SALVATION AND SALES PITCHES
My family and I were on a drive through the hill country outside of Fort Worth. As we winded through country roads we happened across a fenced in property sitting on several acres. The compound was nestled atop a hill so it wasn’t something we could easily miss. There were airport hangers accompanied by full on runway. Needless to say I was surprised to see this property belonged to Kenneth Copeland. “Health and wealth has served him well,” I uttered to the misses riding shotgun. The boy thought the place was really really cool and I had to agree. His Church is impressive.
Now I’m not one of these people who knocks success. I won’t go through the list of preachers I find distasteful and harp about their lack of humanitarianism. I won’t compare atheists like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to the likes of Joel Olsteen. Why? Because they’re all equal in Gods eyes and I am no position to judge. ANYONE. So if someone wants to run a non-profit church the way Susan Kohen does her cancer foundation then more power to them. Here’s to the capitalists. Hazah and what not.
WHAT DOES SERVING MEAN TO ME?
Seminary school is in my immediate future. That is the path I must walk. As a result of that decision I’ve done a fair amount of thinking on what I consider righteousness. A righteous person is “one who submits to the will of God” by its textbook definition, but…
What does that mean to me?
What parts of scripture do I find important?
How can I best serve?
Rehab chaplaincy is moving rapidly to the front of my list because I feel I can relate to the incarcerated addict in a way others can’t. Also, that path gives me a bit of freedom with my application of the scriptures. If I’m being honest, I don’t exactly have an orthodox view of the Bible. I have no quarrel with Islam and can openly discuss philosophy without losing my Christian values. Most members of the Church do not share my disposition and feel my brand of tolerance is a bit too… liberal.
One of my biggest beefs with the Church body as a whole comes from their collection plate sales pitch. I put it right up there with the ole “if you died today where would you go” bit. Jesus, the person Christians swear their allegiance to, lines out exactly how one can sum up the whole of the law. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Yet, every service we see Deuteronomy 14;23-29 flash the screen. Isn’t that Mosaic law?
Don’t get me wrong a preacher has to eat. The work they do for their communities is usually too incredible to describe. They get into the business with God and humanity at the forefront of everything they do. Megachurches offer fellowship opportunities galore and I am grateful they exist. I just don’t like sales pitches at Church. It bothers me to see a functioning Starbucks running at a profit in the lobby.
However, this is a personal issue and of no fault of those churches or their congregations. I’ll be the first to tell you to worship how you want to worship and serve in your own way. All these feelings really point out to me is how I am to serve. I have no desire to stand in front of ginormous crowds of wealthy people and recant tales of the blessings God has bestowed upon me. Clearly I’m not suited to serve in that way. Kenneth Copeland is and if that airport hanger was an inclination of anything it’s at how successful he has been in doing so. Luckily for me, success leaves clues.
NEW AMERICA, NEW OPPORTUNITY
I spent the first two weeks of the government lockdown avoiding writing. I focused on prayer and meditation. Asking for guidance and researching the path before me. To work at a drug rehab is humble work but it can definitely pay the bills while fulfilling my need to help the addict still suffering. However, this requires schooling to accomplish. The live production industry has come to a screeching halt and my family needs food now.
Thoughts of advertising on my blog or marketing my spiritual advice raced through my head. A couple of book ideas- science fiction mostly- danced in my mind and I really had to ask myself what I hold dear.
What did I set out to accomplish with my blog?
I have a book almost completely written as we speak. My lawyer guaranteed it’s publication. A blog is a great way to develop an audience so it’s a logical step along the way. Wait… Isn’t that selling religion?
Do I sacrifice my principles for a profit?
The answer came from a strange place. John Mayer produces a pop album for the money to produce the blues album he wants to play. Well, if my talent is writing then clearly I need to market myself as a writer. I can write fluff pieces for corporate America to fit the bill on the website and keep it advertisement free. I can continue to share in a personal way without having to compromise my principles. I mean, something has to be sacred in this world. Am I right?
Since success leaves clues the question is simple, “how would a prosperity preacher market themselves to the corporate world?” They’re business savvy to the max. Well, the feeling would have to be there. They’d have to believe in what they were doing.
So, I started googling dotcom startup companies that are somewhere in my scope of principles. Not exact matches mind you, but ones that have a more humanitarian feel to them.
Why startup companies you ask?
David Choe made $200 million dollars by taking a stock option when he took his graffiti skills into a, very new at the time, office for Facebook. Why not do the same thing while negotiating with startup companies that can’t afford to pay as much up front. Afterall, we’re both up and comers. Stock options are brilliant way to do exactly that. See, I told you success leaves clues.
Since my website was started to help people I refuse to taint it with unnecessary advertisements and popups. I loathe those by the way but, in truth, there is a more effective way to market my talent using this blog. See, this site definitely showcases my ability to write. Logic would dictate it would make quite the impressive portfolio. Companies can get a feel for how I convey messages and my readers can continue to enjoy a popup free blog.
I owe it all to prayer over the New America. Quarantine created the space for me to reach within and humble myself before the path. By asking myself what I hold dear the ideas sort of poured in.
Remember those WWJD bracelets?
Well… what would Jesus do?
“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)
There’s always balance between principles and profit. Peace be with you.