De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

1 03 2008

The stocky 20-something man in white shirt and tie sits there interviewing for a job.  His words ramble on, but clearly the interviewer can’t hear a thing being said.  That’s because he’s distracted by the coffee stain on the oblivious applicant’s shirt.  The stain, in fact, is screaming.  Screaming so loud it drowns out the droning dispensation delivered by the dude.  (Sorry, I can’t resist the occasional albeit forced alliteration.)  By the time the statement is completed, both the interviewer and interviewee look equally perplexed by the situation.  The Tide stain stick.  Buy it.  Commercial ends.

tide - my talking stainI get a big kick out of that commercial.  But tonight I noticed something a hundred times more hilarious than the premise itself.  Watch for it.  At the end of the commercial, in small letters, this message briefly flashes at the bottom of the screen:  “Coffee stain depicted”. 

Every illusion I had has been torn into a thousand screaming pieces!  Tears come to my unbelieving eyes.  No!  No!  Say it ain’t so, Joe!  That stain wasn’t real?  It really wasn’t making all that noise?  Has some cruel hoax been perpetrated on the American viewing public?  Oh, the humanity of it!

OK, so I’m bit just a tad cynical.  In a fly on the wall sort of way, I wish I could’ve been there when the lawyer told the ad agency, “Boys, you’re gonna have to have a disclaimer.  When people see this, they’ll start to think their coffee stains can talk too.  We’ll have a real melee on our hands.”  This, of course, is the same lawyer who made them tell us that Preparation H shouldn’t be taken orally.  Pucker up and smile.

And the reason for all of this is because there is that one person who decides to turn their imprudence into a big payday.  No, Mr. Lawyer, we aren’t all stupid.  It’s only taken one trouble maker to turned you into a tail tucker.

But this is no new thing to those of us who follow Christ and spend our lives at labor for His church.  There are a few people out there who make all of us look, uh, well, stupid.  And it’s not that those few people don’t know the stain isn’t real…  they just want attention turned to them instead of the real message.  I read where 72% percent of people who never attend church do such on the belief that the church is full of hypocrites.  It’s not full of hypocrites…  there are still empty pews.  Sorry, bad joke.  The reality is that those who want to follow their own whims and follies tend to also be the ones with the loudest mouths.  Those who humbly and sincerely follow will by nature never seek the limelight. 

Those peckish pew-mysters will always be around.  It’s as common as…  sin.  But don’t be fooled.  The stain isn’t real.  The work of Christ goes on in the sincerity of the many who quietly act as help, hope and healing in the world around them without regard for self or acknowledgment.  For those in that role, take reassurance that you are the reason why the Gospel lives on.  Sure, some will cry out for self-adulation and drown out the real message of Christ in the ears of others.  But our hope is a good offense, not a hap-hazard defense. 

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