Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Those Pepsi Ads

“Bawal lang kung mahuli.” (In English, “It’s only wrong if you’re caught.”)

Yes, that’s what we read in Pepsi billboards nowadays. Another one goes like this, “Better sorry than safe.” (Thanks to Bro. Danny Ching for pointing this out in his blog, “Danny’s Little Corner,” at http://dlccorps.multiply.com/journal.) These ads are specifically targeting our youth. Parents, that’s my kids and your kids. Of course, the people behind these ads can always claim it depends on one’s interpretations. That the only message they are trying to convey is that we are to live to the fullest.

Therein lies the problem. The ads are prone to misinterpretation.
I challenge the copywriter to take those ads and conduct an objective survey. Let’s see if those reading it would say they understood it to mean, “Live life to the fullest.” Keep in mind a communication rule: “Don’t just aim to be understood. Seek not to be misunderstood.” I know that the reason why the company came up with radical ads is to seize our attention. In fact, the more controversial, the better. Negative publicity is, after all, still publicity.

So, I would not cry out for a boycott for now. Instead, I would first appeal to Pepsi executives’ sense of responsibility.
Let us imagine that their son got caught cheating in school. Would he be off the hook if he claims that cheating wasn’t really wrong and it only became wrong because he got caught? Or, let us say their teenage daughter not only got pregnant but also infected with HIV-AIDS. Would they accept it if she said, “Better sorry than safe”? (Of course, I still go for waiting until marriage. It’s just an argument.) But, hopefully, pointing out the logical end of these illogical ads would knock some sense in their heads.

More importantly, this underscores the need for us parents to help our children filter the messages that are bombarding them through TV, radio and print. Let us teach them not only what to think but how to think through these messages. The best way to do that is to teach them the Word of God through our words and works (Deuteronomy 6:1-9).

Brethren, let us equip our children to be discerning.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not Just A Fresh Start

Ian Usher, a 44-year-old British immigrant to Australia, wanted a fresh start in life.

He desperately wanted it that he is auctioning off his entire life for around Australian $420,000 (or, more than 16 million pesos)! The winning bidder will get his three-bedroom house in Perth plus everything in it including his car, motorcycle, Jet Ski and parachuting gear. The buyer will also receive a one -time introduction to Usher’s friends and a two-week trial run at his job as a shop assistant in a rug store (which can later on turn into a permanent job). Usher decided to sell his life due to a very painful breakup with his wife of five year. “Everything that I have all has memories attached to it. It’s time to shed the old, and in with the new. He will close the bidding on June 22. Usher wrote, “On the day it’s all sold and settled, I intend to walk out of my front door with my wallet in one pocket and my passport in the other, nothing else at all. I would then head to the airport, take the next flight with an available seat and see where life takes me from there. (Source: http://inquirer.net/)

We don’t have to auction off our lives just to have a fresh start. Our Lord Jesus died and rose again from the dead not just to give us a fresh start in life but, so much more, a new life indeed! Romans 6:4-5 says, “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. (NLT) The baptism referred to here is the baptism in the Spirit, not water. When we received our Risen Savior, we received that baptism. We became one with Christ. His resurrection power is our power for a new life. That’s why Paul prayed that we would “understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 1:19-20)

Brethren, as one hymn goes, “Life is worth the living just because He lives!”

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mea Culpa

Thanks to televised Senate hearings, our list of expressions has been enriched with phrases such as “Back off!” and “Moderate their greed.” When confronted with his own shenanigans, the star witness cried out, “Mea culpa.”
Image source: Streams of Living Water
“Mea culpa” is Latin for “my fault.” According to Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia, “[It] is not simply a confession of sins, but rather an admission of one’s flawed nature and the willingness to make amends for it.”

We read a similar “mea culpa” in Luke 19. When Jesus went to Jericho, Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, “wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.” (Verses 3-4, NIV) During those times, people hate tax collectors. They did not apply for the position. They bought it. But Rome did not offer salaries. They just asked the tax collectors to remit a certain amount to the empire coffers and they were free to keep whatever they imposed over and above. The system itself bred corruption. Imagine if you are the chief of these tax collectors. That was Zacchaeus’ position. The Bible even pointed out that he “was wealthy.” (Verse 2) Filthy rich would be an apt description. So people hate him more. Thus, he got the surprise of his life when Jesus invited Himself to his house: “I must stay at your house today.” (Verse 5)

Image source: Holy Ordinary
Then he said his “mea culpa” in verse 8: “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Not only did he admit his shortcomings, but also he made amends. That’s a true “mea culpa.” It is not just mouthing, “I am sorry” or “My bad.” It is acting on our repentance. That is something that not only people in government but also everyone in the country need to learn. 
Image source: UrbanSpiritual
We are assured of forgiveness if we do so. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

My take? Have you ever said your “mea culpa?”