marketing the message

Brent Finnegan -- August 11th, 2008

If you’ve seen these signs around town, taped to light poles and planted in front yards, you may have been wondering what they are. Turns out it’s an ad campaign for Aletheia Church.

Reminds me of some viral marketing version of Lovemarks. Or this documentary produced by a former Harrisonburg resident.

140 Responses to “marketing the message”

  1. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    As long as we don’t push it to 101 comments, I’m okay with this thread going on.

  2. Brooke says:

    Now you’ve done it! LOL

  3. JGFitzgerald says:

    Gx,

    You always gotta overdo it.

    JF

  4. Kyle says:

    >I seem to recall another man who ruffelled feathers about 2000 years ago.<
    —————————-
    Now that’s stupid.
    ——————————
    Comment from Brooke
    Time: August 11, 2008, 8:56 pm

    Look, I’m a Christian, too. I understand the need to get the message out there, but ignoring the law, creating clutter/litter, and using people’s likeness under misleading pretences, some of whom would NOT appreciate their likeness being used to promote a church, is NOT the best way to do it.
    ———————————–
    Therein lies the problem and why so many other cultures hate us, and rightfully so……..there is no “need to get the message out there.” That is an arrogant, self-righteous presumption of christians, especially the born-again simpletons.

  5. Ryan says:

    Kyle,
    I don’t expect you to understand but Brooke is right. The Bible tells us (as Christians) to get “the message out there. By me sharing the message, I’m not being arrogant, I’m following what I believe. This issue is dead right now. What you are bringing up is something seperate. Iwould encourage you to take some of those giys up on their lunch offers. It might prove to be enlightning for you.

  6. Kyle says:

    I doubt it Ryan. Just because you “believe” it doesn’t make it true or right. That is arrogant….thinking that you have some special “right” to impart your belief on others. I really don’t care what the “bible” tells you, its a nice piece of fiction that simplistically has been interpreted to impart “values.” I don’t need your “enlightening,” I prefer to move up the evolutionary chain, not down it.

  7. Brooke says:

    Kyle, it depends on how it’s done.

    If it’s done in an intrusive, obnoxious, disrespectful, or judgmental way, then yeah, that’s arrogant. And unfortunately a lot of Christian don’t understand the difference

    But there’s nothing wrong with sharing one’s faith, in a situation where you’re being asked about your beliefs, or have an opportunity to give your take on something that stems from your faith.

    It’s no different than you explaining why you are supporting a certain candidate for office, or explaining your personal thoughts and philosophy on a certain subject matter. This is just one of the things we hold dear and is part of who we are. And yes, when given the opportunity, we are called, as believers, to share why we believe as we do, but told to “do so with gentleness and respect.”

    Again I think it’s all in the timing and how you do it that makes it “arrogant” or not.

  8. Kyle says:

    Brooke,
    I totally, and respectfully, disagree. Religion and spirituality is very personal and I for one do not like it thrown in my face. If I go looking for it, if I ask questions about it, then OK, you are absolutely right. But to many private people like myself, having it in your face is threatening, arrogant and pretentious. I’m from the north and have lived here for a decade and I’ve NEVER met so many people who want to “enlighten” me.

  9. Kyle says:

    As for your last comment about “it’s all in the timing and how you do it,” do you not see that as sneaky and manipulative? Sort of like an adulterer rationalizing their affair or a pick-pocket explaining his technique to the new guy. It just seems sleazy, but christians have been brainwashed into thinking that they are different, that their behavior is snactioned by god and minister….and that is arrogant.

  10. Emmy says:

    That’s what she’s talking about Kyle. People shouldn’t throw it in your face. Brooke said you should share it when asked. You can spread the message by living your life in the best way you can. When someone looks at you and asks what is it about you? Why is your life so great. Then you can tell them. When someone comes looking for it, you tell them. When you are asked, you tell them. You are supposed to let Christ shine through you and be a beacon to others. When they come and ask, then you share.

    I don’t find anything wrong with a church wanting to get their name out there for those who are looking. But, its all in how you do it. I wouldn’t have found my church if someone hadn’t invited me. But they didn’t tell me I was going to hell if I didn’t show. They extended a polite invitation. I could have declined and they would have continued to be my friends with no judgment.

    There’s no better way to drive someone away from Christianity than to shove it at them. I spent many years away from church because of those who tried to shove it at me and those who professed to be such wonderful examples, and then went against everything Christianity is about. There are a lot of Christians who make it really hard for a non-believer to want anything to do with the faith.

  11. Kyle says:

    Emmy,
    Your comments are refreshing, and I mean that. Maybe I’ve just had some judgemental, confrontational experiences. Apparently you’ve had experiences similar to mine. Passive expression, as you describe is quite acceptable, especially if I initiated the conversation. For me, the more they press, the more they push me away. I wish that they would understand that not all who wander are lost. As I’ve mentioned before, spirituality is very private for me and I do not want strangers trying to convince me that their way is the only way. Religion is a choice, there are plenty of them out there, and what works for them might not work for me. Thanks for you thoughtful comments.

  12. Brooke says:

    Thanks Emmy for explaining it (apparently) better than I did.

    That’s *exactly* what I mean. I am wholeheartedly against the “shove it in your face” tactics employed by some Christians, albeit, well-intentioned. That’s what I mean about timing. Not that you have to “time it just right” but that there’s a time and a place to share your beliefs, and then there’s being intrusive and obnoxious. A “jerk for Jesus” if you will.

    To me it should be in the context of genuine relationship (in other words NOT making friends with the sole goal of proselytizing) and in the context of someone wanting to hear what you have to say.

    For instance, perhaps in a conversation about a current events topic, where people are discussing their stances on an issue and WHY they take that stance, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say, “Well I feel this way, because I believe, XYZ” and then if asked to expound, then take that opportunity to *respectfully* share your beliefs.

    To me the ground rules are pretty much the same as ANY person sharing their personal views on a subject. Don’t be pushy and rude. Besides, that’s the antithesis of what Christians are called to. I wish more of us believers would meditate on passages like I Peter 3:15 and I Corinthians 13. And above all else, the Golden Rule of “Do unto others…” If I wouldn’t appreciate a person of another faith or ideology approaching me in a certain way about their beliefs, then I should be careful not to do that to others.

    I hate tracts, by the way. Grew up with them, have no use for them, and think they are part of the obnoxious and pushy, not to mention, 9 times out of 10, it just winds up as litter or one more thing thrown into our landfills.

  13. Emmy says:

    Funny story about tracts.

    I was drying my hair one afternoon and thought I heard a strange voice. My kids were alone in the living room and I came out to my youngest child standing in the open door talking to a man I didn’t know. Turns out the guy was coming to gives us tracts and Tanner opened the door for him. They knew not to open the door to strangers and had never done it before. The man was asking him to go find me and he was just standing there. I have no idea what my kid was thinking when he did it, or why he just stood there looking at him, but he freaked the guy out so bad he just handed me the tracts and went about his day!

  14. Kyle says:

    Brooke,
    Well said. I must admit that at my store I get people al the time who are judging me by where I go to church. Its shallow, I know, but it happens every day. They will make a subtle comment and then wait for my response. If I’m neutral they are suspicious, If I make a stand they either hate me or love me and try to convert me on the spot.

    As an aside, what is a tract?

  15. Brooke says:

    Tracts are little brochures or pamphlets handed out by well-intentioned folks, that usually have some witty, catchy little title (“When it’s 4th down in your life, don’t punt!”) and then talk about some spiritual issue, or why you need to get saved. While I understand the intention, I think the mode of delivery is lacking and questionable in my mind.

  16. David Miller says:

    There are also some really funny ones. I personally love the one about the girl who met the devil in New Orleans.

  17. Brooke says:

    Hadn’t seen that one! Sounds like a winner. LOL

  18. Draegn88 says:

    Ah the mormon missionaries were out today. I have to ask, why do they dress like Agent Smith of The Matrix?

  19. David Miller says:

    That’s about as scary as I can think of, why not?

  20. mikekeane says:

    wow, well over 100 posts! i’ve enjoyed this thread. i think this thread makes it apparent that our community really wants to discuss and critique religion.

  21. David Miller says:

    Mike, I think this thread proves that this community is barely able to chide a church for littering/law breaking, much less critiquing religious beliefs.

  22. David Miller says:

    In today’s “Daily Dave Miller”, a discussion on religion, its origins and modern day impact on the Shenandoah Valley populace.

    Scroll forward to the end of the “Daily” to find Dave’s obituary.

  23. I think Mike and Dave are both correct! :)

  24. mikekeane says:

    I felt like i could do all the chiding i wanted to. I even learned a little bit about restraint and enjoyed emmy and brooke’s comments some agreeing with me some differing. I was hoping for a critique of religion across various issues but no one followed up on the faith based initiatives comment. The alethia people wouldn’t comment on gays either. the sad thing is tomorrow wide eyed college freshman all across harrisonburg will be scooped up by this and other evangelical churches and we’ll have to deal with exponentially more evangelicals. Really though folks, getting the message out about jesus is really redundant, we’ve all heard it before and for one reason or another we’re just not feeling it. i’m definitely starting to feel like churches are more of a social problem than a positive force. pitting their congregations against gay rights, sheltering pedophiles, wreaking wide spread psychological damage, butting into politics and not getting taxed. all under the roof of a large wasteful building that doesn’t house anyone and only gets used once a week for an hour or two to its capacity. all in the name of some common sense moral codes and some wacky outdated ones too. i’m not saying its got all bad results but once the apple is more than half rotten you throw it out.

  25. Ryan says:

    Mikekeane,
    Pastor Aaron made the comment that you are writing about things you know nothing about. Church is more than a building used 1 hour a week. Why don’t you take him up on his offer of lunch. I’m sure he’d be willing to talk about what Aletheia’s position on you being gay or whatever else you want to talk about.

  26. Brian M says:

    Hey, Ryan. Just so you know (not that it should matter) mikekeane is not gay. Just figured since we were talking about people “writing about things [they] know nothing about” I would let you know. He is an advocate though – which is appreciated.

    Of course I am sure you, Ryan, were using “you” in the incorrect general term. =o)

  27. Ryan says:

    Brian, yes I was speaking in generalities. Thanks.

  28. David Miller says:

    Mike

    I believe that persons that are attracted to evangelism are already headed that way, at least its not actual kool-aid.

    Personally I only have a problem with religion when it is interjected into politics. As they say, a few things to never talk about over dinner. Well to me religion is something to never talk about during politics. The mix always curdles.

    and Ryan, don’t assume Mike is talking about things he doesn’t understand. You’d be mistaken. Just a heads up.

  29. mikekeane says:

    ha! thanks brian and dave. ryan, i don’t think a lunch date with your pastor would be pleasant for either of us.

  30. Ryan says:

    Mike,
    He’s not my pastor, I just see myself on “his side of the fence” if you will. I don’t think it would be unpleasant. There’s no reason that you can’t have a normal conversation over some lunch.

  31. mikekeane says:

    Also, hilariously, i just looked back on my comment and realized that ryan didn’t reply to any of the substance of my comment besides church usage, he just called me gay. We can’t all find a feeling of being saved by your pastor, ryan, though he seems pleasant and patient. And yeah, for the record, not gay but yes queer friendly.

  32. mikekeane says:

    also, thanks for the offer aaron. i’ll pass though.

  33. Josh says:

    Kyle, There are also nontracts: http://www.ffrf.org/nontracts/

  34. mikekeane says:

    wow, thanks josh. the non tracts are great. so are we going for 200 posts or is there a better discussion out there? horse? you dead?

  35. Kyle says:

    Josh,
    Thanks for the links. In my honors class in undergraduate school we used to have many thoughtful discussions about some of those very topics. Mike I have to say, that I agree with you on all your points in previous posts that I’ve read. I call religion “inheritage baggage,” where most people “inherit” their beliefs from their parents who, for lack of a better term, brainwashed them with THEIR beliefs. You know, we test drive cars, we try similar entrees at different restaraunts, most of us date several individuals before we settle on the “right one”, but when it comes to religion, most folks don’t investigate, try out, or otherwise experiment with other forms of spirituality. And those of us that do, are often ostracized for doing so because independence is deemed a threat to the financial and power control of the church.
    The concept of “hell” was invented by the catholic church to scare people to stay in “the fold.” (A technique mastered by the GOP over the past decade-but that’s another thread). The evengelical movement and their 2 decade long obsession to take over any and all poitical offices is exactly about that power.
    Personally I believe spirituality is important, human beings have an innate need to have explanations for those things that they cannot explain, we are scared of the unknown and need a concept of the afterlife, and we want to know more about the meaning of life and spirituality does that for us.
    Organized religion, and particularly the evangelical movement and the catholic church before them, have taken spirituality and turned into a commodity designed to give them power and money. Churches today are the ultimate corporation. They are run by CEOs, have VPs and have become multi-national, multi-faceted, mega-million dollar enterprises. What do they sell? Salvation. What is their financial edge? Tax-free status. What is their marketing strategy? Coerscion, fear tactics and/or the proverbial “carrot.” The new churches have targeted the youth and their music and sermons are hip-hop, upbeat, and charismatic and the ministers will say anything to try to capture their minds (and eventually their wallets). Have you ever noticed that whenever a popular company’s slogan or logo becomes mainstream, that the church steals that very slogan to endear the public to them? “Got Milk” became “Got Jesus,” Nike’s “Just Do It” became “Just Do Jesus,” and Wal-Mart’s “Always low prices. Always” became “Always Jesus.Always.” Now that’s marketing and branding!
    And like business industries and sectors who all sell the same “widget,” to survive in the market you have to differentiate yourself from the consumer. Hence, the hundreds of christian sects and branches. They all have their own, slightly different, interpretion of the bible to differentiate themselves from their competition. And, like corporations that exist in the same sector, each sect thinks that they are better than all the others and do not get along. While this is expected in a corporated culture, in a christian culture, are they being christian? No, unless you think of them as corps, then it all makes sense.
    You know, if someone studies mant different types of religion, mono or poly-theisatic, native american, or east asian, etc. and THEN CAME BACK to their original belief then all the more power too them, Kudos for at least exploring. But to not know your own religious history, or ANYTHING about any others, and to blindly follow that which was placed on you by your family and community, I think is narrow minded and ignorant. Years ago, I was reading a jewish publication (full disclosure: I’m not jewish), and there was a letter written by a jewish woman who had just found out that her son was gay. She had written in to ask advice because she just coudn’t resolve this in her head and hadn’t spoke to her son in months. The Rabbi wrote back, and it had a profound effect on me, was to tell the woman to choose another religion. He wrote [sic], “If your religion will not allow you to love your son, then pick another, there are plenty out there.” I thought this was brilliantly insightful, especially from soneone highly trained in their religious beliefs.
    People just don’t understand that just like a car, favorite restaraunt, favorite color or preferred breed of dog, they have the ability to pick a favorite religion/spiritual path. It doesn’t have to be chosen for them, and it should not cause inner conflict with your sense of morality or ethics! The fundamental problem is that your agressive, mon-theistic religions will do, and say, anything to stop their congregations from taking this spiritual journey which I think is critical to true peace and maturation.

    (sorry for the long post folks……as you can tell I’ve had a slow day :-))

  36. Kyle says:

    My apologies…….. for those who actually may care, here’s the post again with corrections….;-)

    Josh,
    Thanks for the links. In my honors class in undergraduate school we used to have many thoughtful discussions about some of those very topics. Mike I have to say, that I agree with you on all your points in previous posts that I’ve read. I call religion “inherited baggage,” where most people “inherit” their beliefs from their parents who, for lack of a better term, brainwashed them with THEIR beliefs. You know, we test drive cars, we try similar entrees at different restaurants, most of us date several individuals before we settle on the “right one”, but when it comes to religion, most folks don’t investigate, try out, or otherwise experiment with other forms of spirituality. And those of us that do, are often ostracized for doing so because independence is deemed a threat to the financial and power control of the church.
    The concept of “hell” was invented by the catholic church to scare people to stay in “the fold.” (A technique mastered by the GOP over the past decade-but that’s another thread). The evangelical movement and their 2 decade long obsession to take over any and all political offices are exactly about that power.
    Personally I believe spirituality is important, human beings have an innate need to have explanations for those things that they cannot explain, we are scared of the unknown and need a concept of the afterlife, and we want to know more about the meaning of life and spirituality does that for us.
    Organized religion, and particularly the evangelical movement and the Catholic Church before them, have taken spirituality and turned into a commodity designed to give them power and money. Churches today are the ultimate corporation. They are run by CEOs, have VPs and have become multi-national, multi-faceted, mega-million dollar enterprises. What do they sell? Salvation. What is their financial edge? Tax-free status. What is their marketing strategy? Coercion, fear tactics and/or the proverbial “carrot.” The new churches have targeted the youth and their music and sermons are hip-hop, upbeat, and charismatic and the ministers will say anything to try to capture their minds (and eventually their wallets). Have you ever noticed that whenever a popular company’s slogan or logo becomes mainstream, that the church steals that very slogan to endear the public to them? “Got Milk” became “Got Jesus,” Nike’s “Just Do It” became “Just Do Jesus,” and Wal-Mart’s “Always low prices. Always” became “Always Jesus.Always.” Now that’s marketing and branding!
    And like business industries and sectors who all sell the same “widget,” to survive in the market, you have to differentiate yourself from your competition for the consumer. Hence, the hundreds of Christian sects and branches. They all have their own, slightly different, interpretation of the bible to differentiate themselves from their competition. And, like corporations that exist in the same sector, each sect thinks that they are better than all the others and do not get along. While this is expected in a corporate culture, in a Christian culture, are they being Christian? No, unless you think of them as corps, then it all makes sense.
    You know, if someone studies many different types of religion, mono or poly-theistic, native American, or east Asian, etc. and THEN CAME BACK to their original belief then all the more power too them, Kudos for at least exploring. But to not know your own religious history, or ANYTHING about any others, and to blindly follow that which was placed on you by your family and community, I think is narrow minded and ignorant. Years ago, I was reading a Jewish publication (full disclosure: I’m not Jewish), and there was a letter written by a Jewish woman who had just found out that her son was gay. She had written in to ask advice because she just couldn’t resolve this in her head and hadn’t spoken to her son in months. The Rabbi wrote back, and it had a profound effect on me, was to tell the woman to choose another religion. He wrote [sic], “If your religion will not allow you to love your son, then pick another, there are plenty out there.” I thought this was brilliantly insightful, especially from someone highly trained in their religious beliefs.
    People just don’t understand that just like a car, favorite restaurant, favorite color or preferred breed of dog, they have the ability to pick a favorite religion/spiritual path. It doesn’t have to be chosen for them, and it should not cause inner conflict with your sense of morality or ethics! The fundamental problem is that your aggressive, mono-theistic religions will do, and say, anything to stop their congregations from taking this spiritual journey which I think is critical to true peace and maturation.

  37. Kyle says:

    Mike,
    Are we getting close to 200 posts?

  38. Kyle says:

    No…really?

  39. Kyle says:

    Seriously?

  40. Kyle says:

    Can’t say I haven’t tried!

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