Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SoulWow: Problematic or Genius?

So in my morning travels around the internet newspaper sights of Minnesota I happened upon an article which pointed me to the SoulWow. It appears that the Roman Catholic Church of Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island got creative and created a "spoof" commercial based on the "ShamWow" commercials of infamy.

Here it is in all its glory:

Now, I have to admit I am struggling with this one. Is it a genius communication move to encourage followers to practice the sacrament of Confession? Is it problematic because in essence it leads to the commodification of the sacrament?

On the one hand, I applaud these Roman Catholic Churches for coming together and trying to think of a creative way to reach out to people. However, I have to ask at what cost? I find it problematic that the sacrament is changed into a commodity to be consumed. The message is this: We have product A. Product A can do this for you. Come and get/do/receive product A. Maybe it is my ultra-sensitivity to language and communication, but for me to use this mode of communication is to take something that is sacred ,and something that points to another way of being, and change it into nothing more than a product that needs to be consumed (albeit at a cost of nothing). Shouldn't the focus of the sacrament be on something other than the "benefits" that come from the "product" and if this is granted, then to use this avenue of communication is highly problematic.

For those of us who are protestant and might not struggle as much with it because of our understanding of confession (and not viewing it as a sacrament), how would you feel if this commercial were about the Sacrament of Holy Communion (Eucharist)? To me if this commercial isn't problematic, then why aren't we communicating to the world the "benefits" of consuming the Eucharist? I mean if it gets more people participating in the life of the church then that is a good thing right? (Please note my sarcasm)

Perhaps I am just ultra-sensitive to marketing, etc. I would love to hear what other people think?

***NOTE: Please do not attack the Roman Catholic Church in your responses. This post is not meant to be an attack on a certain part of the Body of Christ, but rather a reflective piece on an issue. For anyone who may be quick to criticize this incident, I would encourage you to think about your own denomination/situation and ways that "commodification" of church/faith occurs. We, Methodist, struggle with the same issue in my opinion when we "market" ourselves....but that is another post for another day. (Due note their is a difference between marketing-appealing to a consumer based mentality- and invitation)