One of the things I love most about the building where I work is the wood-burning fireplace. I love many things about that fireplace … the crackle of the wood when it’s burning, the hearth where people often sit or stand to warm themselves, the conversations that take place in front of the roaring fire … I truly love that fireplace.
My official position at the company is senior editor, which means I’m responsible for reading all of the materials created by our advertising agency for our clients. In addition to my editing duties, I’m also known around the office as “the keeper of the fire.” I’m not really sure how it happened, but not long after we moved into the building, the fireplace became my thing … I build the fires … I clean out the ashes … I keep the fire burning during the day … the fireplace is definitely my thing.
For all the tasks I perform regarding the fireplace, there is one in particular that I enjoy most of all. I love, love, love to take the red cart to the area under the stairs where the wood is stored, stack it full of firewood, push it to the cubby behind the fireplace and unload it. There’s a feeling of accomplishment and pride that sweeps through me each time I stack the wood into the cubby. Perhaps it’s the physical exercise … perhaps it’s the memories of my father teaching me how to cut and stack firewood when I was young … perhaps it’s knowing that keeping the fire blazing on a dreary winter day is my way of helping with office morale.
When I tell people I work for an advertising agency, they often say, “Oh, that’s so cool! I bet it’s just like the agency in the movie ‘What Women Want’ or the one in the television show ‘Mad Men.’ Is it like that for real?” Those types of responses and questions about agency life always make me smile as I nod my head and reply, “It’s a totally cool place to work, and I love it.” I gave up a long time ago trying to convince people who’ve never worked in advertising that we really don’t keep bottles of Scotch at our desks to sip on all day and that, at least to my knowledge anyway, my co-workers don’t spend a good deal of their time making out in the storage closet. Though there are many misconceptions about the advertising industry as a whole, there are some things that are and will always remain true from agency to agency … not the least of which is that in order for an ad campaign to be successful, it must spark enough interest in a certain brand or product to produce consumer engagement.
I’ve often wondered what kind of advertising campaign God would choose to market the Gospel in today’s world. Would He employ some sexy underwear models to share the good news of Jesus? After all, we know that sexy underwear ads sell lots and lots and lots of underwear, right? If we somehow could find a way to make Christianity sexy, would that spark enough interest for unbelievers to want to know Christ?
While I know that may sound silly and possibly even border on sacrilege for some, the truth is that many of you chose to read this article because of the title … a title that made you think the story was sexual in nature. Come on and admit it, that’s at least part of why you clicked on the link. And that’s exactly why I chose the title … I chose a somewhat leading title because I wanted you to read the article. And now that you’ve read this far, I’d like to ask you to do more than simply read the words I’ve written. I’d like to ask you to think deeply about what we as members of the Christian LGBT community should be doing to reach out and touch the world around us. And then I’d like to ask you to do it … put your thoughts into action, and let’s warm the world with the fire of God’s love — not in some churchy way, the way we normally hear it, but in a real, personal, Jesus kind of way. Love in motion. Love with hands and feet, more than just nice sounding words or a sexy ad.
The fireplace in my office reminds me every day that if I’m not diligent in taking care of the fire, it will stop burning. And if I allow the flames to die out, a chill quickly envelops both the building and the people within it.
We need to burn brightly, friends … we need to be a blazing fire for what is right and true and just in the eyes of God. We live in a time when we must burn brightly … a time when we must light the fires of others … a time when we must reach people where they are. God needs us to be His sexy underwear models, friends … He needs the LGBT people of God to strip down and show the world what hearts that burn with the love of Jesus Christ can truly do.