I’m almost done my project for year one in my D.Min. course. It’s been fun, but I’m excited about getting into the readings for the second residency starting next week. Part of year two’s focus is examining the ideas behind commercials and other advertisements. Images are powerful, and the ideas that are communicated are often accepted without being examined. Commercials succeed because they get you to accept an idea without evaluating it. Churches do the same thing. I could talk about the church marketing behind the mega projects and conferences that promise a transformed life in three easy steps. But some more conservative churches also present messages with questionable ideas behind them. Churches that talk about presenting the truth without compromise or apology, and who target under-discipled believers from other churches, are presenting or at least implying the idea that everyone else is selling out except for them. While theoretically possible, it is at least an unproven assertion and at worst a staggeringly proud and destructive lie. We can’t afford to be careless about our messages. If you make an assertion about yourself that implies others are deficient, or make an assertion about someone that paints them in a negative light, it’s only fair that you should have to make the case for the idea behind the message.