Friday, April 04, 2008

BOGO Jesus

This is my column from the April issue of our diocesan newspaper

Sometimes I lean back in my chair and close my eyes (just to rest for minute) and I have the strangest dreams:

The Marketing Man burst into my office, filled with great ideas.

“I've got some great ideas about getting out your message about faith and ministry and all that other stuff”.
He seemed really excited as he paced back and forth across my office. His eyes were focused on some far distant place and his hands cut great swathes through the air as he gestured grandly.

“You gotta grab their attention. Hit 'em where they live, really slide right into what they're already thinking about. I'm thinking we make this whole church thing sexier. Some hot models in church shaking their...”

“Whoa”, I cried, “We really try to avoid the whole 'shaking' thing. Faith is about the fruits of the spirit, not being bootilicious”.

He paused a moment to ponder that idea. With a shrug of his shoulders he went on.

“Well if you insist. Then maybe we need to go high tech. Yeah, that's it. Lasers and big screens and speakers pumping out the 'bompa-bompa-bom-bom' till the windows rattle.”

“Well,” I responded, shaking my head , “I love the high tech toys as much as anyone. But lasers and big screens don't translate well into everyday life. We need to make sure they can carry their faith with them everywhere.”

A smile appeared on the Marketing Man's face.

“You're a tough one my friend. You're tough. OK, I've got it the perfect pitch for today. It's all about the price point. We go with a buy one get one offer. It can't miss!”

I almost felt like I was letting him down. The Marketing Man was trying so hard, working up all these ideas just for me. I stood up and putting my hands on his shoulders I looked the Marketing Man straight in the eye.

“I know you want to help but you don't seem to get the concept. A life in faith is about treating other with respect, caring for the individuals around you. Sometimes it happens alone, sometimes it happens in big groups. Sometimes it's flashy and colorful and sometimes it's just you all by yourself. It's not about some marketable event or product. It's about how you live your entire life. And the buy one get one thing? There is only one. And we give it away.”

The Marketing Man looked stunned and then he looked sad.

“I'm not the one who doesn't get it my friend. Taking care of OTHER people? Being respectful? Long term thinking over short term gratification? And giving it away?!?!?! That'll never fly”

He muttered sadly to himself as he gathered his briefcase and walked out the door.

I opened my eyes with a realization.

It's not about what program or curriculum we use. It's not about the latest music or video or podcast. It's not about being “hot” or “relevant” or “high tech”. It's about the love of God that surrounds us and warms us. It's about how we share that love with everyone around us. It's about how we live our lives as an expression of that love.

And then I turned to my computer and I began to write.


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