From our no comment department

OK, is this Ottawa Sun story real? Or is it The Onion? I can’t really tell.

Classic rockers can save up to buy a stairway to heaven, thanks to an Ottawa radio station and an Anglican church trying to get listeners off the highway to hell. It will only cost listeners of CHEZ 106 one million “platinum points” to receive an absolution from their past sins, courtesy of the Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist.

Say what?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • M. Everest

    Ha ha! The radio station web site has more info, including the press release. Absolution will cost you 1,000,000 points while an electric guitar autographed by a rock star is a mere 100,000 points. Also note that absolution is not guaranteed and there are no refunds!

    A bit irreverant, but it looks like the vicar is trying to raise awareness of spiritual things in a light-hearted way.

    I think the story in the Sun could have done a bit more to make the joke more evident (maybe the reporter didn’t get it?).

  • BluesDaddy

    Well, c’mon, it’s obviously a put on since everyone knows the Anglicans no longer even believe in “sin”.

  • Teresa Warnock

    It’s a real story – I’m the one who submitted the story and I live here in Ottawa. This morning, I heard an interview on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio with the rector of Saint John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Ottawa. He confirmed that he had approached the radio station about advertising. To paraphrase, he said he realises that there is a risk of his church being perceived as “cheap” but that if it prompts rockers to reflect upon their lives and come check out his church, then it’s all good. The interviewer asked him, jokingly, if he would need to get absolution for running this campaign. The rector laughed, and said he didn’t know because he hadn’t talked to his bishop yet. ;)

    The story also appeared in today’s Ottawa Sun, and it’s on the radio station’s website.

    By the way, this particular church is known in some local circles as a bit of a renegade. This advertising scheme doesn’t surprise me in the least.

    I’ll keep you posted if I hear any more about the story.


  • Herb Ely

    I believe it’s called “somony” a noun meaning “the buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges or pardons.” Formerly this was know as a sin, for those who still believe in sin.

  • Larry Rasczak

    You know… there are a lot of reasons to snipe at this. I mean Martin Luther would spin in his grave like a top… if it was serious.

    But if you will indulge me (indulgence me?…sorry I had to fit that word in somewhere…) it isn’t serious.

    I like the idea.

    Yeah it is a little silly… but here is a Christian Church reaching out to people that normally aren’t part of the Church crowd. And as for raising awareness it seems to be working, I mean we are talking about it! I’m sure some people in Canada will talk about it more.

    I think it will pay off. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but I think it will pay off. I can see someone who’s life has absolutley hit the wall, sitting there with no place to turn, thinking nobody loves them or cares about them. I can see them thinking that the well scrubbed respectable people at the local Church would not like, respect, or care about someone who has blue hair and a pierced nose and 6 tattoos. Then they remember that St. John the Evangelist advertised on CHEZ106 and they think “Maybe those folks would care… I mean they seem pretty cool, for a Church. Maybe I could talk to them…”

  • BluesDaddy

    Well, if all you care about is “raising awareness” and getting someone to “talk” to you, I guess it has a place. I kinda always thought of “Church” as something a bit more than that. I mean, why do I need to go to this Anglican church when I can talk to a mental health professional (or the bartender at my local pub)?

  • Maureen

    Simony. Sigh. Somebody needs to have a little chat with this guy.

    Look, of course it’s nice to reach out to the community. But not in a way which violates core principles. It’s the difference between giving someone a hug and feeling them up.

  • Deborah

    Heck, getting people these days to even admit they’ve ever sinned is a challenge. (One of my favorite obscure movie quotes is “They used to be Sins – now they’re just Problems.”) If this guy can actually get a conversation started about THAT, more power to him.