Life in the commercial world here today and gone tomorrow
Most television commercials really get on my nerves.
I suppose what bugs me the most is that the world as it is portrayed in television commercials is so far from reality it borders on the ridiculous. What guys realistically travel the world in search of shrimp to eat? These two lunkheads dressed in three-piece suits in a Taco Bell commercial are an attempt to sell me their latest shrimp whatever. Any chance I had of trying the thing is blown by their attempt to make eating it look cool.
Another one makes the assertion that “you can tell a lot about a man by the keys on his key chain.” I do not think so. Suppose you see two guys with a huge bundle of keys sitting at the bar at Waffle House one chair away from each other. They both have 12 keys on their key chain and no hokey message thing to tell them apart. Tell me which one is the car dealer and which one is the car thief.
I was a kid once, I spent a great deal of time as a youth leader, and I have kids myself. There is no way any kid would rather have a “toaster strudel” that they have to frost themselves in the morning than the simplicity of the Pop Tart. “Yeah, give me some boiling hot fruit in a thing I cannot even pronounce for breakfast please and oh yeah, add an extra step in the preparation because I love to work for my breakfast in the morning.”
General Mills is making the point to tell all of us that their cereals are healthier now because they are made with “whole grain.” I say who cares? We all pick around that garbage to eat that last spoon of marshmallows in our Lucky Charms. When your teenage son comes running in the house after playing some basketball with his friends, he is not going to the freezer to make some stupid pizza rolls, they are all going straight for the Doritos and Mountain Dew.
The absolute worst commercials are the half hour mini movies about the newest medicines the pharmaceutical companies are putting out. You want an idea for a fun game to play? Try to see if you can hold your breath for the entire duration of one of those things. I will spare you the over done jokes about the side effects of the medicine being worse than the symptom you are taking the medicine to treat. I would add that most commercials of these type claim “only a small number of patients” experience the worst side effects. Raise your hand if you are usually one of those lucky few. (*raises his hand*)
Okay pastor, how are you going to make this about our walk with God?
Let us deal first with advertiser’s attempts to create characters we can identify with in order to sell us their goods. The idea (although not always a good one) is that we would want to be like the people we see in commercials. Perhaps sometimes it is more of an attempt to create a character that will “catch on” and start a fad of some type. As Christians, we can strip away all the garbage because we have a savior who can really identify with us. He set an excellent example for us to follow that will not result in anything but our well-being. Unlike characters like those silly Geico cavemen, Christianity is not a fad that is here today and gone tomorrow.
Next, is an advertiser’s attempt to make exaggerated claims about their products in order to convince us they are worth buying and better than the competitors are. The basic message of Christianity has not changed in over 2,000 years. There is no need to renew the message of the gospel to make it more appealing or more convincing than other religions. God loves us and has reached out to have fellowship with us through his son Jesus Christ…take it or leave it.
Lastly, are the commercials that offer you a cure, but the cure they offer is not really a cure at all. For a lucky few individuals, they actually get to wind up worse than what they started. The world will offer us many things to try to convince us that they will enhance our lives and make things better. The world will make all sorts of claims that it has what you need to make life easier and more fulfilling. The scriptures say to be in the world…not of the world. We use the things of this world while we are here for whatever benefit they are here. But we should never forget where our true reward is.
Dennis McFarland is the pastor of the Plumwood Church of Christ in Christian Union, 175 Arthur Bradley Road. He can be reached at (740) 857-1714 or by e-mail at: email@example.com