A few days ago I wrote about the aggressive marketing campaign the producers of the movie Evan Almighty has targeted at churches. What still bothers me about this is that the film itself is decent enough to stand on its own merits. But they pushed hard, nonetheless, to try to recoup the $250million they dropped into production and marketing. Something must have worked, as it was the #1 movie last weekend, but I think the results were still a little disappointing. To keep the movie fresh in churches' minds they sent out an advertising email this week. I was privy to be a recipient and found some of it laughable. Here's the main part of the email:
If you didn't know, the producers took advantage of an idea that Steve Sjogren made popular among evangelical churches and encouraged random acts of kindness [actually, they reworked it to fit into the "ARK" acronym, calling them "acts of random kindness"]. Notice how they use this to push the movie:
If you haven't yet seen Evan Almighty, then do an act of random kindness for yourself and your congregation . . . go see Evan Almighty today!
Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder? What did they just say?
So in this new age of church/movie cross promotion we encourage good deeds: give out water bottles, feed the poor, visit the elderly, stuff like that. But an even greater act of kindness would be to go watch a movie. Incredibly selfless ministry. I've been ministering this way since I was but a lad [by this standard, I'd say watching Mr Wrong was akin to a missions trip]. As a Biblical scholar I can vouch that somewhere in the Scriptures a commandment reads, "Be ye kind: consumeth."
Also, if I plan on going to a movie after an email prompt, is it really "random"? Just wondering.
And how does this random act benefit my congregation? Does it help them to know that their pastor had the opportunity to go to the movies this week? Is there a correlation between my popcorn consumption and tithing?
I have yet to receive my random act of kindness reminder to go see the new Die Hard movie. Still I think I'll go.
Remember, I'm doing it for my church.