Jesus as a Brand

Samuel Wells wrote of lost pastors, categorizing a certain group of clergy, “…busy proving that the church can play with the big bucks in the big league, can mix it with contractors and commercial players, can hold its own in the market place of social forces, that the reason for the church’s existence is submerged in the activity and profitability of its flourishing. It’s like Pentecost without foregoing cross and resurrection. Christ hasn’t saved us from anything or to anything—merely provided a dynamic and resonant brand name..”

The last phrase sticks doesn’t it … Christ as merely a “resonant brand name.”

The spiritual journey climbs up to the mystical experience.  That mystical journey however must travel back down then into the prophetic.  Perils await on both the assent and decent.  Ascend to the wrong god, we return with little to offer.  Ascend to a right view of God but fail to allow the mystical assent to change us prophetically, on the descent, in this world, and we bring nothingness.   However … ascend to the right view, allow that view to do its sacred breaking of our petty agendas, and then live courageously into that space, into the descent, and …. “fire, fire, fire.” (Read Mirolsav Volf’s, “A Public Faith.”)

Treating Christ as a “brand” fails on both accounts.  It calls out neither the mystical nor grounds the prophetic.  All if offers is to slap a glitzy label on the shallowness we often call “life.”   And we can feel good then … without doing a damm thing.

So thank you believers and doers!


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