Magic, Marketing, and Jesus

The Decisive Ball - Magic 8 For Organizations

The Decisive Ball – Magic 8 For Organizations

Impressed!  Which is a rare feeling for me.  I walked into my office this morning and discovered two very cool pieces of marketing on my desk.  The first was this sort of Magic 8 Ball for Businesses and Organizations.  Decisive is a new book by Chip and Dan Heath who also wrote Made to Stick and  Switch – two incredible books that every leader needs to read.  

Decisive is exactly what the title says… it helps people figure out who to make decisions effectively.  In outlines wonderful tools that any group or organization can use.  The Decisive Magic 8 Ball provides a wide variety of these principles and tools to help make decisions.  Truly, from a marketing standpoint, this ball is MAGIC!  What a cool toy and I got it for free!

Fantastic book marketing

Fantastic book marketing

The second piece of marketing that impressed me this morning was David Kinnaman’s new book You Lost Me.    Packaging was tremendous.  It included an invitation to a live signing event.  I can sign up for the event via EventBrite.  

This too was MAGIC!  I disagree with Kinnaman on a lot of things – but his organization gets marketing.  They do it really well.  

Most churches, on the other hand, do NOT do marketing all that well.  Obviously, there are some that do, but most do not.  I think the reason is this – most churches forget that people need MAGIC.  In a world full of advertising and messages, people want to enter into an experience that lifts them out of their lives, provides a message relevant to everyday life, and that provides them power and inspiration to go back to their lives with something they did not have before.  In other words – M A G I C !  

I had about 10 different tasks to do as soon as I arrived in the office – I put them all on hold to open these packages.  What MAGIC will we allow people to experience so that they will put their lives on hold to hear about a life and world transforming message?

Advertisements

Athens & God

It’s almost 6am in Athens. I can hear the humm of cars outside as morning approaches. Really that humm has been there all night never really letting up. Athens has been going all night as cars drive a key circle in the road way system here. Reading the news for the past many weeks and months, I wondered what I should expect when arriving here. Reading Luke’s account of Paul’s visit to Athens from nearly 2,000 years ago(Acts 17:27ff), I also wondered what I should expect. Paul’s first observance was feeling disturbed by the number of idols he saw throughout the city as the people attempted to make the presence of the gods real to everyday life.

Rather than worried that they didn’t believe in the ONE, true God, Paul’s message to the Athenian philosophers was centered around the fact he worried that they didn’t know that God was truly present all of the time, everywhere and that they didn’t need to make carved images to feel and see the presence of God in their lives. Paul stated to them at the Areopagus on Mars Hill, “God isn’t far away from any of us. In God we live and move and exist. As some of your poets said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Therefore, as God’s offspring, we have no need to imagine that the divine being is like a gold… image made by human skill or thought” (Acts 17:27-30).

Paul wanted the people of Athens to know that God was present all of the time in all places in EVERYONE. God is present because we are all God’s offspring. WE are the presence of God. We are God’s reps here on Earth. No need for carved images to have God show up, instead, we are to be the presence of God by how we live our lives.

As I consider the beginning of my journey here in Athens, I wonder how a message of hope like Paul’s can come into our day when Athens seems to have very little hope– at least as observed on my screens over the past many months. Do the people feel far away from the presence of God? Do the people feel far away from one another? Can they see themselves as the offspring of God that can accomplish creating a new day, a new future, and a new world for themselves?

Monotheism and Literacy

As one looks down the halls of history at the various religions that have existed, it is easy to see that monotheism arises as literacy spreads across a culture.  The ability to read and write fundamentally changes an individual’s existence.  The way they think, reason, perceive, and understand after gaining the ability to read and write is fundamentally different than before these skills were acquired.  Reading and writing create a type of logical reasoning that cannot be comprehended without those skills.  


A community before the advent of widespread literacy is dependent upon story and symbolism.  In such a pre-literate world, the mind is subject to the mythical– the sun is a force, a tree decides to sprout leaves in spring, the sea is a god, etc.  

The skills of reading and writing provide a person and a community the tools to begin the journey of rationally considering the once mythical elements.  More importantly, they allow thoughts to be analyzed and ideas to be processed.  Finally, in a literate world, a person is no longer fully dependent on another for mediation between self and the divine.  In the literate world, I can communicate with God and God with me.