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The Gospel Is Not a Generic Jingle

In the early 80s, an image campaign began in the city of Atlanta with the hopes of encouraging Atlantans to see their city with pride and hope—despite some of its darker issues of race relations, violence, poverty, and unemployment. The jingle was endearing, if cheesy, chirping birds in the background and all: There's a feeling in the air, that you can't get anywhere … except in Georgia. I taste a thousand yesterdays and I still love the magic ways of Atlanta.

All of it was meant to inspire nostalgia, loyalty, and camaraderie—and to counter all the city's negative images. Those who remember it speak fondly of the "Hello Atlanta!" song's ability to highlight Atlanta's unique brand of urbanism and the pride.

Makes no difference where I go, you're the best hometown I know. Hello, Atlanta. Hello, Georgia. We love you on 11 Alive!

The song served as something of an anthem for the city, so much so that Ira Glass recently featured it on his program This American Life. He interviewed people who remembered the song. And then he completely burst their unique sense of city-pride by playing for them the exact same song and lyrics with "Milwaukee" or "Calgary" substituted out in chorus and pictures. As it turned out, this "image campaign" was a syndicated campaign that took place in 167 different cities worldwide. There's a feeling in the air, that you can't get anywhere, except … fill in the blank.

The Bible does not give us an image campaign about God's good news. It is not meant to play on a sense of nostalgia for generic people and places. The promise of the gospel is for particular people in particular places. And this good news can be for you today.

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