Posted tagged ‘commercials’

Selling The Invaluable With the Replaceable

February 2, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W                                                                         February 2, 2015

                               

There were some really good commercials during the Super Bowl. Loved the tortoise and hare redo by Mercedes. The bouncing blue pill commercial sponsored by Fiat that was creative. The muscle-bound Skittles ad was a hoot as well!

Then there were the ads that tried to sell invaluable experiences and qualities, but would put their product or company as the face of that experience. Four that stood out to me were the Coca-Cola ad where an accidentally spilled Coke into a computer network changed hate into love around the world. Let’s be honest! I like a Coke with a hamburger or popcorn, but Coke is a drink high in sugar that has more negative effects than positive attributes. A Coke late at night will have the result of blessing me with a sleepless night, and when I’m short on sleep I’m grumpy. “A loving person” does not fit my demeanor at those times.

Another ad featured McDonald’s promoting the idea of kind acts and loving behavior. I’m fine with random acts of kindness and letting people know you love them, but McDonald’s does not impress me as Dr. Phil with golden arches. In case you missed it, when you go to a McDonald’s and purchase something there will be random selections where the customer will receive his/her order free if he does a certain act of kindness like call his mom and tell her he loves her. It’s sweet, and I suppose since Mickey D’s can’t promote many examples of a healthy diet a few words of appreciation must atone for the cholesterol hike.

There was a third commercial that could have been sponsored by Promise Keepers. It promoted fatherhood all through the ad with various scenes of dads with their kids. I was expecting Bill McCartney to come on at the end, but instead…Dove for Men was the sponsor. Nice smelling men must make better fathers!

Finally, there was the car company that promoted fatherhood, ironically through a dad who was a professional race car driver…and gone most of the time. But at the end of the commercial he drives up to his son’s school in a new Nissan and all seems well. Amazing how a new car can atone for a dad who is gone most of the time.

Love, happiness, being awesome dads…all good things, but not found in a shampoo bottle, a hamburger wrapper, or a shiny new car with a huge monthly payment. But I’m sure a lot of people bought into it. After all, that’s why companies spend millions of dollars advertising at Super Bowls.

As a pastor I have to take it to my arena! As churches are we sometimes guilty of trying to sell the gospel instead of proclaiming it? There’s a difference. The cross and the events of the crucifixion are hard to sell. They are excruciatingly painful and agonizing. When we try to sell the gospel the cross is rarely mentioned. It’s like the black sheep of the family that no one wants to talk about.

When we proclaim the gospel we tell the story of the love of God that took Jesus to his death, and brought Jesus from the tomb. There’s joy at the end of the story, but pain and suffering is the dominant element of the chapter.

Like “Dove For Men” sometimes churches try to sell the idea that if you come to this place you’ll be better dads. Whereas that sometimes happens, it seems that the church should promote the idea that it will come alongside you on your journey…the low points and the high points; that the church of Jesus consists of broken who recognize that we’re fractured and seeking to be healed and whole.

Let’s be honest! That’s the truth, but there isn’t much shine to it.

Spotify Theology

March 29, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         March 29, 2013

 

As I write this blog post I have earbuds in and I’m listening to Darlene Zschech sing beautiful praise songs on Spotify. If you arent familiar with Spotify that means you are probably still paying for the music you listen to. Spotify is free…unless you go premium…which they hope you will! Premium is $9.99 a month and it means you can listen to music without any commercial interruptions. It’s like a music DVR. You can fast forward through the ads.

But, in terms of music, I’m cheap! So I go free and basic. What that means is that every four songs or so you get “commercialed up.” It makes for an interesting combination. Since Spotify is a music supplier that has Christian music as just one of it’s listening possibilities the advertisers to the business are all over the map.

For instance, I’m listening to Darlene sing the great song “I Will Wait.” The song ends and a commercial comes on advertising Trojan condoms. Awkward!

One moment I’m listening to Barbi Franklin play “Breathe on Me, Breath of God!” on her violin, and the next I’m being invited to a party where the beer is flowing.

Such pendulum swings are hard for me to make. I could pay the ten bucks a month and stay secluded in my own little between-the-ears world, but I won’t!

It seems, however, that our culture is more and more comfortable with the pendulum swings. Listen! I am not such a prude that I’m going to cast Trojans and tequila into the lake of fire. It seems that is also a polarizing element in our world; too often giving verdicts that something or someone is totally demonic or something or someone is the next thing to being in heaven. We have a hard time saying that something can fluctuate from good to bad depending on the situation.

It also seems that more and more people are comfortable with a Spotify kind of theology. A belief system that operates without concern for conflicting practices. For instance, I can pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life this afternoon, and gather with a few friends to use a Ouiji board tonight.

Whereas my generation is uncomfortable with such diverse practices, other generations are not as uneasy with them. However, that isn’t meant to be a slam, because I think other generations, especially the current young adults, are more willing to dialogue with people they may disagree with. There seems to be more of a willingness to converse and learn from one another.

The red flag for any generation is being so immersed in the culture that our theology starts resembling basic Spotify. Praising Jesus one moment, and deciding on what type of condom I”ll buy your tonight the next.

Do I have solutions or answers? No, we seem to be too quick to give solutions and slow to listen. We live in a world of intertwining connections. So I want the free music, but without the commercials…and yet a big reason the music is free is because of the commercials. One can not operate without the other.

So I’ll continue to listen to Darlene Zschech sing the song “Under Grace”, and then try to live by grace