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Friday, October 07, 2005

Something Fishy Going On Here...

... okay, that was really, really bad. Then again, so is what this church is doing.
The First Assembly of God Church has a Fear Factor ministry that had youths swallowing live goldfish — if they were up to it. The church's youth minister says it teaches children about fear, but a grandparent questioned it and a pet shop owner called it animal cruelty.

"Fear Factor" is a reality TV show in which contestants compete by participating in dangerous activities or by eating stomach-turning foods for cash prizes.

"We need to be realistic about what the Bible says about fear and not be afraid to share our faith in school," youth minister Anthony Martin told the TimesDaily in a story Thursday. "We can't let that fear rule our lives."
Well, that's true. We can't let fear rule us. And I understand their theory. Appeal to the youth by embracing parts of their culture. The church I go to does that, to a certain extent. We use secular music and movie clips and stuff like that to draw people's attention. And it can work.

But, I have problems with this on several levels. First, they chose a not-so-good part of our culture to embrace. Using "reality" television is risky. The people on this show are doing stupid things for money. Oh, yeah... that's a good thing to hold up to kids as something to aspire to. (Yeah... I know... it's all in fun, no ones getting hurt - except the fish, and they're talking about a different fear... blah... blah... blah... ).

Second, they're swallowing live goldfish, for goodness sake. Yeah... I know it was a fad a while back (I am so happy I missed that one). Just because my aunt and uncle's friends did it doesn't mean that it's right. I'm not real happy with killing goldfish to spread the Gospel. That just doesn't sound... right.

Third, they say there's no peer pressure, and the kids don't have to participate. BUT... they can't advance in the competition unless they go through with it. That's just not right.

I do have a solution to their little problem. When I was a kid, I had a t-shirt that said, "What? You've never swallowed a Goldfish?" It was an ad campaign for the new (at the time) Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers. They could make the kids think they were going to swallow real ones (have a fish bowl of them or something), but give them the crackers instead.

Just sayin'...

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