There are geniuses (genii??) in adland. They have their finger on the pulse far more than most, and certainly far more than most Christians. I have to say that I’m in awe a lot of the time when its good and/or clever. It was certainly a genius who came up with these. The secpmd (as i understand it) is a UK derivation of the US original – which appeared in San Francisco and New York (ie far enough apart to prevent rats being smelled too quickly). The US version plugged a CourtTV programme; the UK version plugged MySpace. The latter was particularly clever, appearing in central Birmingham, because it generated huge amounts of chatter (on local and national radio, newspapers (incl Daily Mail)) and above all caused people to check out the ‘Jane’s Revenge’ MySpace page. I did! And you can too – Jane’s Revenge.
The thing is – and this is what really struck me about these ads – they are clever not just because they are creative but because they really do tap into the zeitgeist (hmm, i always feel that its good to throw in the odd German word to lend credibility – which is a bit of a problem because i don’t know many). Marital infidelity (wow, that sounds like an old-fashioned phrase when put like that, doesn’t it?) is SO common that it is just an accepted part of the landscape. But that means so are the casualties – while Jane, Mark & Shelley (and Steven & Emily) are figments of an imaginative brain, they are nevertheless all too familiar and recognizable. And that is why i, along with countless others, was taken in for a time. While extreme perhaps, “Jane’s” behaviour didn’t seem entirely implausible. She might not have been real – but the feelings of rage, humiliation and agony are for far too many.
And I came across all this while preparing for last Sunday’s sermon on Hosea, that poor OT prophet who had to live out an extraordinary living parable through his own marriage. And while the feelings of humiliation and rage that God feels about the people who’ve forsaken him are similarly understandable (a fact that many people today simply dismiss unthinkingly), the MORE astonishing thing is the contrast that his attitude has with that of the Janes of this world. I’ll quote from both to see it most clearly.
First from the Jane’s Revenge MySpace entry:
Don’t bother phoning, don’t bother calling around, as far as I am concerned neither of you exist! TO ANYONE WHO HAS EVER GONE THROUGH BEING LIED TO AND CHEATED ON… They say revenge is sweet, it doesn’t feel sweet; but it feels great to no longer be the little paranoid women at home, and finally be able to take control of my own life again…
And then a few weeks later, “Jane” added:
To all you who have sent kind words – thank you. Life is going on… (as you said it would)… I have not even entertained the thought of taking him back… I am a strong woman… and myself and the children are just living our lives the best we can!
Clever isn’t it?! This advertising comes supplied with all mod cons (including bad grammar and spelling but visceral emotions and pain). But notice the words highlighted: not even entertained the thought… And who can blame her?
Now contrast this with what God says to his two-timing and multi-timing people:
I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewellery and went after her lovers, but me she forgot, declares the Lord. Therefore…
well, Therefore what? Legal Separation? Annulment? Divorce? No.
Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:13-14
These two verses are the hinge of the whole passage and of God’s relationship with his people – for quite simply, and unbelievably, he does not give the unfaithful what they deserve. On the contrary, he woos them back and takes them back to the place of their first date (the desert was where he supplied ALL their needs after the Exodus). That is a picture of his AMAZING grace if ever there was one. Thank God he’s not like Jane or Emily… or me.
If you want to hear more you can download the whole sermon