Does this ad work for you?

September 13th, 2010

If you are a Christian, does this Vineyard Fellowship ad work for you?

The same design can also be seen on billboards. I get the appeal of trying to break stereotypes about what religious institutions and individuals are like — but this doesn’t strike me as appealing to the sacred at all.

It looks like an ad for a cell phone company.

If your opinions differ, though, I’d like to hear them.


9 Responses to “Does this ad work for you?”

  1. KellyK on September 13, 2010 9:28 am

    It doesn’t really do anything for me, and I think you’re right that it looks like a cell phone ad.

  2. Jerry on September 13, 2010 9:58 am

    The “gigantic face” ads never work for me, regardless of what they’re advertising.

  3. veronica on September 13, 2010 10:08 am

    For some reason the ad reminds me of football, not God. And the time football was substituted for God on the Simpsons, Homer fell asleep on the couch with a cigar and nearly burned the house down. So I would stay far away from this affiliation.

  4. Maria on September 13, 2010 2:36 pm

    I have never liked the Vineyard church ads; I remember them on the T when I lived in Boston (it’s been 6 or so years since I moved away). They seem very impersonal and non-religious to me, ironically, like church is a place where you meet friends, or (but not and) have a one-on-one conversation with God. Of course, I grew up Catholic, and mass is so not a free form ceremony, and worship is communal rather than personal. Though I rarely go to mass anymore, enough of that mentality sticks with me to make generic Christianity seem unappealing.

  5. Meri on September 13, 2010 3:12 pm

    No, none of theirs do, it’s not the type of church I’m comfortable in because it’s so in your face. That sentence also scans wrong, shouldn’t it be connecting, not -ed?

    I also dislike that there’s no indication of the church’s affiliation. From what I’ve heard from friends, it’s evangelical and on the conservative side.

  6. Robin on September 13, 2010 5:05 pm

    Meri, I think the question about whether it should be “connected” or “connecting” is a theological question, not a grammatical one!

    Maria, I agree; to me these ads seem to be bending over so far backward to say “No! We’re not like the bad memories of church you had as a kid!” that it’s removed any sense of the sacred entirely.

    (For anyone who thinks it’s unseemly for me to be critiquing an ad for a religion other than my own, I was raised Christian and identified culturally as a Christian for most of my life. I still feel I have some skin in that game.)

  7. Shulamuth on September 13, 2010 7:07 pm

    My first thought is that it was for a dating service for people connected to God or people connecting through God or something — not for people to date God, and then I realized it made me feel like they were, in fact, suggesting I “date” God in some way, which is taking I and Thou a bit too far for most folks, I suspect.

  8. Rubiatonta on September 13, 2010 8:36 pm

    Not doing a thing for me — but more for the message than for the fact that it looks so generic. I mean, it could almost be an ad for anything, except for the text. Though I think Shulamuth’s onto something about the “dating site” feel…

    My objection is to the idea that one has to “connect” to G-d at all. Like one has G-d’s direct line? It’s that sort of thinking that leads to judgment of others, and at, um, its extremes, extremism.

    Much more resonant to me is the concept that “G-d lives in me, through me.” (And also a lot more work, I know from my own experience.)

  9. Jenny on September 18, 2010 2:45 pm

    I feel a little uncomfortable with evangelical, free-form churches in general, but I can see their appeal. I think they’re reaching out to people for whom traditional church services have always felt like stilted words disconnected from the sacred. If the ceremony doesn’t feel like it’s working, it’s easy to backlash into no ceremony at all. Again, I’m not sure how I feel–I think both approaches to God are prone to problems, as will be any approach to God while we individually have as many problems as we do. But as someone who was raised in the Catholic Church and had no comprehension of the most fundamental tenets of my religion or of their power until I was about eighteen and did some independent reading, I can’t say that a church that preserves the sense of the sacred and brings with it a sense of formality and distance is necessarily going to work for everyone. (And I don’t find a problem with the language of connection–I think it’s just a different way of saying what Rubiatonta expresses in saying “God lives in me, through me.” The goal of “connecting” with God, I’d say, is to let him live in you–or maybe to find him inside of you.)

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