November 30, 2004

[iGod]…Via Karen Ward who asks, “crass in some ways, but what is this saying to us about christ and culture?”

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

17 responses to iGod

  1. Hey, I think the iPod ad is the best ad campaign ever made. If churches got over themselves and advertised like this, maybe people would think thatthey weren’t so… churchy and start to go. Maybe iGod is what you guys need!

  2. Bothers me.
    What’s next, a rendering of Martin Luther King Jr. in his casket, with an iPod around his neck?

  3. I agree with Birgit, I don’t feel comfortable with it.
    It would be interesting to find out who created it, and what their intentions were, though.

  4. So, and I don’t mean to at all be rude or step on anyone’s toes, but is it the advertising aspect itself or the iPod in his hand that is the problem? I am genuinly curious…
    I think the iPod is over the top, but the fact that they could think of this image in an advertising sense is very interesting to me. I mean think about it – you have your traditional “swtitch” campaign, which Christians have been trying to do forever, and then of course the iPod ads inspire the thought that everyone can have one and that you will have fun if you have one. Don’t you guys think that about God? Isn;t the point of not being Catholic that everyone can talk to God and that he makes your life better?
    Like I said, I don’t think the iPod in the hand is appropriate, but the ad itself is genuis.
    Sorry if anyone took offense, I really am just curious if you guys would disagree with it when put my way….

  5. Hmm..To me it’s saying that Christ is penetrating todays world of fleeting technology! 😀
    I’ve recently seen a mild ad too, with the scene of Christ knocking on a wooden door, and a dialogue that went:
    CHRIST: Knock, Knock!
    PERSON: Who’s there?
    CHRIST: It’s me, Jesus LOL.
    *shrug* little do these creators realize, but I think that could actually plant a subliminal message! The Spirit works in wondrous ways, I’ll say.
    You just never know.

  6. It’s crass, commercial, capatalistic consumerism at its worst, but if it gets people to think…? To question what is Holy, what is profane?

  7. Hi Noelle,
    What is a “swtitch” campaign? To me the inappropriate aspect was the iPod. Jesus on the cross was suffering and dying, and I don’t see the humor/point in him listening to an iPod. I mean, when you’re struggling for every breath, you’re not really having “fun”, are you?
    Of course, knowing God is something that is available to everyone, and it can be a lot of fun, but is this the best way to communicate that?
    Strangely, though, it’s not that the image makes me mad, or that I’m really concerned about it. My first response was just “hmm.”
    I guess I just don’t see the point of the whole thing.
    You comments were not offensive in any way, by the way. You have a valid question.

  8. After much thought…
    If it were my mother…offensive.
    If it were my father…offensive.
    If it were my brother…offensive.
    If it were my best friend…offensive.
    And if it’s my God? I’d have to go with offensive. Not bitterly upset. Just offended. Because that image to me (and millions more) is a sacred one that, regardless of how original, is over the line. Is it in mean-spirit? I would say not. I assume it’s meant as a gimmick and nothing more. But that in and of itself isn’t license for ‘anything goes’.
    However, it’s a free country and it doesn’t offend millions of other people, so who am I? No one of importance. Plus, I can’t speak for Jesus anyway. But it’s fair to allow people in my position to feel somewhat jaded at a thoughtless example of creativity (which is what that is) if we choose to do so…just as much as it’s fair to allow others to say it’s “genius”, to quote someone above.
    My take. By the way, iPods are awesome.

  9. Wow, I touched a nerve!
    The “switch” campaign was a brilliant series of ads; you can see them here.
    Karen has some interesting thoughts in her original posting; check ’em out.
    Noelle, I dig your questions! Synchronicity: I have been devoting a lot of time lately to thinking about brand marketing for our church.
    So, to be totally offensive: What is Jesus listening to? The Monty Python response is “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” complete with carefree whistling. Another possibility is “Chop Suey” by System of a Down (iTunes entry).

  10. Noelle, what is offensive to me is the context.
    If we had a picture of Jesus and his disciples, merrily bopping along the road to Jerusalem to the tunes emerging from the iPods around their necks, fine.
    To take the image of a man dying a gruesome, painful death, and use it to make some sort of flippant pop culture statement, that bothers me. (and yes, it is the iPod that does it, without it, you just have a Warhol-ish image, and no problem.)
    As far as PR – making God accessible is a good thing, but it needs to be done without cheapening the sacred. I really have very little idea how to put what I am thinking into words, sorry about that.

  11. Hm, thanks for the responses.
    Again with the “I’m not trying to offend anyone”, but here’s some more of what I think.
    Personally, I am fundamentally bothered by the image of Christ on the cross to begin with.
    I know, I’m supposed to be.
    Honestly though, I wish it wasn’t everywhere I looked. While I am not Christian, I am human, and that suffering is truely horrible to look at. It’s not something I want to see. It makes me upset on a human level the same way that war and the holocaust does. For those of us who aren’t Christian, it is like putting images of war victims up everywhere, on the sides of buildings, on moutain tops, and in ads. I certainly don’t want to see that while I am eating, and yet I have to. It’s pushed on those of us who are upset by it on just a human decency level by churches every day.
    It’s one of the reasons I am no longer Catholic – that image makes me want to throw up, in a good way, in a “NO ONE should ever have to go through that” way. I hate looking at it. It makes me cry at the same level as pictures of children starving in Africa do, but no one ever considers that maybe those of us who don’t revere it actually take offense to it’s presence. The church seems to want to slap it up everywhere.
    While I would think that the iPod in the hand is a bit offensive, maybe people are trying to lighten up a really horrible image that is pushed constantly on us – make it less upsetting.
    Just food for thought.

  12. Noelle, I am just about on the same page with you there. I hate looking at it too. It is horrible.
    I am in and around churches all the time, and honestly, I don’t see the image of Christ on a cross very much (outside of Catholic churches, and now that the “Passion” posters have come down ;-).
    With the Bay Area fundamentally less churched than Idaho, do you?
    Mostly, it is plain crosses.
    The image of a plain cross is not the same thing for me – the difference between a picture of a grenade, or the picture of someone with a leg torn off after one exploded.
    Your last sentence defines an answer for me – I think there are things that shouldn’t be lightened up. The way 9/11 jokes upset me is about the same way this upsets me, in a way. I think that is what I was trying to get at with my MLK Jr. line.

  13. Adding – I just sort of assumed you are in the Bay Area, if you are not, ignore that line 🙂

  14. I think the cross is a great reminder of what Christ went through in the name love. I personally feel that we’re not intended to forever remember God that way. He wants us to know that He is alive, and doing great, and has glorious things in store for us.
    That iGod image—though naturally offensive because of its true depiction — did not hit me that way.
    I saw it as Christ listening to the most beautiful sound in the world..The voices of people He died for, who He knew He would bring by His side in the end.
    That’s what I think He was listening to.
    I’m strange in a way that I think people should stop dwelling on the horrors of that day, and instead live in the knowledge of the resurrection and the perfect gift. After all, it was Christ who said “It Is Done”. 🙂

  15. LOL, what’s the big deal about all this? Jesus is an online fad, you’ll see all sorts of humorous pics about Jesus in the dark corners of the net. IMO being joke material is more useful than what the church makes off the guy in the stick, so who gives a damn?
    (By the way, what’s with the “Your comment has not been posted because we think it might be comment spam”? It’s not like I’m selling viagra or anything.)

  16. Matthew Fairbanks September 17, 2005 at 8:36 pm

    Hey To me this is a bit deffencive. For one Churchs around America are trying to reach out in a modern worship, and youth rally’s. Alot of churchs are trying, yes there is some who aren’t but thats only a few. I would rather offer them a website like http://www.gotlife.com to them. Of course what does it matter It;s just me a Christian, and true you have freedom of religion aslong as your not a christian. We are having our rights stripped away from us daily. Off course who cares along as the Atheist in my school isn’t offend by my belief. Well thats just my though check out gotlife.com And God Bless

  17. Matthew Fairbanks September 17, 2005 at 8:44 pm

    Dear Noelle,
    You know God loves you, I understand that you may not like the idea off Christ sufferings. But remember Christ died for you Noelle, and for me, and for Bridgit too. And you must remeber that, think of how you feel when you see the picture of Christ suffering on the cross, what do you think, it makes you said or something offestly because you put in that Ipod to help cover it up. Well remeber that the pain felt a lot worst then it looked. And Christ could have commanded 10,000 angels to come take him off of that cross, but he didn’t because he loved us so much. Think on that, you can E-mail me if you have anymor opinions or question I would be glad to answer. God Bless