Monday, November 10, 2008

Name Brand

You can't see it, but I had this whole big piece about the election and what I think and how it related to Christians and church. You'll have to trust me that it was an impressive piece of work. Just imagine all of the best things you've read and pretend I wrote those in there. I deleted the whole thing because it degenerated into nonsense.
Having said that, I spent a lot of time after the election thinking about what I'd seen and heard. Here's the thing that kind of stuck out to me. All throughout the campaign, there was an effort by both sides to "brand" themselves and the other candidates. Countless dollars were spent to hang labels on some people and remove labels placed there by others. It's no different than detergent, cereal or aluminum foil. Companies go to great lengths to attach labels to their own and their competition's products and then they brand by getting you to associate their name with a particular label, so that we view Bounty as durable and Quaker as healthy. In this case, parties tried to brand their people as insiders, outsiders, agents of change, savvy, patriotic, etc.

The only reason I mention this is because we, as Christians, have a brand as well. Additionally, people that disagree with us have taken great effort to attach other labels. We've been accomodating enough to allow the "Christian" label to mean a variety of things, ranging from compassionate to hateful. What is the Christian brand supposed to stand for? Put another way, how could a person recognize a Christian? It's not as much as I thought. According to 1 John, the ideal of the brand is that we should be full of truth, resistant to sin and guided by love. Would we use those 3 things to describe ourselves? If not, why wouldn't we? Equally as important is whether or not those around us would use those 3 things to describe us. If those are the things a Christian should show, why isn't it evident?