Focus on the Family isn't the only Christian group making news over Super Bowl TV commercials. Mosaic, a Los Angeles-based church, is one of six finalists in Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl" challenge, a contest where three winners' ads will air during the Super Bowl.
Associated Press writer Gillian Flaccus reports that Mosaic's submission, titled "Casket," is a "lighthearted spoof that plays off the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Having seen it, that seems like a massive overstatement if not an outright misstatement (click here to see for yourself). No part of the ad concerns Jesus or his resurrection. What the commercial really does is play on the eons-old trope of "playing dead" (or playing sick, playing hurt, playing possum, etc.), then proclaiming "it's a miracle" when the jig is up. It's the same scenario we've seen on Seinfeld, Friends, and countless other sitcoms, and there's very little original (or, to be fair, offensive) about the church's entry.
But given that the ad makes no mention of God, Jesus, grace, forgiveness, or any other biblical concept, is there any point to Mosaic's participation? As pastor Erwin McManus freely admits to the Religion News Service, "We didn't sit there and go, 'How do we sneak our message into the commercial?' We actually asked the question, 'How do we create for Doritos the best commercial possible?'"
Does the church's involvement in the contest undermine its witness? Or is it simply a question of harmless fun? The ad may do nothing to advance the cause of Christ or even this particular church, but it's easy to imagine that the church members---many of them part of the filmmaking community---had a good time creating it.