He Gets Us - Anatomy of A Super Bowl Ad

 


One of the many interesting commercials during Sunday's Super Bowl was another provocative ad that is part of the He Gets Us campaign, which declares at the end of each ad that "Jesus Gets Us."  

I must be honest; the ad aired during the Super Bowl nearly brought me to tears. It was so well done.  I'll post the link below: 

The latest ad from the Super Bowl joins many similar advertisements created by a Michigan-based ad agency funded by "anonymous" donors.  

The ads address the significant issues that divide our society: politics, refugees, immigration, LGBTQ+ inclusion, and many more, focusing on how Jesus can heal divisions and press us to act with love in the world instead of hate. 

I haven't seen one of those ads that I disagree with.  They are poignant, professional, and filled with incredible messages about how the Light of Christ can change hearts and transform our culture. 

But there's a catch to all this that I have written about before. 

The donors to this ad campaign are not anonymous; we know a bit more about the source of the money, and it's this source that has troubled me about the whole thing.  

According to the group openDemocracy, the source of income that has been used to fund the ad campaigns for He Gets Us is the Servant Foundation, and they had this to say about it: 

But analysis of financial accounts by openDemocracy shows over the last five years the Servant Foundation has also grown to become the main identifiable source of funding for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), described as an anti-LGBTIQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) 

There's much more to the story; believe it or not, it worsens. If you keep following the money, you discover that the Servant Foundation has funded many other shady things. 

But the gist is that the prominent donors to the He Gets Us campaign are firmly rooted in evangelical Christian and far-right-leaning organizations and funnel monies through the Servant Foundation to support political aims, which are the exact opposite of the ads' message.  

Sometimes, following the money can be disheartening.  

But here's what I've come to think about these ads and how to respond to them, which may surprise you.  

I think they're great.  

I love the fact that all kinds of people who may have a negative view of Christians and Christianity are getting a different type of message than they may have received either by their own experience in church or via social media.  

I especially loved the ad I posted above, what it says about how Christians should act, and how it honestly answers the question, "What would Jesus do?" in our current culture of division.  

There is a problem, however.  

If people outside of the Church view these ads and then decide to give Christianity a chance, what will they find in the kinds of faith communities around them?  The answer is, "It depends on where they go." 

They may visit a church where women cannot be pastors or elders.  They may also discover that while LGBTQ+ folk are welcomed, they are not included in the life and leadership of the church.  

They may also find leaders and members who have very hard-line views on immigrants, refugees, racism, and a host of other issues, which stand in sharp contrast to the message of the He Gets Us ads. 

To put it bluntly, if that is the case, those cautious visitors may never darken the door of a church again.  

Here's the good news in all of this.  

I think the He Gets Us campaign provides an opportunity for those of us who are part of faith communities, churches, and denominations that believe and practice the truths about Jesus the ads espouse. 

These ads open the door for conversations and perhaps invitations if we are willing to reach out to people searching for something more but are afraid to try a Christian church. 

We can share these ads on our social media with posts like, "Want to try a church that believes and practices the messages of these ads?  I know one, and you can come with me." 

Most people who visit a church do so because they were invited by someone. It may be time for those of us who resonate with the message of He Gets Us to show others why we believe that Jesus actually does... get us.  

May we share our thoughtful, open-hearted Christian faith.  May we not be shy about reaching out to those who may have been wounded or have poor feelings about Christianity. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us always, now and forever. Amen.  

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