Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wondercafe.ca and the Easy Answer Squirrel

I ran across an interesting article the other day and I thought I would share. The United Church of Canada (the largest Prodistant denomination in Canada) has launched a nation ad campaign, including magazines and television, to present themselves as a place of open-dialogue on a number of hot-button issues. The campaign is based around the launch of wondercafe.ca, a website for online discussion and where you can view both their print ads ( and EZ the Squirrel's TV Spot.

I post this because I am interested in people's response. Do you think this type of campaign will be effective? Are online forums a productive form of communication? How do you feel about open dialogue in the church on such topics as Sex, Gay Marriage and the Authority of the Bible?


If you're looking for my opinion, you can find it in the comments. But please check out the links before you do.

-Dave

5 comments:

JAnie & DAve said...

Here's my 2 cents.

I'm not sure whether this campaign will be effective, but I do appalaud their efforts. At least they're trying and are open to new ideas. (a interesting point: their website launched yesterday and crashed by noon due to a massive inflow of web traffic. Obviously someone took notice).

My experience of most Online forums is that they recieve such a wide range of comments (many of which are ineveitbly inflamitory and or off-topic) that they never seem to go anywhere or say anything useful.

Finally, I love the idea of open-dialogue, especially on issues that really affect the way people live. In a post-modern society where nothing is taken for granted "just because", this dialogue can be invaluable. However, I fear that if a church changes its policy (or even theology) based on popular opinon, that they won't really be a church for very long. This has long been my hesitation with the United Church of Canada, that they seem too eager to embrace everyone and everything, without stopping to think about the consequences. This may seem off-topic, but it reminds me of churches in our city that sponsor refugee families to immegrate into Canada. That seems like a nobel, Godly thing to do. But in many cases once the family is in Canada, the church leaves them on their own, unable to cope with the responsibility. In the end, are they really helping?

That's my 2 cents.
-Dave

Sue said...

Dave,

Very cool. interesting. i think it can be used for good and bad.

i think the website has potential for good discussion, however people may not find the truth there.

on the positive side: it may (hopefully) lead christians to be better read in global, social, political happenings, and not just give blanket-bible answers for things we don't understand, etc. (i speak from my own experience, for example, global warming - i really don't know a lot about it.)

on the negative side, the United church is definately known for accepting too many unbiblical, untrue concepts and ideologies (the goddess sophia???) --thus, this may just be a breeding ground of more complacent, ecumenical, 'believe whatever is good for you', postmodern thinking in the church. (as if we need help with that, being so prevelant anyway.)

ANyway, my 'two cents' may be more like one and a bit, ha. But i truly believe that as Christians we should be able to (in wisdom and humility) turn any conversation to God; whether social, political, environmental, pyscological, etc. For God is the creator of all things, therefore whatever we study, learn, and know comes from Him and has a part of Him. (not in the animistic way of thinking!haha) (Col. 1:15-20, proverbs 1:7, 1peter 3:15)

take care folks. thanks for the dandy discussion!!

-sue

JAnie & DAve said...

I am just checking out the website right now and these are the first feelings and thoughts i get from being there:
1. i couldn't tell that it was a Christian site at first glance, in that the 'importance' of my salvation wasn't shoved down my throat. Rather, i had a moment to think about the 'living it out in the real world, with real situations.'
2. i love that it is all about talking and discussing. Whether people are discussing lies or truth it is talk, and people can't find the truth (however it does come to them) without first telling someone what they do think.
3. It's not about being right or wrong, it is about listening, it is deeper than "Do you believe in Jesus" It is "Who are you, what do you think, we want to listen, God wants to listen"
4. It's funny and i want to explore there a bit.

I think the diffucult thing, as sue and dave were sorta pointing towards, is that there is no bottom line (and i don't just mean with the united church.. as we know just because a church carries an affiliation it doesn't necessarily fit an exact mold.. they do differ among their own kind) there is no final say about what the bible (or at least someone's interpretation of the bible) does have to say in a forum setting. It will be neat to watch what happens.

I really like their add campaign because it pushes buttons and helps people to think beyond that which they have been socialized into. I especially like the Jesus at the mall one!

Hope you do/did check it out. I am off to bed now, to dream my crazy dreams.
Janie

bre said...

i think its great, and i am a bit sad that you beat me to a wondercafe blog posting. but i forgive you.

i am a huge fan of this. especially of the print and tv ads. very provoking, and very open to discussion, which is great. i do agree with dave that online forums are often useless becuase there seems to be too much talking and not enough listening. But the fact that this forum exists at all is very comforting and gives me hope.

I like the United Church. I can understand why they do things and where they come from. I think one of their strengths is in being open that they do not have all of teh answers, and continually talk about and explore issues with everybody. I know the dangers of this approach, and am a bit uncomfertable with the flow of theology as i understand it with the United Church. But I do respect them. And I do not respect how much attacks they have been under by other Christian congregations and denominations. A pastor of mine once said that he wouldn't think of stealing people from other churches for his congregation (which he ended up doing anyway, but that's just me being contentious again), except for those from the united church because he thought they were so off that he wouldn't consider them Christian.

Basically, my points are.
1) squirrels and dialogue are great, and even better together, and the print ads rock (sorry for bad english poo poo)
2) I respect the United Church-ians. Did I mention they lead many of the Christian social justice causes? Rock on, United friends.
3) Let's give them a chance. There is much that we can learn from them, as I am sure they can learn from us, which I think is the point of this forum.
4) blue icing is awesome.

Sue said...

wow. problem with forum.

I believe in open discussion. i believe the Bible speaks PLAINLY about issues of life that we experience every day, thus leading us to openly discuss them with each other. This is difficult, but we have the HOly SPirit and the Bible to rely on, not just our opinions. i believe we are called to live righteous lives, different than our 'neighbors' yet with our neighbors. Seems pretty practical and common sensical, right?

I have spent time reading many of the discussions this morning, and have come to my own foolish-narrowminded conclusion:

To speak openly on this site one must hold a wide view of 'truth' and not adhere to Biblical truth--or watch out someone will spank you. haha. (This is FINE if it is simply a place to discuss and hear opinions, yet,a GOd-fearing establishment should hold to Biblical principles more than to man's opinion)

honestly. the people posting scripture, speaking practically about what God has told us is right and wrong-- were shunned, told off, and reprimanded. or gently spanked by those with sappy smiling faces saying "thats' great for you to believe, but god led me to interpret such-and-such".

i wanted to cry, weep, puke.

THere were good words spoken, but those that were Blind to the truth in GOd's word were not learning from them. INstead they were angry, fighting, yelling at them. (in good old computer yelling fashion)

opinion is all that will be heard. sadly. it reminds me of Athens. Acts 17:16-32, all that the people wanted to do was talk and listen to the latest ideas and opinions. Paul spoke clearly to them the entire gospel, and they didn't take notice of the freedom before them. instead, they wanted to talk more.

talk is good.
Truth is better.

Thoughts? opinions?