Monday, May 22, 2006

Now that's evangelism!? - pt. 1

Recently I have been disgusted by "Christians" who think they are reaching the world with cheese. You have probably seen examples - the bumper sticker stating "Jesus is my co-pilot" and the shirt with "body piercing saved my life" printed under a gruesome picture of nail-pierced hands. I wonder how many positive conversations for the sake of the gospel have arisen because someone read a shirt, bumper sticker or billboard. Is this really an effective way of reaching the lost? I don't get it?

I am going to begin a series devoted to Christian Cheese. The idea is not my own. Others have published similar images and blog postings. As you look at the images on this blog answer this question - what are they trying to accomplish?

This was drawn as an outreach tool for an evangelical church in the mid-west. It was entitled "The Etch-A-Sketch Gospel."


rick said...

cool - how old were you when you drew that? Depending on your age, this may be more than cool, it may be a miracle.

david rudd said...

i'm really looking forward to this series because Jesus is my Lifeguard!

Inkling said...

If I could find it, I'd send you the postcard this church sent me awhile back.

It was comic strip style. The first frame shows a boy eating; the second shows him choking; the third shows Jesus giving him the heimlich maneuver. The last one simply said, "Jesus Saves". Below all that was an invitation to the church. Good grief.

Don't even get me started about the one they sent showing a little boy putting money in a piggy bank and Jesus approving. You got it...."Jesus Saves" again.

God must be up there thinking sometimes, "Kids, you're getting it all wrong. You're missing the point!"

jonny5 said...

i think this is an excellent tool for us to expose the broader culture to Jesus as He really is:

a white man with 70s hair and a well-groomed beard.

if this isn't evangelism, i don't know what is. i'm certain this is an inspired sketch.

jimbo said...

Saw these once at a Christian book store:

Lark News couldn't make this stuff up!

Kyle said...

I really dig the "body piercing saved my life" motif, but I always assumed it was intended to reflect a message back to Christians rather than primarily to be evangelistic.

patrickstahl said...

I go to the church where the etch-a-sketch image was used. It was on the front cover of the bulletin. The sermon gave arguments about the reliability of the New Testament.

I’m guessing that you’re disagreeing with the choice of graphics, not the message?

Vince said...

patrick - the etch-a-sketch image was used as a header for the beginning of this series. i don't disagree with the image. it is a well crafted image of a middle-aged, bearded white man. the artist must have taken a great deal of time to perfect this on such a crude surface.

if this was a means to evangelize the lost then i am not sure what the artist (or the church) was trying to accomplish. a picture like this with no words really means nothing - especially when the image of "Jesus" is probably much different than his real appearance.

since you attend this church i will ask you - how is this image communicating anything about the reliability of the NT?

patrickstahl said...

Wince Brack:

The image on the bulletin typically attempts to illustrate some point of the sermon. In this case, the focus of the image was the Etch-a-sketch. The point was that the Gospel is not an etch-a-sketch that can be modified or erased at whim – destroying any reliability of the Gospel as a historical record.

The message attempted to provide reasons (both internal and external) why the Bible is reliable and why you don’t have to disregard facts and logic to trust the Bible.

To answer your question, the purposes of the image was a sort of a visual ‘jingle’ or something to catch people’s attention as they walked into the sanctuary, received their handout from the usher, and were seated. In this case, maybe it wasn’t as effect as it could have been…

I had assumed that someone pasted clipart onto an image of an etch-a-sketch. After I read your post, I took a closer look at the image and it does appear that it was done on an etch-a-sketch. That does seem miraculous (or a waste of time :-) ).

As to portraying Jesus as a middle-aged, bearded white man, you have to admit, he does have cool hair. I don’t know why that image was used. From all my years of Sunday school, that particular image is ubiquitous. I don’t know anything about art history, is the portrayal of Jesus as a “a white man with 70s hair and a well-groomed beard” fairly common?

Your post brings up a good point that it is too easy to mold Jesus into our image and adopt Him into our causes instead of trying to mold and adopt our life to fit His image. I don’t know if it was intentional, but that would have been another more subtle point of the etch-a-sketch Jesus.