First of all, let me apologize for having been AWOL for a couple of weeks now. My life has been uprooted as my wife and I (and our cat of course) have moved up (very) north to teach in a small but beautiful village in Quebec. Things are beginning to settle so I’ll be getting back to posting and joining the conversations.
The week of our move I was sitting in traffic after a big day of shopping for extreme cold weather gear and dry goods when I peered over at a bus a couple of cars ahead to read the advertisement on the back to pass the time. However, it wasn’t so much an advertisement that I saw but instead a question – “Are you saved?” Saved from what,? This traffic? If that was the question then the answer was an emphatic “NO!”
Unfortunately despite my kidding around I knew right away what I was reading – a fundamentalist Christian bus campaign. At first I was quite ticked off and if I had to guess I’m sure I barked a couple things at the bus which no doubt would have looked pretty amusing to any of my fellow traffic sitters. But after giving myself a moment to be upset I quickly remembered that anyone who wants to buy some space on the side of a bus is allowed to because freedom of speech and expression is a beautiful thing. I put aside the fact that the CFI bus campaign was trying to get people to think and enjoy life and this campaign is clearly trying to frighten people into believing a certain doctrine. While beautiful, free speech is really frustrating sometimes.
But I digress. Reading on, the bus “advertisement” had a quote from Timothy (2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth) and a website – AreYouSaved.com, which really excited me because that meant I had homework but it also made the traffic even more frustrating.
My first issue with the website is that it has a tagline that reads “Are you saved or are you lost?” I am not an English major but lost is not the opposite of saved. “Are you saved or are you abandoned?” would have made more sense although then the website would be implying that Jesus abandons people and well I think we all know that is just an absurd notion. And I imagine that “Are you lost or are you found?” would not have worked either because then it’s like our souls are on the same level as mittens in a cardboard box at an elementary school. (And let me tell you with the cold weather coming in this village mittens will come much more in handy than a soul will!)
The “about us” section of AreYouSaved.com says:
We are a group of believers that seek to spread the good news of salvation throughout our communities. We pray that through our efforts, individuals will see their need of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and come to know Him as their Savior.
Our meetings and classes are orderly, and held with utmost respect and reverence for our Lord. No collections will ever be taken at our meetings.
I didn’t realize that I had a “need of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ” so right away this website proved to be very helpful. It’s funny too as I was reading the second paragraph I was enjoying the “utmost respect and reverence…” because I thought it was going to be followed by “your beliefs” or “your thoughts” or even maybe “you and your family” but no. I can be so naïve sometimes.
The website has plenty of links and audio for you to learn all about how you can be saved and ensure that you spend eternity with Jesus and the gang in heaven. Most of it is what you would expect to read from a website called “Are You Saved?” – bible quotes (and quotes from religious people still living), links to other websites that have a doctrine to push (the same doctrine of course), and information about the church that leads this “Are You Saved?” movement – and this is where things get interesting.
I assumed of course that AreYouSaved.com was a Canadian website led by a Canadian church or church group because I was in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia when I saw the bus advertisement. However, it turns out that the church that paid for this advertisement in Dartmouth is actually based in Jackson, Michigan. I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was. From the “location” link:
If you would like to hear how you can be saved and know for sure that you will be in heaven for all eternity, please come to the Jackson Gospel Hall Gospel. We are located at 910 Bennett Street in Jackson Michigan.
But to be honest while I was surprised that a church in Jackson, Michigan had paid for bus ads in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia I was also somewhat relieved that the website and campaign are not Canadian led. I have emailed the church to see if there is a Canadian affiliation or partnership as that would make the ads being in Nova Scotia more logical. But honestly I’m really hoping there isn’t.
Has anyone seen these bus ads anywhere else?