Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ruth Gledhill weblog: In the spirit of Christmas

The Churches' Advertising Network has truly excelled itself this time. I am wondering if maybe they themselves had been for a bit of a night out with one too many when they dreamed up this one. The campaign is based around a poster intended to depict the face of Jesus in a beer glass, but it beats me if I can see Him there. This one is certainly a drink or two beyond Bad Hair Day, Che Guevara and all the rest of them. In the campaign-linked entry on, Jesus has precisely zero friends at present, and is it any wonder? Anyone who knows my history well will understand why this campaign has a particularly odd resonance for me. My experience is that spiritual awakening comes, if it comes at all, by putting down the glass, not picking it up. Talk about "seeing through a glass darkly" to anyone who once looked through the bottom of a beer glass to find spiritual meaning in the world, and this is not the kind of thing they will come up with. But then, the idea of this campaign is not to appeal to oldies like me, but to youngsters. To get them into church.

But wait a minute.

Isn't it oldies like me, with young children, who make up the most part of church congregations these days? And aren't Christmas, Christingle and all the associated festivities extremely child-and-adult oriented? And isn't the most horrendous church service of any liturgical year the Midnight Mass in your average suburban parish church, the rare occasion when the teens do show, and the rest of us are knocked out by the smell of bad beer breath, worse language and unwashed clothes?
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