Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Jesus Loves Osama" meets 1961

The "Jesus Loves Osama" poster campaign has received a lot media attention recently. The hype has gotten everyone talking ... How could Jesus possibly love Osama bin Laden?!!

But has anyone actually come to a saving faith in Christ as a result of seeing one of these signs? Who knows. If it's anything like the Gospel Blimp ... probably not.

This film produced in 1961 follows the story of a group of friends who brainstormed one evening how they could share the Gospel with their unbelieving neighbors. Take for instance, George's neighbor ... look at him over there! He's obviously not a Christian! He's drinking beer! ... everyone tutt-tutts and shakes their heads solemnly. And then a brilliant idea comes to one of the fellas ... Why not get a blimp that trails along a Bible verse in the back?!! Oh, and let's wrap up Bible verses in cellophane and drop them on people from the blimp (gospel bombs).

yeh ... brilliant ...

But their plans failed miserably. Their neighbors came to despise the blimp. They mocked it and everyone involved.

In the end, George resigns from International Gospel Blimp, Inc. and decides to spend time with his neighbor instead. George's wife goes to visit his neighbor's wife in the hospital and helps her with the cleaning around the house as she recovers. It is through their growing friendship that George finally is able to speak the truth of the Gospel in love with his neighbors.

(gasp!) without the help of the Gospel Blimp?!

But surely the slogans floating in the wind were effective. "REPENT" or "ALL HAVE SINNED" or "LOOK UP AND LIVE".

What about when you drive along the road today and you see billboards sponsored by local churches that read "JESUS IS LORD" or the last half of the 10 Commandments. Surely, that's mighty enough to convict a poor lost sinner, reducing him to tears of remorse, causing him to pull over and beg God for His redeeming grace. (Dr. Payne, professor of Church Planting shares some poignant thoughts on this phenomenon.)

Do I sound oh so cynical?

Indeed, I am. I am cynical about individuals or churches that neglect their personal responsibility to live and speak the message of reconciliation to God by depending on gimmicks to do the job for them.

I'm actually a fan of the "Jesus Loves Osama" poster. It has been worded in such a way that sparks conversation, giving believers the opportunity to answer questions about Christ or share what Christ's love has done for them.

But the poster itself isn't enough to do the job.

(I dare you to watch video clip of the Gospel Blimp by clicking here and then clicking on the link on the right.)


Laura said...

Man, The Gospel Blimp is a classic! I wish I had seen it in high school -- it's so funny, yet it sort of hurts to laugh at their stupidity, because it's our stupidity too: devising programs instead of reaching out to the people the Lord has put in our lives.

Ruth said...

We have a copy of the book,'The Gospel Blimp' - and how weird is this - it's the second time I've heard it mentioned this week!!! Random!