Thinking Out Loud

August 9, 2011

What Saltiness Looks Like

Filed under: evangelism — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:04 am

Several years ago, the little Christian bookstore where I work took out an advertisement in what can only be called a “fringe” publication.  Recently, I felt it was time to go back another time. Our ad appears on a page with three psychics.  It simply states:

In a world that offers many spiritual options…Consider a classic

Then the name of the store appears underneath.  It probably will not pay for itself in terms of bringing in customers.  It’s there more to stand in contrast to the psychics, the Reiki healers, the yoga classes, the course in Shamanism and the person who does ear coning, whatever that is.

There isn’t a little fish symbol in the bottom right corner, or a cross in the background gradient that makes up this small simple black-and-white advertisement.  It’s designed not to offend, but to simply be a Christian presence in a place where a Christian voice would be rather unexpected.

Of course, I realize that when I pay the bill, I am directly funding a publication which has much content with which I would disagree.  But I feel this is essentially what it means to be salt and light. 

This fall we want to — if we can get the funding — do an advertisement in a local newspaper promoting the idea of a “Spiritual Homecoming.”  Not in the sense of Bill and Gloria Gaither’s Homecoming DVDs (shudder!), but in the sense of returning to the spiritual roots of one’s childhood.  For a few people, those roots may not resonate with my own Evangelical roots, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take.

…We’re also consider adapting our Sudoku flyer as a newspaper advertisement.  You can read some sample copy of that in this February, 2009 story.

October 16, 2010

Canada’s Largest Newspaper Doubles Horoscope Space Allotment

The Toronto Star, the largest circulation newspaper in Canada has upped its commitment to readers of the daily horoscope to just under a half page.    That’s right, a half page of editorial (as opposed to paid advertising) space for people who believe that the day of your birth dictates the path of your life.  And all this at a time when other ‘religious’ space allocations are being cut.  (The paper once published over two pages of “church” copy and advertising each weekend, and then priced it so high that churches could no longer afford to advertise.)

Can you imagine the outcry if the paper printed a half page of Bible promises?   Or wisdom from the book of Proverbs?   Or how about a half page each day from various Evangelical pastors on knowing God’s will for your life?   (With the pastors receiving payment for so doing, as writer Jonathan Cainer undoubtedly does.)

This isn’t the first time this has been mentioned here, however; so I want to simply reiterate what I wrote in March of this year…

Their followers maintain religious devotion to their every pronouncement. Their right to millions of dollars of free newspaper space around the world is never questioned, in fact many of those papers pay them for inclusion in their print and online editions.

These same media outlets are very cautious about granting space of any kind to Jewish, Christian or Muslim faith groups because that would be “sectarian” and they don’t want to be seen as promoting this or that religion. So why is an exception made for this one group?

They, of course are astrologers and their daily encyclical is usually called “Your horoscope.” Their belief system is secularized predestination — Calvinists, take note — believing that our lives are guided by the stars, in various ways, depending on the star (or Zodiac) sign in place at our time of birth.

My usual tongue-in-cheek reply to this is, “I don’t believe in astrology, but then again, we Geminis are natural skeptical.”

Kidding aside, why does one faith group get preferential treatment? And how can any media outlet turn down any request from any religious group when they already grant one unfettered access to their readers?

Comments: This is a piece about press discrimination or media favoritism. Comments as to the merits of astrology will be deleted.

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