Jesus All About Life and the next 10 words
Christians in the Media's Dominic Steele writes the Jesus All About Life campaign has a brilliant opening line but will flounder unless we put a lot of thinking into the next ten words of our answer.
In the West Wing Presidential Debate between President Jed Bartlett and Governor Richie, Richie makes a brilliant catchy statement "We need to cut taxes for one reason, because the American people know how to spend their money better than the federal government does." President Bartlett's reply:
"There it is! That's the ten word answer my staff have been looking for the last two weeks. There it is! Ten word answers can kill you in political campaigns. They're the tip of the sword. Here's my question. What are the next ten words of your answer? Your taxes are too high, so are mine. Give me the next ten words? How are we going to do it? Give me ten after that. I'll drop out of the race after that."
Ever since it was announced that Jesus All About Life was coming to New South Wales I have been struggling to think of the next 10 words that I want to say after the advertisement's brilliant catchy statement: Jesus is all about life.
But what are the next 10 words I am to say to my friends?
It's OK that the TV ad undersells Jesus. I can live with that in the ad. What's said in the ad is true, it just doesn't paint the full picture. It's different to most of the other ads on TV, where the product oversells and underdelivers.
And we can fill things out in private conversation.
But to be honest the official follow up material leaves me pretty underwhelmed. And I am not prepared to run with a default prosperity line of Jesus came to give us the immediate abundant life.
I am concerned that because each one of us hasn't thought through an excellent next ten words that we might end up playing a dead bat and not make the full benefit of this campaign and that would be a tragedy.
But it's easy to give criticism. It's harder to come up with something that rolls off the tongue well.
I am looking for a gospel presentation in the categories of Jesus All About Life that doesn't undersell sin, judgement or Jesus. (Christian gospel presentations have often undersold sin and judgement. If we don't think carefully about the next 10 words we risk our last word not just underselling sin and judgement but also underselling Jesus.)
Here's a suggestion from me as a starter for discussion:
Me: You seen the Jesus ad?
Them: Yeah, What did you think?
Me: I thought it undersold him!
Me: Yeah I thought it undersold him " which is so different to all the other ads on television " which oversell and underdeliver!
Them?: What do you mean?
Me: Well the ad said "I've looked into it a little bit and a lot of the things that Jesus said makes sense." But, I want to go further ...
My suggestion is to then look for the opportunity to have a substantial coffee shop discussion about Jesus and Life and to make a series of points from the book of Revelation 1-5, 21-22:
1. Jesus is the living one. Jesus said he was dead and is now alive for ever and ever (Revelation 1:18)
2. Jesus wrote a letter of life. Jesus taught us how to live. (Revelation 2-3)
3. Life is all about Jesus. Go beyond the ad and show that it's Jesus that gives life purpose. The end point of life is to be gathered around the throne of Jesus (the lion) who was slaughtered as a lamb, that we might have life. (Revelation 4-5)
4. Jesus is all about life. Jesus promises eternal life, a tree of life, a river of live and a city of life lived in the presence of the living God Almighty and his Lamb, to those whose names are written in his book of life. There's also a warning of eternal death. (Revelation 21-22)
I am presuming that John Dickson's Life of Jesus course will also function as an attempt to present a 10-word answer.
But really we need to be having significant discussions now in every home group so that, as Jed Bartlett says, all of us can give the next 10 words? And the 10 after that.
It will be too late to start thinking about this on September 15, when the on-air campaign begins. This is the conversation we need to have now.
What are your comments on my suggestion? And what's your suggestion?