Sunday, August 10, 2014

Seeing Red

It caused quite a stir around here.

And I wasn’t even at home when it happened. I just read about it on Facebook. That’s what’s so great about social media—even from the top of a mountain in northern Idaho I know what’s going down in the desert.

It was a flyer. An invitation. A titillating tri-fold mailed en masse to both churched and unchurched families in our town—one per family, please. Bright red letters punctuated the slightly suggestive photo on the front page. (They always use red for messages like these. Kind of makes me wonder what’s up with Christmas colors.)
The out-of-focus photo on the right revealed two red high-heel clad feet caressing another in a high-top Converse tennis shoe—horizontally—while the eighty-point crimson font slid in from the left margin like it just ran a . . . red light.
SEX DRIVE, it proclaimed. Maybe it should have arrived in an envelope or shrouded by a magazine blinder with a warning to parents. Remember—this appeared courtesy of the postal service to thousands of families whose latch key kids bring in the mail every afternoon. And a few of their parents saw . . . red.
Is your sex life what you hoped it would be?” the inside flap asked. “Does something inside tell you it could be better?”
Well, those are kind of personal questions. I’m not sure I know you well enough to discuss what goes on behind our closed doors. Who’s asking, anyway?
Scanning my very own tri-fold, demurely buried between the water bill and my bank statement in the pile of mail on our table, I opened the fancy flyer and stared into four cherubic faces at the top of page two. The children’s program info had lead billing over an ad for junior high and high school classes which promised to help teenagers “make great choices.” And a full page offer to meet some good looking guy pictured holding a red rose adorned page three. There’s that color again. “All first time guests on August 3 will be entered to win a chance to meet Sean Lowe,” the enticement read.
So . . . who paid for this mass mail out?
A church. Finally, at the bottom of the page, a church website took credit for the invitation. A church which, one parent pointed out, holds services for the time being in a nearby elementary school. That really creeped out one of my neighbors.
Boy, did my husband and I ever have a lot to talk about. We looked at this mailing from as many sides as possible, guessing at the misdirected intent behind its flashy form:
1.      Everyone has a sex drive. So people might have their curiosity piqued by the cover question. Yes—people of all ages with keys to the family mailbox.
2.      God created sex (the flyer confirms that). So if people need to learn about sex, they should attend church. Okay, well, that’s better than learning about it from the backseat of a car. But is that why people attend church? Sounds like a misleading way to lure visitors through the door. 

3.      Sex is no longer a three letter word. (Are there any three letter words?) It’s the plot and ploy for nearly every tv show, commercial, movie, music video and lyric that saturates our airwaves and overwhelms our living rooms. So why not discuss it in the noble framework where it was designed?  Because most parents still believe it’s their personal responsibility to explain this gift to their children—appropriately and privately.
Maybe this flyer should have been handed out to adult church members. At the very least they could have saved some postage. Maybe members could be trusted to invite a friend to attend the series—you know, personally, where a personal subject like this would be discussed. And maybe the people in charge of creating this flyer should not have assumed that unchurched adults are an easy target if the word “sex” is the lure.
Frankly, that’s where I think they missed the mark. Well, that and the Sean Lowe lottery. I’m still seeing red over that one.

2 comments:

  1. reaching the unchurched requires changing their mental picture of church...see the new book on this topic: "AMERICAN GOTHIC CHURCH: Changing the Way People See the Church." Available at Amazon and other online book retailers in softcover and ebook formats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Understanding that this is probably spam, I searched for the book mentioned above and found that Dr. Scott is its author. We may be on the same page - I won't know unless I read Dr. Scott's book - but my point in this blog was that my neighbors were offended by the flyer the church sent out. Obviously this particular church is out of touch with what its neighbors are seeking from a local church.

      Delete