United Church of Christ TV ad

Check out the United Church of Christ webpage and see their new TV commercial. (Skip the ad at the beginning, then click on the link to the commercial.) Evangelicals will have mixed feelings. I think it's fantastic. Let's hope a more appropriate vision of the church is spread, one that shows the emptiness of the Religious Right.

Comments

timcoe said…
Finally, a church that markets itself competitively, using all the clever irony and condescension that I've come to associate with patting myself on the back-- clearly, I deserve to go to this church, because I get it. Those intolerant bastards! I can't stand them!
D.W. Congdon said…
Good point, Tim. Still, the message is worthwhile. Whether or not it should be associated with a single denomination is a question I instinctively answer with a resounding "No," but of course the mass audience can't be expected to think that way.
timcoe said…
I don't object to the message as much as I object to the medium-- of course, if you know your McLuhan, the medium is the message, which explains the problem.
D.W. Congdon said…
I agree. And yet, what other medium would you choose? We live in an age of visual media, and while TV is the oldest of these "new" medias, it still reaches the widest audience. I'm not sure what other option the UCC or any other church group has for communicating their message. It's sure better than some billboards I've seen, and infinitely better than the horrendous church signs that say things like "God has anytime minutes."
timcoe said…
Rather than the fact of its being televisual, I object to the condescending irony used in the ad. Television advetisement is almost an inherently ironic medium, for various reasons that I needn't go into here. However, the ad in question makes a point of defining its positive traits (inclusivity, acceptance, love) only in relation to what the ad implies is the norm for all other churches-- this is the same way beer commercials lampoon competitors' beers. In effect, the ad strongly suggests that the United Church of Christ is the best church, and one that the disciminating parishoner would do best to patronize. It's yet another example of the Church bowing to crass commercialism, and marketing spirituality-- only this time, it's at the price of mocking a particular church's 'competitors': namely, other churches. Is this the love and inclusiveness suggested by the ad? It sounds a lot more like clever marketing designed to drive up attendance numbers.

While I agree that the message is worthwhile, I don't think that this counts as Christian siblings coming to one another in love-- I more think that it's a sleazy attempt to capitalize on the perceived need for that message. In short, I don't think this ad gives you the message you think it does; I think it exploits it.
D.W. Congdon said…
I agree with you. Like I said before, though, everything you criticize derives from the fact that this is a denominational ad. As such, it is inherently competitive. I am viewing it -- and recommending it -- entirely apart from its denominationalism. Now, you would be at least partially right to say that this leaves us without an ad, but that's my point altogether. I'm not recommending this as an ad, just a message that other Christians would do well to adopt as their own as well. Advertisements in general are inimical to the gospel, in my opinion. They are acts of intended manipulation, and are always self-serving. They "exploit," as you said so well. But if the message itself is worthwhile, I think it is at least possible for people to look beyond the inappropriate husk and find an appropriate seed of meaning underneath.
timcoe said…
Well in that case I agree with you, except, as you said, we're left without an ad.