If you’re a long-time reader of the blog, you know that I put way more stock into Super Bowl commercials than I should.  (Read last year’s rant here.)  But this past Sunday I recognized something else: the ads have lost their soul.

Very few advertisers left me with the feeling that they believed in what they were selling.  It was more about the glitz, the humor, the shock factor, or any other number of things.  But it wasn’t about the product.  And in the end, many of us overlooked what should have taken center stage.

Case in point: Charles Barkley can’t rap.  But the rap in question was creative.  The background and set design was creative.   And when it was over, my wife said, “That’s a good deal.”

“What’s a good deal?”

“That Taco Bell $5 box.  That’s a pretty good deal.”

“That was a Taco Bell commercial?!?”

You see, I missed it.  I missed the point of the commercial because I was lost in the misguided rapping talent and Suess-like writing.  (To be fair and balanced, I thought the Google ad was spot-on.)

Churches can be guilty of that, as well.  We can get so caught up in our own hype, our flashy music, our latest creatively-packaged series, or our creature comforts, that we lose the proverbial “product” amidst the “sales pitch.”  We’re not in the coffee bar business or the worship band business.  Jesus is the centerpiece of why we exist.  And when we lose Jesus, we are – as Paul says – a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

Or, as I would add, a rapping Barkley.