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How about that infomercial?

October 10, 2012

There is nothing that is part of contemporary American culture that I find more fascinating, in a train-wreck sort of way, than infomercials.  Whenever I need to sit, relax and think I find that having an infomercial run in the background is helpful.  As a result it is not uncommon for me to watch several each week.

A common theme in them all is the way they dramatize how a task that I had always thought of as rather simple and routine is actually quite hard.  Until the first Snuggie commercial informed me that my “hands were trapped inside” I never realized how hard it was to get your hands out from underneath a blanket.  I’ve since learned that tasks such as cracking open an egg or peeling a potato are actually amazingly complicated and tedious.  The look of abject exhaustion on the face of the lady half way through peeling a potato is heart-wrenching.

Happily, like modern fairy tales, infomercials always have happy endings.  We get to see the pure joy people experience at the completion of such tasks as hammering a nail in a wall.  Usually there is a second, equally joyous, person in the room at that time so we can see that the joy is not only thrilling but a great family experience. 

Even better, we can get to do things we previously thought impossible, such as taking a ride in a boat that has a screen door.  Forget glass-bottom boats, how about a screen-bottom boat? 

But that is not all.  No doubt taking a cue from the God of the Bible who answers our prayers more than we could ask or think, there is always a “But wait!” that leads to the amazing promise that we can get two of whatever is for sale.  Yes, I have to pay additional processing and shipping, but who am I to quibble when, once I have decided it is indispensible, I can get not one but two hand-held devices that will punch an additional hole in a leather belt?  We truly live in a blessed land.

The more I think about such commercials the easier the pattern is to see.  It starts with something horribly wrong, like being forced to peel potatoes with a knife.  It then proposes an easy solution that not only will solve my problem but also make my life, and the lives of my whole family, a joy.  I can almost see the happy look on my wife’s face as those potato peels come flying off.  All I need to do is “call right now.”

Then it hits me.  Doesn’t that pretty much sound like what most of us say when we are witnessing?  Yes, we know you life is a horrible mess.  But there is an easy answer – Jesus.  If you decide right now all your problems will be over. 

I really hope, when I share my faith, I don’t sound like an infomercial.  I hope I am not proposing Jesus as an answer to all life’s heartache.  I hope I can present Him as someone really worth falling in love with.  I hope I don’t imply that following Jesus means there won’t be any heartaches or unanswered questions.  But most of all I hope that person I am speaking to can see that I care a whole lot more about him then someone in an infomercial just selling a product.


From → Christianity

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