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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ever heard of a church that turns people away?

Bob Chase, director of communications for the United Church of Christ, writes:

[S]ome groups, specifically the Association for Church Renewal and the Institute on Religion and Democracy—widely identified with the religious right—are calling our ad, "dishonest and insulting to other Christian churches."

The ad is clearly allegorical. In the same way Jesus used startling symbols in his parables—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into heaven—it contains arresting imagery, taken from the point of view of those who have felt excluded. In focus groups held in preparation for the production of this ad, non-church goers cited again and again that the reason they didn’t attend church was because they had been wounded or rejected in the past. We are simply trying to reach out to this group in a language they can understand and invite them to give the church another chance.

Were our focus groups on target? Have you been hurt by a church? Your stories will help illustrate the need for inclusion and highlight the importance of our message. The attacks on the UCC’s campaign deny the truth that many people face. Please post your stories as comments as a way of serving witness to the truth. We’re interested in your experience as a way of personalizing the realities our ad reflects.

Share your stories over at the UCC's Accessible Airwaves site.

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 16 December 2004 at 5:34 PM

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December 16, 2004 06:13 PM | Permalink for this comment

I was more than a bit sickened by the hateful little editorial on the subject last week in the Wall Street Journal, written by some Heritage Foundation schmo. Care to link it? His point was that the UCC was simply being trendy in its outreach to those often shunned by traditional Christian congregations. Awful.

A Progressive Christian:

December 16, 2004 09:31 PM | Permalink for this comment

On the positive side, the UCC can only be aided in its efforts by having its ads rejected by CBS and NBC, and by having the Wall Street Journal sneer at it. I have less respect for those organizations (if possible), but the folks that the UCC is trying to reach aren't going to be disturbed by such criticism. Certainly, I would not be.


December 17, 2004 01:34 AM | Permalink for this comment

I sent my 2 cents to Institute on Religion and Democracy regarding their call to have the UCC stop their advertisement. I can't believe this group. Yuck.

Paul S. Sawyer:

December 17, 2004 06:27 PM | Permalink for this comment

The UCC has certainly benefitted from the rejection and demonization of this ad, but herin lies, I think, one of the places we differ from our more conservative counterparts. I believe we, and the UCC would much rather that CBS and NBC and the Wall Street Journal were open to a wider diversity of speech and willling to air the UCC's viewpoint.

Some organizations take rejection by such media as a badge of righteousness. The UCC, and I suspect, many others of us theological liberals are sad first, and grateful for the publicity later.

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