrong message.

It troubled me even more when I read what Focus on the Family's spokesperson, Gary Scheenberger, said,"We will hear about shoving religion down people's throats. But if it's okay to shove Doritos down people's throats, and cars and everything else, we have the right to advertise too."

Is this really how Jesus would want himself represented? Was this ad about sharing the love that Christ has for the world, or was this ad about the right to do so? Was it so Christians could give each other high fives? Because when it starts to become about our rights, then something's wrong. We relinquish our rights as followers of Jesus. The world may use any means necessary to control the culture, to get ideas across, to be heard, but we're to embody the life of Christ and resist grabbing for power. Instead of waging cultural wars, we approach those we disagree with in love and humility. Isn't this the way of Jesus?

Does any of this matter? I'd love to hear another perspective. Beyond saying God's Word does not return void because if that's all there is to it, I feel a large Testamints marketing blitz coming on. I mean, does anyone think that this was truly a good idea?

3 comments:

Tim said...

There is something about this statement that should trouble Christian people: "we have the right to advertise, too." The same goes for the lineup of cars-beer-cleaner-Jesus.

Speaking of the faith using the same means (advertising via TV commercials) puts Jesus and the faith on that level and makes the faith another product that can be handled just as one would handle this or that toilet bowl cleaner.

momR said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. With the explosive growth in technology and its total integration into our lives, I suspect we have only begun to witness the outpouring of "doctrine" streaming into our homes and workplace. As it has always been, the person/parent will have the responsibility to discern what is true and right according to the scriptures from the constant bombardment. Then, live that out every day as a testimony to grace whether our platform is a stage, nursery, gas station, or football field. Thanks for making us think......

Kelly said...

Tim- I'm working my way through The Drama of Ephesians right now and am loving it. If we're going to accept the role that God has for us as his agents of redemption we need to be people that are constantly using our brains. It's crazy how much we just accept as normal in our Christian culture because we just don't take the time to think it through.

Cindy- so true! I almost feel sorry for the generation behind me that really doesn't know anything else. They interact with the world so differently, which makes me feel really old. What I find intriguing is how those kids will raise their children. Will there be a push against all the isolation that it breeds or will they be able to embrace the positive aspects of it? I'm getting way off topic though. With Brett's recent award, I suppose that kind of makes you the queen mum of technology, doesn't it? :)