Thursday, September 10, 2009

INSANE 2010 Poster Description

a Biblical thought...
Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight." Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:32-34)

a Book thought...
Let your life proclaim his message, whether its content is marked by ease or adversity. (p110)
a Dave thought...
Christopher Green is the artist who is responsible for this illustration. He has some helpful responses...

1. Where's the girl poster?- we originally had wanted to do a male AND female poster, but there were factors that were beyond our control to create both, so we had to settle on one.
2. Whats the deal with the tatts?- aside from appealing to the target demographic (and beyond, it would appear), we wanted to inject some more meaning, rather than something that just looks cool. left arm: the lion embodies everything brave, everything courageous, everything noble. for those CS Lewis fans out there, it also serves as a metaphor for Christ. the lion is at war with the dragon. the dragon (in this case) represents the devil and all things hellish. note the composition favours the lion, giving him an upper hand in the battle. look closely and you'll note the subtle differences between stances - the "devil" is at a loss, is cowering in defense, the lion is pouncing, about to do some serious divine damage.

Right arm: the dove embodies everything true, everything peaceful, everything hopeful. it also serves as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. note it is carrying an olive branch, and flying over tumultuous waters; i deliberately tried to make reference to the Genesis Flood for some added familiarity. the koi is sometimes regarded as a sort of dragon "larvae" which in turn represents the evil being swallowed up by the waters, being overcome by the power of the Holy can certainly delve deeper into the meaning of these elements.
Just a thought.


Anonymous said...

We are a culture bent on symbolism. Different drawings have different meanings. We all know the power of symbolism. The image or symbol is the message, because it is a visible sign of an invisible reality. Or as the saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, those who uses images or symbols effectively recognize this truth. Because of how our mind is made, more is said to us, more quickly - we might even say immediately - through an image than with language.
A person’s posture, or their physical gestures can communicate to more us on a conscious or subconscious level than what they actually say. Symbols represent ideas, and these ideas can be life-affirming, or the very opposite and so as fellow believers we ought to demand that great care be taken with the use of images by those who create the posters that are used.
Images/symbols have a great meaning for a particular context. This is a key point people consider when they want to use images effectively Like older words, sometimes the older symbols have meaning that is understood in every place and time and so have more power to create an effect than they are aware of, something the designers of the poster may have forgotten. This means they are now having to justify and try and explain the poster and it conflicting messages. WJE

Helen said...

I am 30 and personally love the poster. I got my first tattoo earlier this year.

My concern would be that as much it may identify with an emerging culture, it is tricky when you put anything suggestive in front of young people. And as a parent I can understand where the concern lies.

At an age where there is much searching and settling into who we are, it can be all too easy to see what we want to be and simply emulate others.

Being permanent, tattoos are something that shouldn't be taken so lightheartedly. As much as I love the poster, I'd hate to see your conference filled with a bunch of tattooed young people in an attempt to be "relevant". Being culturally relevant is about being real, and showing compassion, not about presenting a certain image.
All the best with this one!

Anonymous said...

Yes Dave the poster is culturally relevant in that it joins us to the culture that is busy sexualizing children. The tattoo issue is one that revolves around bodily holiness and purity. One would have though that the gospel called all cultures to change because the Kingdom of God stands in judgment of all cultures. Those who respond to the gospel are called to live a counterculure lifestyle. The explanation of the tattoos doesn't stand up seeing as most of those who see th poster have so little bible knowledge they wouldn't make the offered connenctions. Johno

Anonymous said...

What price relevance, what effect effectiveness? The poster has cause a stir, yes it has. And yes there is mixed opinion it use to recruit teenagers, in this case it would seem to be boys to come to the camp. If you read the justifications closely what you notice is the 'ends justifies the means' kind of arguments. But frankly if the means are unethical, and indeed contradict the ends you are trying to achieve, aren't you guilty of using unethical tactics to attract people to Christ? Aren't you sending an enormously mixed message to youth--- "come to The Salvation Army, and….”
I'm sorry but this whole sorry approach to youth ministry smacks of absolute desperation and fear-- fear that if we are not relevant, we cannot attract a crowd. Is this really what Jesus would do? I don't think so. Nor Paul for that matter-- in his 'garbage in, garbage out' speech he urges his audience in Phil. 4.8--" Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things." There is frankly nothing admirable about this whole approach to youth ministry. If you have so little creativity or imagination that you imagine that the only way to appeal to youth is by appealing to their most base and basic fallen instincts, then maybe you need to get out of youth ministry-- you haven't got the tools for the task, and your means betray your message.

Anonymous said...

The poster seems to be saying we have become cognatively indistinguishable from the unbelievers we want to see join The Salvation Army. It would seem the designers have made a deal with the culture of the day but he hard reality is that Christianity cannot be bought. it is never God or the gospel that is owned, it is we who are owned in Christ. Christianity is not up for sale, its price has already been set and that price is the complete and ongoing surrender to Christ of those who embrace him by faith. Furthermore we are not a retailing outlet, we are not peddlers or consumers. Rather, we are to be the voice of proclamation, not sales agents, practitioners of holy living, not a marketing arm of the world. The gospel will inevitably lead to cultural confrontation between Christ and the rebellion of the human heart. We forget that at our peril. GBH

Anonymous said...

Very entertaining comments, again a poster design brings out the dissers. Its great that we have the forum of a blog to nut this out and not anywhere public for the world to see christians arguing over petty differences.

I love that we can show the world that we are full of love and not legalistic or judgemental, especially when dealing with those who are close to us and within the same movement.

I guess thats why as the salvation army we have so many youth that we don't know what to do with them all.


Anonymous said...

I love that the gospel message is for everyone - anyone, anywhere! Maybe this poster may give someone who has lost hope, who has followed the worlds standards maybe they just may feel like they could possibly be included and loved no matter how they look, no matter what their age, no matter what they've tried.

Maybe it may break down some barriers, please stop being scared, the youth of TSA aren't about to get all tatted up and start putting their crotches in your face! What our kids need is for us to stop getting angry when they start doing what has been preached, and that is having a relationship with Jesus and telling others about him!

This artwork/design was done by a young very passionate, devoted, holy, follower of Jesus who is just trying to rally up some kids to come hear about Jesus and how He can set us free from sin and guilt and shame and religiosity, and how we can have a relationship with the creator of the universe.

james said...

Tattoos are bad, Leviticus tells us that. So are belt buckles, theyre made of more than one material. Im glad Chris didnt draw the face, I reckon the guy would have shaved the sides of his beard...

What covenant are we all under? The old or new? Law or love?

Great poster, great meaning!

Luek said...

I'm just disappointed that no ones brought their pitchforks....

I for one am impressed with this poster chris always does a fantastic job with whatever he does and puts alot of heart into it.

"Those who respond to the gospel are called to live a counterculure lifestyle."

We're not to be set apart/taken out of the world and live seperate lives from the world as jesus himself prayed "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it, sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth! As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world...Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them"

We are to live in the world with the world but be a christlike example for those who are still of the world. (Of being the key word in that)

Destinctive but relevant culture, yes.

Most people i know dont just have tatts 'cause they look pretty, the people and mostly christians i know that have tatts have them because they have significance, and when we shine light on that, then god can be seen in them.

"1. Where's the girl poster?- we originally had wanted to do a male AND female poster, but there were factors that were beyond our control to create both, so we had to settle on one."

I'm not offended by that as much, moreso the fact that theres not a poster with a chubby person... wheres that poster, or the aboriginal australian, or wheres the poster for short people?

"I love that the gospel message is for everyone - anyone, anywhere! Maybe this poster may give someone who has lost hope, who has followed the worlds standards maybe they just may feel like they could possibly be included and loved no matter how they look, no matter what their age, no matter what they've tried.”

The salvation army worked back in its heyday because it was exciting and relevant to everyone. The largest army in the world which i believe off the top of my head being the USA territory was started by a 16 year old girl and was successful because it was relevant to the time...

We can no longer tolerate being relevant for the 1800’s. We do need to keep the salvation army vibrant and relevant to todays culture and in this case the YOUTH CULTURE which also is to be the lifeblood of the salvation army which is (whether you like it or not). The culture and expectations go through vast changes every year. Yes us young people are a generation of consumers (thanks sare) and yes we need to be sold, ideas and beliefs, its the world that we live in (not nececarily the world that we are of, just in), media rich and many many messages bombarding us every-which way and it is the job of youth ministers and churches, unfortunately to "sell" christ to the young people (and in the salvation armys case, not with actual money as some churches would lead to believe you have to buy christ... we sell him and let our young people know its free 'cause he paid it for us in advance).

“Is this really what Jesus would do?”...
In my heart I truly believe...


...yes he would.

I also believe that instead of tearing shreds on a poster which most young people who its actually aimed at (being under 18’s) will just look at and go “cool... insane’s on again”

It should more be like “Awesome to see that we still have youth who are on fire and passionate for Christ” And words of encouragement as to let us know you will be praying for the souls of the young people who will be attending this amazing and life changing camp.

But then again, it seems clear that ignorant and misguided “creative criticism” towards an amazing artists form of worship is much easier to do.

... thats my rant.. Im done.

God Bless.


P.S. sorry for putting you through the terrible grammar and spelling.

Anonymous said...

Again we have a burst of weary and irrelevant controversy regarding something entirely inconsequential. Raise the glorious standard higher huh...

I'd love to joke about this, but the truth is this saddens me. I'd like to think TSA is a multi-generational, global movement advancing into the 21st century by witnessing to every nation, tribe and culture.

But no, still I feel we are tempted to ignore the radical nature of our roots and hope to embrace the good old days when blue jeans led to fornication and rock n roll was the devil's music. Go progress!

Oh, I'm 27 and find the corporate shirt and tie far more indicative of what's wrong with the world right now than tatts and belt-buckles...

Anonymous said...

"In the world but not of the world" - now what does "not of the world" actually mean? jesus, Paul and others who wrote the rest of the NT certainly knew what it meant, and it was very counter-cultural because it was living a sanctified/holy life. Interesting that when it comes to cultures where tattoos where very much a part of the culture etc, when they become disciples of Christ they put an end to tattooing - wonder why that is? yes the poster is cool and yes most don't stop to think theologically about it. But is being cool encouraging or even the living of a holy life? Interesting that when fellow believers point out what may in fact be something that is offensive or just plain wrong they are judged to be irrelevant dissenters or just plain old, or just being judgmental and again the youth. Maybe these dissenters actually believe that doctrine one is important - you know that both Testaments are the rule for Christian faith and practice. Remeber we are all part of the body of Christ, we are not individual grouping that are not accountable to each other. Which means that when such posters are put out there in the world you enclude all of us in it and the resultant reactions, whether good or bad.

Anonymous said...

Army youth are not about to get tatts - you need to take a closer look around. Yes in the past TSA did all sorts of things - but I think they where far more theologically switched on than we are seeing today.

Anonymous said...

Yes, agreed about the Salvation Army's doctrine 1 - "We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice." But as James pointed out, by reading both, we live under a new covenant with God, which changes the nature of the law that we live under. Why question tattoos in isolation from every other law held under the old covenant. Does that mean that we start sacrificing animals again etc.?

The theological basis for the poster has been stated by the artist on Dave's facebook so I refer you to there for more information.

The Salvation Army has always adopted clever tactics in engaging people with the gospel message - using pub songs to sing about Christ and His redeeming love etc. I would suggest that this is no different. And the teens that I have spoken to that have seen the artwork have loved it and understood the message of the artwork - the brave lion victorious over the devil dragon, the dove as a symbol of truth being victorious over the koi fish. So in my opinion, the poster is meeting it's target audience.

As with similar discussion on this blog regarding artwork from an event last year that attracted a lot of attention, I am deeply saddened at the personal attacking nature of some comments (especially the fourth comment) - to Dave and his team. Yes we are all entitled to an opinion, but as brothers and sisters in Christ, let's be careful with our wording and offer suggestions and reflections rather than attacks that demean and tear others down.


Anonymous said...

Interesting how the art work is considered cool and that its ok to use such symbols and assume everyone understands that the lion and the dove are overcoming the dragon and the kio. Unfortunately only the dove may at a stretch be considered Christian. For us the other three are pagan and so it is disappointing that some cannot see what we see and understand only too well.

Swee Tan - Singapore

Anonymous said...

While women weep- I'll critique fellow believers.
While children go hungry- I'll argue on the internet.
While there remains one lost girl on the streets- I'll fake controversy.
While there remains one dark soul without the light of God- I'll reject cultural viewpoints I don't understand.

Hey here's an idea, let's all act like the Army God calls us to be and use the net to have a better conversation about a bigger topic?

Indignenous poverty? Industrial exploitation? Doctrine? Faith in our communities? The new Vegemite? Anything except another freakin' 'storm in a teacup' over a poster!!!

Peace out yo


Anonymous said...

Anthony, interesting adaptaion - have you look up "freakin"? its just away of using the 'F' word.
Have notice that those who are annoyed that some have dare to critique the poster have been turned into the villians. Also many of their valid and very good points have not been responded to.
And Dave - I gusess its ho hum, I've moved on. Johno

Anonymous said...


Every time you do a project, you learn something new. +
Gossip is called gossip because it's not always the truth.


I believe people can move things with their minds.
Justin Timberlake

(Mark G)

Anonymous said...

The symbols of popular culture transmit the shared meanings by which a people understand themselves, identify their longings, and construct their world. There are no truly neutral symbols, images, or rituals in popular culture or the church. Whether popular culture and its symbols are inherently evil or good is a matter of debate, as we have seen. Yes we are to be in the world but not of it - this doesn't mean we are immune from the world's culture. When we bring the world's culture and its symbols into the church we need to remember it is not neutral free and as a consequence it distorts God's self-revelation and engagement with the world. Consequently, we must be wary and simply accept what is presented uncritically by the world and our own organization.Scripture stands over against all culture, including our own approach to ourselves and the world.

Luek said...

I believe thats pretty kewl and spot on Anonymous.