Church advertisement on the Super Bowl

A church might have a commercial on the Super Bowl. No, nothing like the pro-life ad from Focus on the Family. Nor a creative or moving proclamation of the Gospel. Rather, the church will be pitching Doritos:

Gabe Trevino found it funny that his grandpa wanted to be buried with beer and cigarettes.

So Trevino, who attends Pasadena’s Mosaic Church service on Sundays, had a good start when he sat down to write a commercial to be produced by Mosaic’s lead Pastor Erwin McManus.

Mosaic’s commercial is one of six finalists for the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl competition. The three entries with the most votes from Internet viewers will air Sunday during the big game.

Voting ended Jan. 31.

McManus, of Whittier, leads the church’s seven congregations in Pasadena, Whittier, downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Redondo Beach, Chino and Berkeley.

The nondenominational Christian church emphasizes the arts during its services, said Kevin Willson, director of the commercial, which is titled “Casket.”

In the commercial, a man pretends to be dead so he can get his dying wish to be laid to rest in a casket full of Doritos. During his memorial service, the man eats chips and watches the Super Bowl in a television placed in the casket. But the casket tips and his ruse is discovered. After the topple, a friend attending the service stands up and declares that everyone has seen a miracle. . . .

The commercial got plenty of Internet views, and its makers think it has a good chance to be shown.

If it is rated the top overall commercial by the USA TODAY Ad Meter, the winners could get $1 million. If it makes second or third, it could garner $600,000 or $400,000.

If the commercial wins a cash prize, everyone who helped make the $3,000 film will get part of the money, Willson said.

“A big chunk of our budget was buying 70 bags of Doritos to fill the casket,” Willson said.

Although it – sort of – has somebody rising from the dead, the film didn’t have much to do with the Christian faith, Willson said.

“We didn’t really try to put in any theological implications,” Willson said. “We thought, `What’s the funniest story that will make Doritos look great.”

via Crunch time for Pasadena church that produced Doritos Super Bowl commercial – Whittier Daily News.

So is this a ministry activity or a triviality? Yes, if the church wins a million dollars, it will help its ministry, but is this worthy of a church?

What if churches or denominations put on actual commercials that communicated its actual message? What might be a good commercial that a church might run without looking stupid or demeaning itself? Or had churches better just stick to preaching, teaching, and worshipping?


I don’t watch much TV. I really don’t. But I did get hooked on Lost. This season that convoluted narrative comes to an end, and the producers say that every loose end will be tied together, every mystery solved, and every plot line resolved. So how do you think it will end? Will it be. . .

(1) The Bob Newhart ending? (It was all a dream.)

(2) The Sixth Sense ending? (They are all dead.)

(3) The Matrix ending? (They are all characters in a computer program.)

(4) The Hamlet ending? (They all get killed.)

(5) The Samsara ending? (They get caught in a time loop and have to live through the story again.)

(6) The Dante ending? (They are in a purgatorial afterlife.)

(7) The X-Files ending? (A few things are resolved, but leaving room for a movie.)

(8) The Meta ending? (They all turn out to be characters in someone’s story.)

(9) The Scooby-Doo ending? (The key villain is in disguise, and it turns out there is a rational explanation for everything.)

How else might it end?

Defending Tebow’s Super Bowl ad

Sally Jenkins in the Washington Post just tears apart the critics of the pro-life ad featuring Tim Tebow that will run during the Super Bowl. From her column Tebow’s Super Bowl ad isn’t intolerant; its critics are:

As statements at Super Bowls go, I prefer the idea of Tebow's pro-life ad to, say, Jim McMahon dropping his pants, as the former Chicago Bears quarterback once did in response to a question. We're always harping on athletes to be more responsible and engaged in the issues of their day, and less concerned with just cashing checks. It therefore seems more than a little hypocritical to insist on it only if it means criticizing sneaker companies, and to stifle them when they take a stance that might make us uncomfortable.

I’m pro-choice, and Tebow clearly is not. But based on what I’ve heard in the past week, I’ll take his side against the group-think, elitism and condescension of the “National Organization of Fewer and Fewer Women All The Time.” For one thing, Tebow seems smarter than they do.

Tebow’s 30-second ad hasn't even run yet, but it already has provoked “The National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like Us” to reveal something important about themselves: They aren’t actually “pro-choice” so much as they are pro-abortion. Pam Tebow has a genuine pro-choice story to tell. She got pregnant in 1987, post-Roe v. Wade, and while on a Christian mission in the Philippines, she contracted a tropical ailment. Doctors advised her the pregnancy could be dangerous, but she exercised her freedom of choice and now, 20-some years later, the outcome of that choice is her beauteous Heisman Trophy winner son, a chaste, proselytizing evangelical.

Pam Tebow and her son feel good enough about that choice to want to tell people about it. Only, NOW says they shouldn’t be allowed to. Apparently NOW feels this commercial is an inappropriate message for America to see for 30 seconds, but women in bikinis selling beer is the right one. . . .

Here’s what we do need a lot more of: Tebows. Collegians who are selfless enough to choose not to spend summers poolside, but travel to impoverished countries to dispense medical care to children, as Tebow has every summer of his career. Athletes who believe in something other than themselves, and are willing to put their backbone where their mouth is. Celebrities who are self-possessed and self-controlled enough to use their wattage to advertise commitment over decadence.

You know what we really need more of? Famous guys who aren’t embarrassed to practice sexual restraint, and to say it out loud. If we had more of those, women might have fewer abortions. See, the best way to deal with unwanted pregnancy is to not get the sperm in the egg and the egg implanted to begin with, and that is an issue for men, too — and they should step up to that. . . .

Obviously Tebow can make people uncomfortable, whether it’s for advertising his chastity, or for wearing his faith on his face via biblical citations painted in his eye-black. Hebrews 12:12, his cheekbones read during the Florida State game: “Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” His critics find this intrusive, and say the Super Bowl is no place for an argument of this nature. “Pull the ad,” NOW President Terry O’Neill said. “Let’s focus on the game.”

Trouble is, you can’t focus on the game without focusing on the individuals who play it — and that is the genius of Tebow’s ad. The Super Bowl is not some reality-free escape zone. Tebow himself is an inescapable fact: Abortion doesn’t just involve serious issues of life, but of potential lives, Heisman trophy winners, scientists, doctors, artists, inventors, Little Leaguers — who would never come to be if their birth mothers had not wrestled with the stakes and chosen to carry those lives to term. And their stories are every bit as real and valid as the stories preferred by NOW.

You know, this author may believe in legalized abortion, but her fury at the feminists and her sense that something is very, very wrong when people oppose Tim Tebow and what he stands for is something to build on. I suspect lots of Americans agree with what she says. Maybe a backlash is in the making.

The Maddy Curtis concert

Remember my blog post with video of Maddy Curtis, the 16-year-old American Idol contestant who turned out to live in the next town over from us? Well, this weekend she put on a benefit concert to raise money for Haiti at our local community arts center. My daughter and I took it in, and it was a really good show.

Maddy has a very beautiful and very mature voice. Not the typical American Idol over-the-top big voice, but one that is intense and expressive. She had great song choice, featuring bluesy classics (like “Sentimental Journey” and “Blues in the Night”) and adding in newer songs in that same tradition.

She has presence on stage, coming across as quite pleasant, down to earth, and humble. She talks easily about God and her family. She was sworn to secrecy about her fate on American Idol in the Hollywood round and respected that.

What I really respected was that in her big hometown moment she kept the focus not on herself but on the issue at hand: help for Haiti. A staff member from World Vision, the Christian humanitarian agency that the money for the concert went to, who was actually in Haiti when the earthquake hit told about her experiences there. A big screen flashed heart-rending slides of the devastation, the people of Haiti, and the relief efforts.

So, I commend Maddy Curtis to you, not just as an American Idol but as a fine young artist and an impressive Christian teenager.

The political lessons of “American Idol”

Kevin Huffman draws out what politicians can learn from American Idol:

As Scott Brown stormed to victory in the Massachusetts Senate race Tuesday night, I huddled with my daughters watching Fox. No, not the gloating election coverage on Fox News — I wouldn’t do that to impressionable young minds. We watched the flagship’s “American Idol” auditions.

This seemed fitting since, four years ago, Ayla Brown, the senator-elect’s daughter, captivated my kids during a short-lived “American Idol” run (my eldest daughter cried as hard as Ayla did when she got booted from the show). Ayla was an attractive though somewhat bland singer who belted out tunes by Celine Dion and Christina Aguilera. She had a chipper attitude and a limited vocal range. In short, good for TV.

If only she had been competing against Martha Coakley. Ayla’s dad followed the same attractive, bland but hardworking formula and rocked it all the way to the Capitol.

One thing I can tell you about American elections (both political and reality-TV): Bland, attractive and hardworking is a decent strategy. If you can avoid offending, condescending and generally being annoying, if you can come off as nice and normal and sing a tune people recognize, you’ve got a shot — regardless of your musical or party affiliation.

Amazingly, my fellow Democrats manage to mess up this basic formula again and again, particularly in the Bay State. Michael Dukakis in the tank, John Kerry windsurfing, Martha Coakley on Curt Schilling — they all conveyed a fundamental disconnect from the lives of average citizens. Not that Coakley gave herself a lot of opportunities to connect: The Boston Globe reported that she clocked 19 public events during the stretch from the primaries into last weekend, while Brown had 59.

In elections, images are symbolic, and symbolism matters when it reflects a deeper truth. In Massachusetts the truth was that the Democratic candidate spent too much time with the power brokers and not enough time with the people. . . .

Just a year removed from a presidential election made historic in part by its mobilization of grass-roots efforts, Democrats have managed to slip back into the bad habit of talking up to the party bosses and down to the average folks. Voters sensed what “Idol” viewers would know: They are trying too hard impress the judges and not hard enough to connect with the audience.

Democratic strategists ought to familiarize themselves with “American Idol” history: The year Ayla Brown made her brief appearance, Chris Daughtry, the chain-wearing rock star, was the judges' favorite. But Taylor Hicks, the Elvis-covering everyman, won the people's votes and the title. Last season it came down to Adam Lambert, the critically acclaimed glam rocker, and Kris Allen, the folksy boy next door with a pleasant voice and a nice smile. Kris Allen won. See a pattern?

via Kevin Huffman – Scott Brown’s ‘American Idol’ road to victory –

Play to the people, not the judges! As in American Idol, so in American politics.

My favorite American Idol contestant so far

Has got to be Maddy Curtis, a 16 year-old in a family twelve kids, four of whom have Down’s Syndrome, three of whom the family adopted. She sang a beautiful, expressive rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which blew the judges away, whereupon they advanced her to Hollywood. After rendering my verdict that she was my favorite, upon watching the performance a second time, I saw that she is from Bluemont, Virginia, just 8 miles away from where we live! Judge for yourself. At first this video shows the human interest stuff, which is very touching, with the performance at the end.

I like the comments. She has an “old soul.” She is one of the few 16-year-olds who auditioned who isn’t annoying.