Jesus in beer schooner seeks net friends
A British religious thinktank says it has become the very first "friend" of Jesus on the News Corp-owned social networking website, MySpace.
Jesus appeared in cyberspace last week as part of an advertising campaign that features an image of his face in beer froth on the side of a glass, the British Christian online journal reports.
The ads direct readers to www.myspace.com/isthisjesus - a page on the popular site, which has become a global internet club with 108 million members.
Jesus, whose profile describes him as male, 33 years old, from Nazareth, Middle East Israel, is said "to be appearing everywhere these days".
"The latest sightings include the face of Jesus spotted on a tree trunk, in the clouds and even in the grease stains on the inside of a pizza box," the site says.
"Hang around eBay (the auction website) for a few days, and a new picture of Jesus is bound to come up for sale.
The website says the phenomenon is the inspiration behind the Jesus in the beer glass campaign.
The campaign, which also includes radio ads, wants to get people talking about where they find God today, even if it's in the most unlikely places.
Jonathan Bartley of Ekklesia said: "Although this is a bit of fun at one level, there is a serious side. This is not so much advertising as 'subvertising', which is exactly the kind of communication that churches need to engage in.
"Previously the Church has been focused on getting bums on pews rather than initiating debate about who Jesus was and his relevance today.
"This is an important new direction for churches in the UK, and we are sure that we will be the first of Jesus' many new friends," he said.
According to Myspace, Jesus would like to meet "tax collectors and sinners" and so far he has found 296 friends.
The MySpace website, created in 2003, is the eighth-most popular web property as of April 2006. In 2005 News Corp paid US$580 (A$770) million to buy the site's parent company, Intermix Media.
Friend of Jesus
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Is this Jesus? (MySpace.com)
18 Sep 2006