Pie in the sky, by and by?

            That’s what Christianity offers, the skeptics claim. But for real pie in the sky look no further than advertising that has become so much a part of life we hardly notice its encroachment. It’s everywhere, at every turn, in every medium, all around us as an intimate part of our daily experience, like sunshine or rain or breathing.

Informational advertising is generally dull and inoffensive, but may be helpful. Consumer advertising, on the other hand, shapes our lives in ways we hardly comprehend, urging us to accept images of ideals created not by our own experience but by the commercial motivations of third parties. The power of this advertising doesn’t lie in the real fulfillment of its promises but in the relevance of its fantasies to those of the buyer. The essential application is not to reality but to daydreams, with a promise located always in an imaginary future that will satisfy our appetites or replace the dullness or the disappointment of the moment. The effect is mesmerizing because many of us can’t bear to live in the present: it’s too painful.

The promises of God are in stark contrast because of who He is and how He relates to us. Thousands of years ago when a man called Moses asked God for His name, the simple yet profound answer was, “I Am.” He is the God who lives always in the present. And it is our present that He wants to address, dealing not with daydreams but with reality, providing real healing and not fantasy Band Aids for our pain.

The only true power we have is the power of choice. We can choose reality or fantasy – advertising’s enticement to hold on tight to our dreams, or the ever-present tangible reality of God.

Edward Thal.