Thursday, August 16, 2007

If Truth Isn't Working, Try Titillation

Around the beginning of the summer, a flyer arrived in the mail advertising a new sermon series (yes, Protestants have those) for a newer church in town that meets at the movie theater. But just glancing at the flyer didn’t lead me to think that salvation was what they were peddling. Below is the same flyer, the only difference is the name of the church.

The flyers are the same because they are not produced by the church, but bought as a sort of sermon/promotion package used to draw people to the church who they feel normally wouldn’t be drawn by normal “church-like” things. One church using sex to sell church would have been bad, but to find out that there were enough churches around to make churning this trash out is disturbing.

To be clear, it’s not the picture – I see pictures much worse all around (have you seen the pictures at the bus stops in Minneapolis lately?!??). And it’s not the “s” word that bothers me, nothing dirty about it when use appropriately. It’s the idea that sex is now being used to sell church by objectifying people with the aim of increasing attendance. It's the idea of taking something which is holy and beautiful and twisting and warping it so it will fit in your highly promotionalized packaging. And when a pastor’s salary in these churches is directly tied to the offerings, which are directly tied to the church’s attendance; I guess I see the motives as just a little suspect.

Well I can say I wasn’t all too happy that the flyer made it to my house. I planned on attending a Sunday service and asking the “pastor” if he would mind explaining to me why he thought it would be cool/funny/creative/whatever to send this out to homes indiscriminately. Not sure if I was too busy, too lazy, or calmer heads prevailed, but I never did make the visit.

One of the Catholic Church’s (notice the big “C” in Church) treasures is the Theology of the Body left to us by John Paul II. It doesn’t shy away from the topic of sex, just the opposite. TOB comes at it head-on, but with a novel little twist. It does it with class, faith, truth, and respect. It doesn’t place a bikini-clad woman or guy with a six-pack on the cover in hopes of tricking some twisted pervert into picking it up and reading it. I’m happy to say that not only is the cover of the TOB not sexualized, it’s actually quite boring. The only thing naked in the whole book is the Truth.

I know, I can hear what you’re thinking, “So if this happened months ago, why are you writing about it now? Slow blog day?”

Well I’ve found some information that leads me to believe that we’re about to see round two of the marketing campaign with the slogan, “We’re Bringing Sexy Back”. Guess the first one was a success, how wonderful. Below is a promotional video for the next installment. Oh, and what’s the website’s address you ask? (no – I’m not kidding). Go ahead, check it out, and tell me (if you didn’t already know) how long it would take you to realize that it was a church’s website.

Think Fr. B or Fr. G would boost Mass attendance by starting a homily or two with, "I wish I was more sexy" or "How sexy am I?"

Thank God for the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church!


swissmiss said...

but bought as a sort of sermon/promotion package used to draw people to the church who they feel normally wouldn’t be drawn by normal “church-like” things

Isn't this an argument for the Basilica block party?

BTW: Sorry I haven't been by in awhile...seems you now have a bunch of contributors! Wow!

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

I always have had the same kinds of reservations about the BBP or any other very secular event to raise funds for a church.

I also have issues with Catholic Churches being used as auditoriums just because they have the space. Once, when we were checking out the new church before it was officially opened, this one guy (who was one of those perpetually-youthful-stuck-in-the-youth-movement-even-though-he's-thirty type of guys) was there checking out the sound system or something and someone said something about the big dream of the church being used for concerts! I shuddered and said, "Nope, I don't think so..." and he looked at me condescendingly and shook his head and said, "Of course we'll attract big events like that, we're the biggest place around here now!" like the church was some kind of stage for performances instead of the sanctuary of sacrifice and glory to GOD that it was built to be.

Don't even get me started on the "polka Mass".