A church in my area uses huge billboards to
advertise their church. During the
last few years I have waited in eager anticipation to see what line of
advertising they will come up with next.
The last month has been the most interesting (interesting in this
sentence is a euphemism for shocking).
The billboard (about 10 x 5 metres) has the
following written on it (the size of the fonts represent the signage) …
Yes, YOU can __________________ *
* with a little help from God
This, in my mind, is a window into a
specific brand of Christianity.
This slogan mixes the phrase used by Barack Obama during his campaign
with the self-edifice of the individual and lastly a little God-spice on the
When I read it for the first time I
couldn’t believe my eyes. It was
such a paradoxical theological statement that one must wonder if the
advertising agency consulted with the pastoral staff at all!
Be that as it may, I find this advertising
not just shocking for its forthrightness but also because it still mirrors so
much of MY life. It is easy to bash this
billboard. Harder to live a life
wherein I make it my aim to make life all about God.
In this last week our community committed
to praying John the Baptist’s most famous prayer. His prayer hasn’t become a famous book like the prayer of
Jabez, it is not printed
on coffee mugs or on T-shirts. It is a
dangerous prayer and it turns the billboards propaganda on its head. John the Baptist prayed,
“He must increase, but I must decreace”
Pr(l)aying with the fonts in the billboard in mind one can definitely use the increase and decrease as a cue for font changes. The you decreases and GOD increases.
As I prayed this prayer during the week,
chaos ensued. The main vehicle for
the creative chaos was interruptions.
My life got interrupted.
These episodic pauses served to throw me of my planned days. It came in the form of people and
mechanical failures which then lead to people who helped fix the mechanical
failures. At first these
interruptions irked me. Then I
realized that there might be some whispers of an answer to the prayer. My plans were sidelined – and now,
after the end of the week I feel a different kind of freedom.
Bonhoeffer once commented that,