Philosophy Over Coffee has wondered about the effectiveness of the recent UCC commercials as well as the national campaign by the church called God is still speaking.
I don't have much thoughts on the recent ad but in terms of the campaign I think it can play a vital role. It may or may not attract many people, though giving folks an alternative religious vision and home has worked for many churches as long as the basics of building religious communities are held to.
But more than that, it's doing something which may seem at odd for congregationalists, and that's creating a national and distinct identity. I remember talking to a UCC college student about the gay marriage debate and he noted "that's what it means to be UCC".
I have my doubts that many members of the Disciples and other churches could say "that's what it means to be a member of my church", to have a sense of what defines us and why it's important. Others may have it, but mainline protestants as a whole don't.
A lot of the mainline have internalized the relativization of the tradition but now struggling with the "what do we do know", what is our message, the gospel, a hope for oneself and for the wider world which energizes mission and makes the church important.
And given the fact that such a message is not the dominant one, something that much of the mainline has not internalized, the efforts to highlight such a thing becomes all the more imperative. It is not sufficient, but this ad campaign is a step in that direction.
I'm headed off to a conference on Josiah Royce and I'll be delivering a paper on his view of original sin. And I've been active in in the prepartions for sending our students off to the Midwest Student Christian Gathering, a midwest mainline student conference. So I apologize for the sparse postings this last week or so.