Trust Jesus to sort it out?

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.  






Spring 1971 in an Econ 101 lecture, John Kuhlman made a commonsense case for how we know that advertising works. “McDonald’s will spend $30 million on advertising this year, and that’s how we know,” Kuhlman declared. Though he made some other points, too, that was his essential appeal to us freshman. Now, McDonald’s spends $1.5 billion annually on advertising.

Obviously, his assertion depends on the idea that McDonald’s is not going to spend money on anything that doesn’t tangibly serve it’s mission to profit from selling hamburgers. While I don’t think that money equates to merit, I do accept Kuhlman’s basic point.

Super Bowl – “He [Jesus] Gets Us”



By extension, I don’t think the wealthy Christians of the Signatry who sponsor the “He Gets Us” campaign merit special favor, nor do I think that they are stupid. Spending $1 billion on a message may well indicate a high degree of confidence in the need of spreading it and its efficacy. 

A week ago Saturday I posted a link on the UM Clergy group to a KCUR story on the Overland Park-based “Signatry” group. I then added some other stories on the He Gets Us campaign in the comments section. It wasn’t long before it became clear to me that knee-jerk responses were not likely to be fair or adequate. (good background report)



Advertising Jesus?

I’ll just begin with a declaration: I greatly appreciate the He Gets Us ‘message’ — see a colleague’s blog on the power of being understood. If my social media feeds are any indication, Christian folks who think positively about the message/campaign may be a tiny minority.



What immediately caught my attention about the He Gets Us campaign was that it seemed to be drawing critical fire from nearly all sides. (see here) (and here)

These days, I find material that can do this to be fascinating. Both “Progressive” and “Conservative/Traditional” Christians (and others) have overreacted, seemingly in knee-jerk fashion, to Jesus being presented in Super Bowl commercials. For instance, from the “Left” we find:




It’s funny, most often I lean toward Left thinking/goals and then someone, as AOC does here, says something that strikes me as extremely crass and I want to keep my distance. So, Roman Catholic priests and bishops who disapprove of abortion, are they all fascists, too?


A far more thoughtful “progressive” reaction was the argument that warns against an old advertising tactic they see potential for in the campaign. Kirsten Powers’ “…brought back bad memoriesarticle on the Religion News Service site is an example.

In what is becoming an uncommon rhetorical grace, Powers acknowledges a solid point that weakens her assertion, i.e., she admits that everything the ads claim regarding Jesus is true (of course, conservatives contest this). However, her trauma-based concern is that it’s all fake, just a ploy to entice unsuspecting people, lure them in, assimilate them using friendly-Jesus and only later, after they are hooked, reveal the real meaning and hard truth behind harsh-Jesus’ teachings. Well, that sounds dreadful! If it turns out that’s what is going on, then I’ll readily admit my error and repent of appreciating the He Gets Us campaign.

So, the Left objects to the campaign chiefly because it appears that the “Right” is paying for it. In a hyper-polarized negative-partisan context, that’s highly suspect to them. 


Space quickly wanes and we’ve barely looked at “conservative” concerns which chiefly regard the content of the ads (“unbiblical Jesus“). We’ve room to check out one (hair-on-fire) instance. Ironically, it also identifies a serious problem for the Left’s bait-n-switch concern (90 sec. video):  



 Snip from video:



So, let me get this straight: the plan for contact follow-up is to connect LGBTQ folks with churches where “Jesus approves of homosexuality,” and then later, somehow, turn around and say, “Actually, God prohibits homosexuality”…?

Wait. What?! That’s patently absurd!


What if He Gets Us’s posture is a humble reaction to the problem outlined in this snip?



Jesus brings redemption. What if?

Isn’t it possible the Signatry is using He Gets Us as a way to counter our self-destructive negative-partisan polarization? I mean, you can see the existential danger of our division, can’t you?

What if this Signatry group plans, as the WWUTT video reports, to simply connect folks based on their needs (i.e., connect gay people with Reconciling Ministries churches, etc.); and then trust Jesus to sort it out? More on this next time.



I don’t know what the Signatry group is up to with He Gets Us. Neither do I think all the wagging tongues know, either. Until shown otherwise, I recommend interpreting the ads with generosity and grace. 

Read the He Gets Us site. We’ll see how the campaign goes.

—See first comment below for questions that invite reflection. 

Next week: (He Gets Us) “Trust Jesus…” [2]. [this post ~825 words (3-min. read)] 


Your thoughts? 



2 thoughts on “Trust Jesus to sort it out?

  1. Is it possible that someone (e.g., David Green) who has a strong partisan position could have realized that the culture-war way of hyper-polarization is destroying our society?

    Is it possible that Green realized that the needed agenda at Signatry for He Gets Us is “to move beyond the mess of our current cultural moment to a place where all of us are invited to rediscover the love story of Jesus” (quoting He Gets Us website)?

    Is it possible that Green could still have their strong partisan position and yet find a greater perspective that presents the trans-partisan Jesus in the He Gets Us campaign?

    Is it possible that admitting we need to open a global space for ‘permitted not required’ to flourish, and then to trust Jesus to sort things out in Christ, is a stirring of the Holy Spirit?


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