Everyone’s talking about the HE GETS US Super Bowl ad that ran during last night’s big game.
If you didn’t watch it, or haven’t see in yet, here’s a link to go check it out>
While some Evangelical Christians complained about the ad for suggesting that Jesus would ever show love and compassion to Abortionists, Immigrants, Refugees and Gay people [the people they hate]…..
…most of the complaints I’ve heard stem from the bold-faced hypocrisy of paying $100 Million to produce an ad that suggests that the donors who paid for and produced the ad [namely the owners of Hobby Lobby and other anti-LGBTQIA Christian ministries] have suddenly changed their minds about anything.
Don’t get me wrong, the ad itself is wonderful. Or, at least, the message is wonderful: Jesus loves all the people you hate and he wants you to love them, too.
Yet, it’s the overwhelming lack of self-awareness from those who funded the ad which is the most staggering to me.
It’s as if they seem to think that the rest of us – those who are not Conservative Evangelical Christians – need to realize how loving, forgiving, accepting and affirming this Jesus guy was….and if we just knew that, we’d decide to show up to one of their Conservative Evangelical Churches next Sunday to see who this Jesus guy was and what this Christianity is all about.
But…if anyone actually did decide to attend one of those Evangelical Churches, what would they find?
Would they be loved if they were gay? No.
Would they be welcome and accepted if they were refugees or immigrants? Not a chance.
Would they feel safe and loved if they had ever paid for an abortion? No way.
So, what’s the point?
Do they think that people don’t know that Jesus was loving and kind?
Do they think that we need to be reminded how much Jesus isn’t like most Evangelical Christians?
Of course, the truth is that Atheists, Non-Believers, and people of other faiths already know that Jesus is about love, forgiveness, acceptance, mercy, kindness, grace and compassion. They don’t need anyone to spend $100 Million on a Super Bowl ad to figure that out.
Just watch any “man-on-the-street” interview on YouTube where non-Christians are asked what they think about Jesus: They love him!
Now, ask them what they think about Christianity, or about Evangelical Church-goers: They want nothing to do with them.
Why? Because those Christians are nothing like Jesus.
Does anyone remember the quote where Gandhi said “I love your Christ. It is just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
So, I guess the Christians who paid for this ad seem to think that Jesus is the one who needs a new marketing message. They think the reason so many young people are leaving the Evangelical Church in record numbers is because they don’t understand how awesome Jesus is.
What they seem to be oblivious to is the fact that all of those people are leaving the Evangelical Church because the Evangelical Church is nothing like Jesus.
The people leaving the Church love Jesus. They just wish that the Church that bears his name actually cared for the refugee, the poor, the gay couple, the trans person, the queer person, the girl who had an abortion, the immigrants on the border — like Jesus does in that stupid Super Bowl ad — but since it’s beyond obvious that the Evangelical Church has done everything in its power to demonize those same people, they are leaving….and they are not coming back.
No matter how much you spend on Super Bowl ads. No matter how much you remind them how awesome Jesus is. They are not coming back.
They can’t hear you over the sound of how unlike Jesus you are.
A word of advice for those Christian organizations who are spending millions of dollars to improve Jesus’s PR image: Try doing the things that Jesus did yourself. Maybe that might convince people that you actually believe what Jesus said, and that you’re actually following what Jesus did.
Even if it doesn’t work to bring back all of those people who walked away, it just might change the communities where you worship into places where the love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and radical inclusivity of Jesus becomes a reality.
And that, my friends, would be the best investment of all.
Would you like to learn more about The Gospel of Thomas? My online course, INSIDE/OUTSIDE takes a deeper dive into this text and it’s totally self-paced so you can start whenever you like and revisit the lessons anytime you want. The entire course is just $19.99 so what are you waiting for? Learn more and register here today>
Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast.
His latest book, Second Cup with Keith is available now on Amazon HERE>