Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Horrid Methodist Billboard

I used to walk by a billboard like this every day, on my lunch-break walk. Ever since then I've wanted to do a post about all the things that are wrong about this message. When I have time, I'll come back and update this post.

For now, don't expect much from this blog this week...I'm in a 5-day stretch of rehearsals and performances with the Symphony Chorus.

EDIT: All right, here goes. But really, someone should send this to David Scaer. He could probably teach for a whole semester on what's wrong with this billboard.
  1. The slogan, reinforced by the image of a dandelion clock, puts faith on the level of "make believe."
  2. Like those clever Mormons, the UMC uses the term "believe" in a way that suggests that faith as a virtue or quality in us is what's important, rather than the message believed or the object of faith.
  3. This slogan also opens the door to a variety of "gospels" that are no gospel - it all depends on what you "wish" for. Better health? A better marriage? Better kids? More money? A cleaner environment? Social and political change? Etc.
  4. The sub-slogan strings together "open hearts, open minds, open doors." Which isn't all bad, but it could be interpreted as "We're nice people; we want you to join us; and we'll accept you no matter what you believe."

This reminds me of a story a Lutheran pastor told me (possibly at second- or third-hand) about how a calling congregation told their prospective pastor that they believed in welcoming everybody. The pastoral candidate then asked, "Would you welcome somebody who is against women preachers?" They said, "Well, no, we don't want them around." "Would you welcome somebody who believed this, that, and the other?" (all Biblical, Christian teachings). "No, but they wouldn't be very comfortable here anyway..."

No comments: