Having watched the Super Bowl recently, I was interested in the popular cultural fascination with the famed and very expensive Super Bowl commercials.  I asked my class on Monday morning what they thought of the commercials.  They in general were not too impressed, but they did mention that they liked the Doritos ads the best.

They explained that the reason they liked them was because they were funny.  I attempted to probe deeper into what they believed the message Doritos was promoting.  They really had not thought in anyway about that.  We reflected over the two commercials.  One had an elderly grandmother in a wheelchair being taunted by her grandson in a tree house with a bag of Doritos.  She chose to slingshot her youngest grandchild in his jumping seat to the tree house and he snatched the bag of Doritos.  The second was a Great Dane who was bribing a man not to tell on the dogs killing of the cat with bags of Doritos.  So what’s the message?

I suggested to the class that the statement is about value.  Doritos are valuable enough to risk a child’s safety and more valuable than money when it comes to bribing.     Doritos goal is to get a shopper going down the chip aisle willing to pass up the Lays and Pringles and even pay more because of perceived value.  They responded that they have never thought that deeply about things on TV.

My greater concern is not the value of Doritos or the entertainment value of creative commercials, but that we fail to filter the messages of television.  We tend to turn off all critical thinking and just buy the TV message hook, line, and sinker.  This causes us to become willing victims of our great marketing machine.  Our inability to discern is a great danger.

As Christians, we need to filter every message through the lens of scripture and the values of Christ.  Isn’t that what Christian means?  Jesus consistently raises these value issues whether in parables about the value of the kingdom of God or challenges to the religious establishment regarding traditions of men versus God’s eternal teaching and values.

Values are a statement of worth.  The old English used the word “worthship” to express value.  We have since contracted the word to “worship”.  What we value is what we worship.  So be discerning when you engage culture, it’s an expression of your worship!

Tom Reynolds