“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


When I was in college way back in the 1970s, I studied radio and television arts, majoring in television writing. My first job in the television industry was as a commercial writer: To make even the most mundane, unnecessary or questionable products look positive and give them an exciting spin. It was my job to present images and words on the television screen to motivate potential consumers to part with their money. At the risk of sounding boastful, I was rather clever at it. It was fun and creative but lacked a sense of purpose, and often had an undercurrent of deceit. 

Eventually the lure of television subsided and I left that industry to make the remainder of my short career with the Canadian federal civil service, working in areas of community development. 

Television had enormous potential to enlighten and educate but has been reduced to the lowest denominator. Indeed, television is a vast wasteland of inane programming: sitcom blather, one after the other, written by formula requiring laugh tracks to convince viewers they are actually watching something funny. There's a glut of reality shows that do not reflect reality. News programs are so biased viewers can't be sure they are getting all the news, proper information or context.  Now we have alternative new media that may stop the news and entertainment strangle hold of television -- and to a lesser extent radio. A new problem can be overload!

Back to advertising and commercials: Very few things advertised on television are necessary, yet they are presented as though they are important to our lives.  Quite simply, spills were cleaned thoroughly with a rag before Shamwow came along. Five year old cars probably work just fine. We don't need new ones every couple of years.[1] Judging by the ballooning of North America's waistline, we don't need more candy or fast food. What the real estate industry calls a "starter house", my parent's generation called home.  Bigger, better, larger, newer, is not the point of life; our relationship with God and other people is the point: Love. 

The Scriptures tell us not to covet.[2] Be content.

The Apostle Paul said "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living with plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."[3] He's speaking of Christ.  

Elsewhere the Apostle writes:

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."[4]

The writer of Hebrews says: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.""[5] 

Beware of what is presented to your senses that is meant to create envy, make a want seem like a need, alter your perceptions (things may not be as the seem) or divert your thinking from that which is godly and brings you closer to Christ.

Beware of clever words and compelling images that create illusions rather than reinforce reality. Perceptions may not be reality. 

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YBtspm8j8M for a GENERIC BRAND VIDEO, 2:49]

[1] My 17 year old van is still working great! My wife's car is 10 years old and working like a dream. My son drives a 17 year old Toyota (winter) and a 42 year old Volkswagen Beetle (summer). His wife alternates between a 15 year old Buick in winter and a 36 year old VW van in summer (good for camping with the grandkids). Okay, my family is not vehicle proud. We are odd that way but I think it illustrates that vehicles last much longer than typically people keep them.
[2] Exodus 20.17. Cp. Psalm 10.3; Proverbs 28.16. Also passages about greed: Jeremiah 6:13; Ezekiel 33.31; Micah 2.2-3; Habakkuk 2.9, Luke 12.15; Ephesians 5.3; Colossians 3.5.   
[3] Philippians 4.11b-13.
[4]1Timothy 6.6-10. Read verses 6:11-16. Cp. Ecclesiastes 5.10-20 
[5] Hebrews 13.5, and reference to Deuteronomy 31.6.

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