The Episcopal Church…slices carrots?
The good people at 815 had to know it would inspire some mockery. Apparently they also felt it would inspire people. I’m talking about the new ad campaign of the Episcopal Church. Here’s the tag: “Get closer to God. Slice carrots.”
I’m not making this up. As my blogging friend Peter Mayer points out, many people who are not in church have no problem with Jesus. So why don’t we talk about Jesus or, I don’t know, God? If we’re trying to compete based on good works, I’m afraid we’re doomed. The Red Cross or any number of other entities is much more effective at “getting things done” than we are.
Church is about salvation. I think the reason our attendance is plummeting is that we’ve forgotten that. The related problem is that liberals got wishy-washy about salvation. Some of us let others define it. Salvation is not (repeat after me) about getting into heaven. Check out the New Testament on salvation, and you learn that it’s about eternal life, which starts in this early pilgrimage. The Greek word (sozo) that gets translated as “salvation” is also translated as “wholeness” or “health” or “redemption.” So why can’t we talk about that?
To put it another way, we’re in the transformation biz, not the good deeds biz. Our good deeds spring from our faith. To be sure, sometimes our faith comes as we serve Jesus in the “least of these.” But mostly when we focus on good deeds, we’re repeating a mistake that Anglicans sorted out 450 years ago. Yes, my friends, I’m talking about works-righteousness. You don’t get into heaven by doing good things. You can’t get saved by doing good things. You can’t fix the church by doing good things.
So, sure, I’m OK with slicing carrots or clothing people or giving money to those who have less. We need to do all of those things. But we mustn’t confuse them with our purpose. Sadly, I’m afraid the new ads don’t convey any really good reason to climb out of bed and go to a (probably not friendly) Episcopal Church.
Go watch the ad. What do you think?