Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sign of the Times (Nice. Oooh, yes, gotta congratulate myself on that one)

I've seen the future and I'm not sure I like it.

You know how churches used to put up those pert, cutesy sermon titles on their outdoor signs so that people driving by would see them?

They usually related to whatever major event/holiday was coming up and often contained a pun- like "A Touchdown for Jesus" (Superbowl Sunday), "Do you know where you're going? Or are you fooling yourself?" (April Fool's) or "A Mall-ified Jesus" (Christmas).

However, since many congregations meet in schools, movie theatres or auditoriums, the clever signage isn't an option and they rely on word of mouth or direct mail to get people in the door.

Well, there's one particular church in Santa Clarita that takes it a step further by adapting logos and phrases from popular movies, DVDs or television shows and slapping them on their mailers.

Like, they borrowed the entire look of the Desperate Housewives ad campaign, saying they had a series on people living "desperate" lives. I chuckled a bit, thinking it was just a one-off, and wondering how many people would actually go to church because of it.

I was entirely surprised when I got another card in the mail that with exact logo from the movie The Secret emblazoned on it. I actually thought it was an advertisement for the movie, but when I looked closely, I saw it was from the same church!

I guess if it gets people to go to church, it's not entirely a bad thing but- I just am not sure how I feel about that. After all, a Christian church that's worth going to probably isn't going to have much in common with the New Agey, self-described "spiritualists" who tout The Secret.

I watched The Secret with a friend, and I have to say that I was surprised at how selfish and materialistic the entire thing was. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but I will just say that 90% of it related to "what kind of car do you want to drive?" "How much money do you want to make?" "What kind of home do you want to live in?" as if "the secret" to life is getting whatever you want.

And I have to wonder if that is the kind of thing a church wants to align itself with, even if it is just a bait and switch scheme to get people in the door.

I mean, is that what we have to do nowadays to get people to come to church? Promise them (or at least pretend to promise them) that it will give them everything they want?

Isn't that just a bit deceptive?

I think I'd prefer the old signs with the football puns.

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