You Didn’t See Nuthin’ – A Pondering of Biblical Justice in a Doritos Commercial

In my usual format of late, I have liked to set forth a lighter fare on Friday evenings as I post. This week though has a twist.

I saw a biblical theme in a Doritos Commercial. In this case though, the theme is not a pleasant one at all. And though the commercial has a certain humor, it is a dark humor to be sure.

In the commercial the family Dog has killed the family cat. And the father of the family who discovers the Dog’s guilt, is bribed by a bag of Doritos to stay quiet an pretend he “didn’t see nuthin.”

And in this brief commercial we see displayed the often sad human condition of the poor (here represented by a murdered cat!), and those who have no voice, or the money and power to be heard, often get no justice, a no one sees “nuthin” of their plight. Scripture says,

  1. This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed. (Amos 2:6-7)
  2. For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (Amos 5:12)
  3. Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them (Isaiah 1:23)
  4. They acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. (Is 5:23)

A couple of scenarios in my life come to mind.

Scenario One: This morning I stood with others outside a fancy breakfast that was held for developers and local politicians here in DC. And as they entered the building we respectfully reminded them of the poor and sought to engage them in a discussion about corporate welfare. For, in tight budget times, while corporate subsidies are being doled out in higher and abundant monies by the DC Government, the budget for affordable housing, shelters and job creation were underfunded, and in some cases wholly unfunded.

DC City Council and the Mayor claim that in lean times, the Neighborhood Investment Act would have to remain unfunded in a belt-tightening measure. Meanwhile subsidies to corporations and developers took no similar hit. In fact the DC convention Center (which should be making money) receives 100 million dollars in city money every year. There were surely no belt-tightening cuts to that subsidy. Other fancy hotels and development projects also receive substantial subsidies.

Thus corporate welfare continues apace, but the social safety net goes underfunded. When will capitalists (and I am a fan of capitalism) start acting like capitalists and stand on their own? Washington DC is second only to New York City in the Hotel Room Revenue Rates and Office Rental revenue. In such a lucrative market, why is corporate welfare necessary?

Talk as you will about the need to reduce the size of government. But why not begin with the huge amounts of corporate welfare that are doled out and start shrinking there? (Pardon a little Tea Party thinking here).

But the answer to this question is clear enough. Corporate subsidies do not get cut because developers and lobbyists for the hotel and tourism industry have money, influence and access to make sure that doesn’t happen. You might say (to use the image in the video) they have the bag of Doritos to push and to compel silence from the political sector. This morning it was a fancy breakfast with local politicians (all Democrats by the way, there are no Republicans in local DC politics). At other times it is threats to take their development elsewhere if they don’t get lots of incentives to stay.

Development is good, but only if it actually benefits local DC residents, which is largely does not. Unemployment rates remain as high as 30% among the poorer residents of this city despite all the development downtown for over twenty years. DC laws to train and hire a certain percentage of DC workers (when subsidies are given) are not enforced.

Scenario Two: Later this month I will stand outside the Planned Parenthood Clinic on 16th Street just up the street front the White House. There too I will speak for those who have (literally) no voice in this world, the unborn. There too, powerful interests (the Planned Parenthood lobby and others in the abortion and contraceptive industry) get their way and the poorest of the poor, infants in the womb, are killed for profit and political advancement.

And to those who run the “clinics” who would have us all say (in the words of the ad below) “you don’t see nuthin,” But I will say I see what you are doing and God sees everything you are doing. And you will answer to Him for what you are doing if you do not repent.

At the end of the commercial below comes the voice of a woman, asking her husband if he has seen the cat. And looking to the dog with another bag of Doritos he says, “Nope.” But her question echoes in his mind, despite his answer. He has seen everything that has happened and his silence, though it brings him rewards now, will bring him trouble later. For the truth will out.

Perhaps we can see the woman in the background in this commercial as Mother Church. And as a son of Mother Church, I often find it necessary to ask the deeper version of the commercial’s question (“Have you seen the cat?”). And the Deeper version is “How is your brother?” (cf Gen 4:9).

The Church doesn’t have a bribe, just a question, How is your brother, your sister? And that question must continue to echo in the hearts and minds of everyone.

Here’s the commercial:

Seeing an Image of the Priesthood in "Wego" the Bud Light Dog!

Somehow I thought of being a priest when I saw the Superbowl commercial below.

In this commercial there is a little dog named “Wego” who, when his name is called, runs and fetches a spirited drink (aka Bud Light)  for those who call his name. Yes, you might see Wego as a kind of  “Domini canis” (a dog of the Lord), who fetches something of the “spirit” for those who ask. While some say this Latin expression is where Dominicans get their name, that is not so, they are named after St. Dominic. Yet many priests, Dominican and other, proudly wear the title Domini canis as well!

Yes, I’d just like to say that “Wego” represents every priest who is called to be a Domini canis (a dog of the Lord).

Now Wego is also called a “rescue dog” which is another good title for a priest. For, rescuing souls from darkness and drawing them to the life of the Spirit, by God’s grace, is surely a central role of the priest. And we should be willing to work like dogs to do it.

In fact, I have it on the best of authority (my own imagination) that the dog’s name WEGO is short for Willing Energetic God Offerer. Which is also what every priest should be.

Now Wego the Dog brings a “spiritual” beverage to to each person in need. I pray you will allow for the humor of considering beer a symbol of thing spiritual. I beg your patience on two counts.

  1. First Scripture also plays on “spirited” drinks and the Holy Spirit. For when the Holy Spirit descended on them in the upper room and the crowds marveled at their joy we read: Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine” (Acts 2:13). Yes, some in the crowd confused the effects of the Holy Spirit with an ordinary spirited drink! But joy is hard to hide. They are indeed filled with the Holy Spirit.
  2. In second defense I offer the oft disputed quote of Ben Franklin who (may have) said, Beer is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Whoever said it, I largely believe it’s true, if the beer is consumed in moderation. 🙂

With these two witnesses in my favor please allow the spirited beverage (aka the Beer) to represent the Holy Spirit and things spiritual.

And one final thing to note about Wego the “dog of the Lord” is that he adapts himself to the needs of each person or group. As St. Paul says,

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Cor 9:19-23)

Thus note how Wego the dog assesses each situation differently and responds. But note too, he always brings the same spirited beverage. Thus, though his approach is different, the “truth” of what he offers remains unchanged. Many priests have to do this as well, adapting themselves to many different situations while never compromising the Gospel, the Word of God or the teachings of the Church.

In this short video you’ll see a number of aspects of priestly ministry that Wego exhibits analogously:

  1. There is Men’s Ministry
  2. There is Women’s Ministry
  3. There are pre-Cana instructions
  4. There is a baptism
  5. There is Theology on Tap

See if you can find them all in the video. At the end is a call to prayer, for rescue dogs. But perhaps you might also see Wego asking you to pray for priests, the rescue dogs in your own life.

Wego, Dog of the Lord!

Don’t. It’s a Trap! – A Recent Commercial With a Moral Lesson

Here’s a little commercial that requires very little decoding. A woman enters an office, and spying a very nice pen, has thoughts of petty theft. Just as she is about to depart, stolen pen in hand, a voice from above says, “Don’t! It’s a trap!” She looks up to see a co-worker swinging in a net that has swooped him up.

And so too for us, when temptation comes our way, we often hear that voice “from above” saying “Don’t It’s a trap!” But the voice we hear is not of some fellow sinner, but is that of God.

For Scripture says,

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

And the Catechism says,

Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) # 1776)

Yes, there is that small, still voice of God, who in the midst of our temptations, reminds us that the sinful pleasures the world, the flesh and devil propose are ultimately traps and lies. And whatever good we may imagine in, them through vain reasoning, is ultimately a deception.

Don’t, it is a trap.

Sowing in the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind (or) "Don’t wake up in a roadside ditch". A meditation based on a clever new T.V. Commerical

The video at the bottom of this post is a humorous commercial that depicts how things, when unaddressed, can pile up and get out of hand. The commercial depicts a man who becomes angry, and how this anger eventually leads him to wake up in a roadside ditch. The commercial of course presents an intentionally absurd, and therefore funny, chain of action.

But in a real and far less funny way, bad things unaddressed do tend to pile up in our life and lead to ever deeper “ditches” for both individuals, and our culture. St. Augustine famously wrote:

Because my will was perverse, lust came forth, and lust yielded to habit, and habit not resisted, became necessity.” (Confessions Book 8.5)

Biblically we are admonished: They sow in the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind! (Hosea 8:7)

Yes, terrible addictions, bad habits, and serious consequences can result from long chains of decisions, wherein one bad choice or premise, leads to others, and ultimately to a real mess. Things tend to pile up. The commercial below admonishes us: “Don’t wake up in a roadside ditch.” Of course their solution for us is to buy DIRECTV.

But Perhaps too there is a lesson for our culture here. For, to a large extent, we have woken up in a roadside ditch. We have sown in the wind, and now we reap the whirlwind. Many of us who are a bit older remember a world that was quite different, and wonder how we got into this roadside ditch.

To some extent, while admitting the danger of oversimplifying, we can see our current malaise has often resulted from certain basic premises that have now reached “full flower.”

Consider two “thought chains” similar to the commercial below, as our culture “thinks out-loud” It may help you to watch the video first so you can see what I’m trying to imitate and can hear the voice.

Scenario one: The roadside ditch of sexual confusion

  1. When you’re lustful you say, Sex is just for fun. It really has no relationship to the procreation and rearing of children at all, unless the couple wants it to have that meaning. So sex is just for fun.
  2. And when sex is just for fun you say, “So what’s wrong with contraception? Bring it on!”
  3. And when you bring on contraception you think you can have free sex without consequences.
  4. And when you think there are not consequences you start to discover sexually transmitted diseases, exploding promiscuity, teenage pregnancies, skyrocketing single motherhood rates, higher divorce rates, plummeting marriage rates, terrible abortion rates, broken and incomplete families.
  5. And when you have these things, you don’t connect them to contraception because lust has darkened your intellect.
  6. And when your intellect is darkened you loose your ability to see even the physically obvious facts about human sexuality and start to say that there is nothing wrong at all with homosexual acts.
  7. And when your darkness is light, how deep will the darkness be!
  8. Don’t wake up in a deep darkness. Buy a Catholic Catechism and the Holy Bible. Get them today.

Scenario two: The roadside ditch of Marital destruction

  1. When you are a baby boomer you say, “The purpose of marriage is the happiness of the couple….Children are merely a way of accessorising the marriage and are not essential.
  2. And when you think this way, you contracept and have few children.
  3. And when you have few children, they are less of a priority in terms of money and decisions.
  4. And when you run into difficulties, as most marriages do, you don’t say “Let’s work it out for the sake of the kids.” After all there’s only one or two of them, and the purpose of marriage is the happiness of adults. Kids are just an accessory and can be raised well in any circumstance.
  5. And when you think this way you get lots of divorces.
  6. And when you get lots of divorces, marriage starts to look like a flimsy social fiction that exists only for adults, rather than a sacred trust oriented toward the raising of children.
  7. And when marriage looks like a flimsy social fiction, the homosexual community comes to you and says, “You mean that the purpose of marriage is just for two adults to be happy and is not linked to the procreation of children? Then Why can’t Gays be married?”
  8. And when they ask this you have nothing to say.
  9. Don’t wake up with nothing to say. Get a biblical and Catholic understanding of marriage that links it to the mutual support of the spouses AND the procreation of children. Do it today.

Just something to consider, based on a creative commerical. The critical among you, will cry “simplistic.” But I already admit that, so chill. These chains I have constructed are influenced by a lot of other things too. But it’s fun to follow some of our often unquestioned premises through to their end in a roadside ditch.

Don’t wake up in a roadside ditch. Examine your premises now.

Revealing the Lie of the "Quick Fix." Another in the Series of "Truth in Advertising"

One of the cultural challenges we face in both living and proclaiming the faith is that the true faith doesn’t often fit our frantic pace and instant expectations. Consider that may today, including we who believe, demand the “Quick Fix.”  What ever the situation, be it sickness, a needed repair of something we own, the delivery of something we have purchased, a resolution of family troubles, or even deeper issues such as inner peace, we want a quick fix.

But many things do not admit of a quick fix, especially the deeper things of the human soul. And the faith we proclaim does not propose something so simple. In this sense, the faith is less “marketable” to our quick fix culture. We do not (cannot) say “Simply Come to Mass for six, sequential Sundays and your problems will be over.” Rather, we say, “Give your life to Christ.”

The solution of God and of the true faith insists on an often slow but steady movement toward God wherein he draws us in stages, ever deeper to Him, to holiness, to perfection. Little by little, our fears fade, sins diminish, we become more loving, patient, compassionate, chaste, serene and so forth. The process usually takes decades, no quick fix here.

And many medicines need to be consistently applied: daily prayer, daily Scripture and spiritual reading, weekly Mass and Communion, frequent confession, and communal life in the Church to include helpful friendships, faith-filled relationships and works of Charity.

There is an old saying that “Grace builds on nature.” That is to say, that God’s grace respects the way we are made by him. And just as it pertains to our physical nature to change slowly, almost imperceptibly, (but surely), so our spiritual nature usually follows the same pattern. And, while there may be growth spurts, it is more often the subtle and sure growth that makes the deepest difference.

I can surely say this has been my experience. I have been serious about my spiritual life for the last 28 of my 50 years: daily Mass, daily Scripture, daily holy hour, weekly confession, fellowship with my people, holy friendships and spiritual direction. And wow, what a change! But it has taken 28 years to get here, and most of my growth was imperceptible, day to day.  I’m not what I want to be, but I’m not what I used to be, a wonderful change has come over me.

Not the quick fix, not the fast rush, just a inching along like a poor inch worm (as an old Spiritual says). But praise God I am where I am today.

Lifelong plans may not “sell” but they are the way God insists on working.

On Fridays I have often tried to keep the post a little shorter and have tried to use a commercial to make my point. So how about this one:

  1. In the commercial, below the is a man, Jerry, who is in a “State of Regret.” In a certain sense (as we shall see), Jerry represents all who stray from the Church and God’s life long plan of faith, looking for a fast rush, and quick fix elsewhere, apart from the faith and the Church.
  2. Sure enough, Jerry’s regret is that he has dropped his “State Farm” Insurance and went with the “other company,” let’s call that company “Quick Fix Auto Insurance.” I allowing State Farm to represent the Church, I intend no endorsement, but do recall that “farming” is no quick fix business. It involves a lot of patient waiting and persistent working. Such is the work of the Lord and his Church, no quick fix, but more like farming.
  3. Jerry complains to his former agent “Jessica” (but lets call her “Mother Church”). His complaint is: It only took me 15 minutes to sign with that other company but it’s taking a lot longer to hear back. OK, so now he’s learned that there really is NO SUCH THING as a “quick fix” when it comes to many things. And so must we learn this same truth. The world, the flesh and the devil, often make such promises and sow seeds of impatience in us when God does not act instantly, when the Church bids us to be patient and persistent. But Now Jerry’s impatience has brought him further troubles, as we shall see.
  4. Jerry explains he’s had a “fender bender” The truth is Jerry has bent far more than a fender. He is in real trouble. We too often like to minimize our state when we have made bad decisions.
  5. Jessica (Mother Church) is sympathetic but wonders what she can do, for Jerry has ended his relationship with her. Without a relationship, how can she help him? Here too, Mother Church often wants to help us, but must have a relationship with us to help. God too, seeks communion with us, in order to help us. But communion, a relationship, with the Lord and his Bride the Church are necessary for help to be extended.
  6. Indeed Jessica (Mother Church) knows Jerry well, and seems, like a mother, to know implicitly and exactly what he has done. She knows he’s in real trouble and has “put his car up a pole” (again). There’s just something about Mother Church, she knows her children and what we do, she knows, and understands.
  7. Hearing Jessica’s (Mother Church’s) knowing but compassionate words Jerry breaks down and says “I miss you Jessica!” The ad then says, “Let it out Jerry! Then come back to State Farm.” Yes, indeed. And so too for us. Soulful and tearful repentance and a restoration of our relationship with the Lord and his Church, are the way out.
  8. Quick Fix Insurance Company can’t cut the deal. Come back to the Lord and his Church. The solution may not be “quick” but it will be sure if we stay the course.

Doritos Don’t, But Communion Can! – A Little Eucharistic Theology in a T.V. Commercial

Too many people think of Holy Communion as a ritual, rather than a transformative, life giving reality. Jesus spoke clearly of how Holy Communion, the partaking of his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, would give us new life and raise us up:

  1. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. (Jn 6:33)
  2. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:48-51)
  3. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (Jn 6:54)
  4. The one who feeds on me will live because of me (Jn 6:57)
  5. He who feeds on this bread will live forever. (Jn 6:58)
  6. [In the ancient Temple] a tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place…. When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood…This is an illustration for the present time…..When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made…He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption….to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Heb 9: varia).

So Holy Communion with Jesus takes us, who were dead in our sins, and raises us to a new and eternal life. The word eternal does not refer merely to the length of life, but to the fullness of it. So we are given not just a long life, but a full one.

I am a witness to this and I hope you are. I have been receiving Holy communion just about every day for the last 27 years. And I want to say I have seen sins put to death and new life come forth in me, new gifts given to me. I am more serene, more loving, more chaste, more concerned for the poor, more generous, more patient, more alive that ever before. Holy Communion with the Lord does that, it gives life, bestows holiness and wholeness. And in giving me greater life, he enables me to share it with others.

Whoever eats my flesh will live, says the Lord. And he’s done for me just what he said. Thank you Lord.

And to those who refrain from Holy Communion, The Lord has this to say:

Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you have no life in you. (Jn 6:53)

Those who have stepped away from the Communion with the Lord in the Sacrament of the Eucharist are starving themselves and risk utter spiritual death: no life you.

To receive the Lord fruitfully in Holy Communion brings life, to refuse him brings death. It is that simple, and if you wish to argue with me, talk instead to Jesus. He said it, not me, though whatever the Son of God says, I believe (credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius). And he did say it.

And now we go to a surprising place: a Doritos commercial (see video below).

  1. In this commercial, a friend going on a journey exhorts his friend to remember to feed the fish, and water the plant.
  2. I wonder if we cannot see ourselves receiving a similar command from Jesus. Jesus often speaks in parables of a King, or landowner (Him really) going on a journey and leaving instructions.
  3. And Jesus’ instructions are similar involving food and drink. For he said, as he went on a journey, Eat my Flesh and drink my Blood….Do this in remembrance of me.
  4. But in the ad, the friend on the couch pays little attention. And as you can guess, he does not really do what he is supposed to.
  5. Interestingly however, HE does eat the Doritos!
  6. Perhaps then, he is emblematic of some modern Catholics, who, though they know how to get to Church themselves, have not evangelized others, even their relatives, and do not make sure they eat and drink by receiving Holy Communion.
  7. Sure enough, as we have noted,  in the ad, the couch bound friend (pew sitting Catholic?) does not give food to the fish, and drink to the plant and they die. And this is what is happening spiritually to our family and friends who do not come to Mass and worthily receive Holy Communion. And to the extent that we have neglected to evangelized them, we, like this couch sitting friend in the ad, share in the blame for their death.
  8. Suddenly the couch bound friend realizes it is Thursday and his friend will return soon. He sees the death he has helped cause by failing to feed,  and urgently tries to remedy the situation. Perhaps (we hope) this is a symbol of us in the Church who have allowed 70% of our brethren to drift away from the food and drink they need (Jesus). Waking up from a long nap, we hear the call to the new Evangelization as we see our once filled parishes and schools empty and closing.
  9. Now things get silly, but action is taken. The couch bound friend suddenly leaves his couch (pew) and goes to work. He feeds the dead fish Doritos and suddenly the Fish comes back to life! I know it’s a stretch, but allow this to be a symbol of getting a friend or family member back to the Sacraments. If we do, that which was dead is now alive. Next, in the ad,  the tree comes alive, and most auspiciously even Grandpa, whose ashes are an the mantle also comes back to life (remember though do not put the ashes of loved ones on the mantle. The Church requires that they be buried or place in a columbarium at a cemetery).
  10. OK, it’s crazy, but the Doritos can symbolize here (by a stretch) the Eucharist. And as for giving life, Doritos don’t, but Communion Can! When Holy Communion is received worthily and fruitfully, what was dead can and does come back to life. And what is already alive is further enlivened.

So the moral is, Stay faithful to Holy Communion or Die. And even if you’re receiving, you know people who aren’t. They need to get back to Holy Communion or they will perish (cf Jn 6:53).

Now don’t let some guy in a Doritos commercial be smarter than you. Get to work, evangelize. There are people out there (including your own children, family members and friends) who are dying spiritually for lack of Holy Communion. Get to work, Jesus may be coming soon.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev 3:20-22)

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (Jn 6:54)

Here’s the commercial:

On the Inadequacy of the World As Advertised

One of the implicit messages in the advertisements we see is, in effect, “You are not adequate, you are not pretty enough, thin enough, healthy enough, popular enough, rich enough.” Further, “The world is a threatening and difficult place and you are not up to the task.” And then comes the pitch, “Buy our product and you’ll make it, you’ll measure up and solve life’s challenges. You won’t be so pathetic and ill equipped.” So the basic recipe is: incite fear and push the product as a solution.

And to be fair, the advertisements often do this with humor and creativity. Further, it is not wrong to sell a product to help meet a need. Needs are simply facts of human existence and people and companies do have good products to help us meet these needs.

But in the end we need to be more consciously aware that not every fear or apparent inadequacy elicited by an advertiser is a real or legitimate fear, or actual inadequacy. We don’t all have to be young, good looking, popular and perfectly healthy to be happy. I used to be young tan and trim, increasingly now, I am old, white and fat. But God is good and I am quite happy and more blessed than I deserve. I am also reasonably healthy, despite the extra weight. And even if advertisers insist that I should look and feel as I did at 25, I’m not buying into the fear, guilt and inadequacy thing. It’s wonderful to get older. And though my outer self, my body, is less sound and sleek, my inner self is being renewed day by day (cf 2 cor 4:16). I am more alive today than I ever was at 25.

Another thing that goes unsaid is the ultimate inadequacy of anything in this world to really satisfy us. Despite the many promises of ads and other media, no one product or even a huge collection of many products can really fill the God-sized hole in our hearts. I will say, there are many things that bring convenience and comfort. But, in the end, they don’t really cut the deal when it comes to deep satisfaction. In fact, the more we have, the more dissatisfied we seem to be. This is probably due to the unrealistic expectations all these creature comforts and pervasive ads strive to create. But in the end the words of Ecclesiastes still ring true:

All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. (Ecclesiastes 1:8-10)

Indeed, this world cannot live up to its hype. That longing in your heart which too easily is translated as “Buy a new car,” is better translated, “Seek always the face of the Lord” (cf Psalm 27:8) . Occasionally a new car is warranted but it won’t do the trick the advertisers say. A good beer, or a glass of wine can cheer the heart, but not really heal it .

So here we are in media world permeated with many unrealistic premises. We do well to ponder the often unquestioned assumptions of these marketers, even as we enjoy and use some their products.

In the following two videos, both Bud Light commercials, there are actually a couple of moments when the veil is pulled back and the inadequacy of the product is admitted, albeit in a humorous and subtle way.

In the first ad, two men are hopelessly bored  as they sit through an opera with their wives. But Bud Light (smuggled in) comes to the rescue! Unfortunately, the glass bottles prove insufficient to withstand the opera as the “fat lady” sings. Alas, the beer could not really come through in the end! But wait! There is a twist in the end, maybe it really “can.”Nevertheless, just for a moment we see that maybe beer can’t really make everything OK.

In the second ad, our beer drinkers have installed rubber floors so that they will never break a beer bottle again. But alas, there are unintended consequences that emerge. And here too is a brief moment of truth as we learn that beer isn’t everything, and that choosing to make beer the point, may cause harm to other things we value. A brief moment of truth that “Dog-gone-it, you can’t have it all, even with beer at the center!”

By the way, nothing personal with Bud Light. Your blogger enjoys a nice cold Bud light from time to time!

Photo Credit: Trash on

"Get To a Better State" Finding Christian Teaching in Yet Another Commercial

So here we go again, another Friday, another analysis of a commercial. Permit me an eisegesis (a “reading into”) of an Ad, wherein I see a Christian teaching. It is another State Farm Commercial where great destruction gives way to a “nice landing” and a “better state.” Let’s look at the ad in stages and see it’s (likely unintentional) Biblical themes.

As the commercial opens we seen chaos, panic, and destruction all about. We are told by the ad, that our location is in the “State of Chaos.” A terrible and monstrous machine-like enemy is on the attack.  And here is a paradigm for the world, with Satan afflicting it. For Scripture says,

  1. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
  2. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” (Job 1:7)
  3. After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast–terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. (Daniel 7:7)
  4. Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent…. (Isaiah 27:1)
  5. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth….When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child…..the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Rev 12:varia)
  6. And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. (Rev 13:1)

And of the terrible fear incited by this monstrous devil Scripture speaks of how it holds us in bondage and that Christ must free us from such fear:

  1. Since the children have flesh and blood, Jesus too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Heb) 2:14-15
  2. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. (Rom 8:15)

But without Christ there is only fear and panic all about, and the power of Christ has not yet entered the scene in this Ad.

Two men walk up observing and describing what they see. They cannot really help anyone, they can simply observe and lament. Let’s call them Moses and Elijah. This is another way of saying they are the Law and the Prophets, the Old Testament. And, in fact, the Old Testament could describe the problems we face and lament the human condition, but the Law and the prophets could not really save us, or overcome Satan’s terrible destruction. Scripture says,

  1. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering (Rom 8:3).
  2. The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect). (Heb 7:18)
  3. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin (Rom 3:20).

Hence, our Moses and Elijah figure in the ad, our living “voices” of the  Old Testament can describe the problem and lament the destruction, but not really be able to do anything to stop it. They can merely observe as the destruction focuses on a property of a man named Dwayne. One of the figures laments “Man, that thing does not like Dwayne!” Yes, indeed, it is Satan who is our accuser, our tempter, our ancient enemy, who demands to sift us like wheat, who  pursues us and seeks to devour us and all we have.

As the Satan figure destroys a house in the ad, we recall how Satan is a home wrecker and a devourer of families. As he destroys a car we are mindful of how he attempts to hinder our journey to God.

But in the midst of all this destruction, and just when it seems Dwayne himself is toast, the screen goes red (proclaiming the Blood of Christ).  And there is a voice of an unseen announcer. Lets call him the Lord….The Word made flesh, Jesus, who announces good news to the poor! And our announcer says on the very RED screen, “State Farm’s got you covered!

Yes, but of course the “state farm” for us is ultimately the Kingdom of God, and it is the blood of Jesus which covers us like the blood of the lamb on the doorposts once rebuked the destroying angel and staved off death in the Exodus. We are saved by the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Of this blood Scripture says, In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Heb 9:22). Yes, we’re covered alright:  The Kingdom of God has got you covered. As the blood of Jesus covers us, we are washed clean, and saved from destruction.

Suddenly we’re back to the scene, and the Satanic destroyer looses his grip on Dwayne. Saved by the Blood! Dwayne falls away from Satan, and makes a perfect three point landing. Our Moses and Elijah figure nod with approval and say, “Nice landing.”

Finally, our off screen Announcer, the Lord, says, “Get to a better state.”

Indeed, for Scripture records our announcer, Jesus, saying,

  1. I have called you out of the world. (Jn 15:19).
  2. Jesus said, “Follow me” (Jn 1:43)
  3. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28)
  4. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9)

Yes, indeed, Get to a better state. The world as we know it is passing away (1 Cor 7:31). And whatever destruction this world, the State of Chaos, dishes out, Just remember that Jesus has you covered and invites you to “Get to a better State” For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. (2 Cor 5:1).

Get to a better state, follow Jesus who’s got you covered.

Photo above is a screen shot from the State Farm AD.

Enjoy the Ad.