I was originally going to call this post "Cheap Trick", but this title strikes me as a little more clever. And it's because that's what underlies the cheap trick we are going to discuss today, so stick with me.
This is a reproduction of a $20:
For the federal agents reading, it's at a low enough resolution that nobody's going to make any passable copies of it, so call off the hounds. But it looks like a $20 thanks to my handy HP scanjet 3500c and photoshop, much like the pyro'd up $20 looks, well, like all the graphics around here look.
And everybody likes a $20 bill, right? I mean, nobody in his right mind, if he was walking down the street, and there was a $20 laying there, wouldn't stop and pick it up. And if you're a food service worker -- that is, part of the wait staff -- and you got a $20 for a tip, you'd be pretty jazzed up.
$20 is a decent piece of cash.
Now look at this:
It sort looks like a $20, doesn't it? I mean, you're expecting a cheap trick at this point, so right away you recognize that it's not really $20 but about 3/4th the right size and it has some design challenges on the short side. But if this was wedged under a plate at a restaurant, or maybe sticking out of a book at Barnes & Nobles, you'd think for a second that it was your lucky day. $20 just sitting there -- until you pulled it out.
See -- it went from being $20 to being a CHEAP TRICK is about 2.4 seconds, and maybe it's good for a laugh.
But what happens when somebody picks up that phony $20 and turns it over and finds this:
Or maybe they find a better presentation of the Gospel -- it has a decent tract on the back side of the phony front. What do you think the person receiving that piece of paper thinks of the Gospel then?
It seems to me that if the phony $20 was a disappointing prank when it was just a phony $20, it becomes something slightly more offensive when it turns out to be a ploy to get you to listen to some message.
You know: like sticking a picture of a sexy girl on a billboard to get you to read the name and address of your local casino or whatever.
Now, why bring it up? Am I afraid that there's about to be a rash of phony $20 tracts coming around the pike and you wary readers should be well-informed on what exactly they are doing?
What I am saying is this: if it is somewhat sophomoric and whatever the antithesis of "clever" is to trick people with phony money to read or hear the Gospel delivered, how much more of the same is it to trick people with a phony Jesus? It's one thing to want people to want to hear the Gospel -- and it's another thing entirely to make the Gospel into something it is not in order to get them to just pay attention.
Think about that. There's a book review which follows this logic, but TeamPyro is having a retreat next week and it's unlikely that the book review will happen before then. However, if I don't see you for a while, be with the Lord's people in the Lord's house on the Lord's day, and don't take any wooden nickels.