Marketing the new iChrist 7s

May 17, 2014 § 20 Comments

Personally I think just telling the truth in and out of season is better than trying to treat Christ as a marketing project. The Good News actually is Good News, after all.

But That’s Just Me [tm], and I seem to be in a small minority. Most folks seem to think that we need to Game people into becoming Christians (or better Christians).

§ 20 Responses to Marketing the new iChrist 7s

  • Svar says:

    “Most folks seem to think that we need to Game people into becoming Christians (or better Christians).”

    I’m curious as to what you mean. I thought the Christian gamers were talking about gaming Christian women not nonbelievers?

  • sunshinemary says:

    I’m curious as to what you mean. I thought the Christian gamers were talking about gaming Christian women not nonbelievers?

    I think Zippy is talking about the idea that we have to “market” Christianity in a culturally palatable way and sort of seduce people into following Christ (please correct me if this isn’t what you mean, Zippy).

    But in terms of Christian gamers and Christian women…the answer is no, not exclusively, and in fact not even preferentially. Consider this from Vox Day’s post, The desexualized church:

    …I have literally never met a woman I dated at church. As an alternative strategy, I once suggested this:

    1. Meet a woman at a bar or night club
    2. Ask her if she’s interested in attending church with you

    One of my brothers took that advice a bit too literally. My thought was that he could ask a woman if she was up for attending church after going out with her a few times. My idiot brother instead walked up to a girl he didn’t know in a nightclub and asked her if she wanted to go to church with him. She said yes, less because she was interested in church than the fact that he is extremely handsome.

  • Zippy says:

    Svar:
    The post was prompted by this thread.

    That was the specific prompt. But really this has been the whole approach of much of the Church since Vatican II: “first lets ‘convert’ these modern people, then we’ll get them to change their behavior.” (Whatever it means to ‘convert’ someone while carefully hiding what it actually means to convert from them. I mean ‘being pastoral’).

    I’ve also noticed that the proposed Cardinal Kasper “pastoral solution” (that is, giving the Church’s stamp of approval to divorced and remarried Catholics engaging in public adultery and receiving the Eucharist) seems to rest on trying to make the Sacraments more sexy. This also goes way back: the marketeers were deeply disappointed by Humanae Vitae, and since they didn’t get their way they have spent the last several decades convincing even those who support HV that it was a ‘marketing disaster’.

    My use of the term “Game” was mildly tongue-in-cheek, although the New Evangelism definitely does seem to be trying hard to be more sexy than just telling the truth to people who really ought to stop engaging in sexual sin.

  • Zippy says:

    Sunshine:

    I think Zippy is talking about the idea that we have to “market” Christianity in a culturally palatable way and sort of seduce people into following Christ…

    Yes, exactly — even to the point of telling lies (or being very, very careful not to let the truth be heard) about sex and marriage, etc to (say) baptism-close the convert.

  • Svar says:

    Zippy, you are right about the Catholic Church but it’s not just us. It started out with the Mainline Prots, then us, then the Evangelicals, and now even the Orthodox. It seems that all contemporary Christians are being way too try hard and in the process are turning away possible converts who are disgusted by their lack of dignity while at the same time making the Church seem more hospitable to radicals who only seek to rip it apart(Rachel Held Evans-types). Also, just like with Game there is too much confusion and makes people think that the Church believes what it doesn’t.

    I think the best way to actually evangelize the faithless would be to take a page out of C.S. Lewis’s notebook and to actually talk about paganism/perennialist traditionalism to them on a purely intellectual basis so that they’re minds can begin to accept the existence of the Transcendent and let the rest work out by itself.

    I actually don’t even try to proselytize because when you’re hanging out with your friends no one wants to talk about God(for all the reasons you can guess, mainly because God can be a buzzkill and of course moderns hate having their buzzes killed) but politics and history and philosophy are fine and I guess that paganism/perennialist traditionalism fits well into all of those things.

    Another reason why I don’t actively try to proselytize is that I need to know what I am talking about when it comes to Christianity and I don’t know too much.

  • CJ says:

    I think Christians have turned to the marketing approach because they’re flummoxed by the culture and don’t have any clue how to approach it. Christians had way more in common with a Roman pagan than we do with a secularist, individualist, materialist, utilitarian modern. There’s no shrine to The Unknown God to use as a jumping off point for dialogue.

    Reactionary blogger Anti-Gnostic is fond of saying that the days of growing the church through adult conversion are over, and that Christians should focus our energies on building self-sustaining communities that nurture the faith in our kids. I’m not sure he’s wrong.

  • nickbsteves says:

    “first lets ‘convert’ these modern people, then we’ll get them to change their behavior.”

    Well if that’s what “gaming” people into Christianity means, then it doesn’t even live up to the principles of game, much less Christianity.

  • nickbsteves says:

    “Reactionary blogger Anti-Gnostic is fond of saying that the days of growing the church through adult conversion are over, and that Christians should focus our energies on building self-sustaining communities that nurture the faith in our kids. I’m not sure he’s wrong.”

    Outside of the very earliest (Apostolic age) church, I’m not sure when this was ever the principle means of growth. Christians should be outbreeding their enemies first, converting them at best second.

  • Zippy says:

    nickbsteves:

    Well if that’s what “gaming” people into Christianity means, then it doesn’t even live up to the principles of game, …

    Sure it does. It is all about “frame,” about carefully controlling what information the target receives and how she perceives it, all in order to get to the “number close” or other objective — or in this case the baptism or confirmation or keep-coming-to-mass-and-putting-money-in-the-plate close.

  • Zippy says:

    I recently read a blog post I will quote bits of here, with a few modified words, to express what I believe Marketing Savvy Christian neo-evangelical propagandists have deluded themselves into thinking they have been doing for the last fifty or hundred years (and it has worked so well!):

    [Modern man’s] brain is protected from any idea that [a traditional religious person] might utter no matter how rational or principled or heart-wrenching or correct it might be, because he sees the shape of the [intolerant Taliban] or the brown-shirted thug, which registers viscerally as low-status loser.

    Now the [neo-evangelical] propagandist—an alchemist of fine memetic poisons—knows this defense mechanism. This is not least because he was born [modern], took [modern] milk from his mother’s breast, was trained by [modern] teachers in his [modern] school, consumed 6 hours of [modern] propaganda per day for 20 years. Everyone knows [modernity] in keep[ing] with his stature and position in life, just as everyone also knew Catholicism in 14th Century Italy.

    [Neo-evangelization] defeats the natural defense mechanisms of [modern man] by not looking remotely [intolerant]. Or [Taliban]. Or even remotely [devout]. [Neo-evangelicals] may even have gay or Jewish friends. He might have gone to Ivy, or been so privileged he didn’t need to. These ideas might be a bit odd, vaguely [libertine], but older and far more exotic, and oh-so interesting, and such high verbal IQ, and (therefore) quite clearly harmless. This is how our [neo-evangelical] Alchemist strikes, he puts these carefully crafted, putatively harmless memes into the [modern man] while his defenses are down.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:

    I think Christians have turned to the marketing approach because they’re flummoxed by the culture and don’t have any clue how to approach it.

    I guess what I am suggesting is that we should stop trying to create a propaganda machine and just get back to proclaiming the truth and the Gospel.

  • vetdoctor says:

    Ah, but how to explain the Gospel to the unchurched? A stumbling block and foolishness is all they see. Quoting KJV verses about salvation is not preaching the Gospel. Yes we need to be honest and forthright in our preaching (teaching, showing) but understanding where they are coming from is important. I stumbled across this just yesterday but it seems apropos today (Apropros- if I had been talking to my FB friends I would have said appropriate, or more likely “COOL!” . For the intellectuals on this page I need a $0.50 word to catch your attention. I guess I’m guilty of Gaming) http://youtu.be/-3R2WuJFe5g

  • […] my previous post I made the radical offhand observation that Christianity really, actually is good news to those […]

  • Svar says:

    ” I guess I’m guilty of Gaming”

    You made me swoon, brah.

  • vetdoctor says:

    Want to get lucky and accept Christ as your personal savour?

  • Svar says:

    Already have, already have.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    Some noob said:

    What was defenestrated were several of the pillars of Christianity, and in its place was brought in marketing and psychology. People were no longer sinners, they were potential consumers of Christianity. The goal of the church was shifted away from boring old repentance and discipline, and towards convincing them that Christianity was pleasant, helpful, harmless, and comfortable; that it would improve your life both in quality and quantity. People in sales and marketing like to call those who buy many and varied things “discerning”; a fact that is belied by their multiplicity and variance. It was the Gospel stripped of all nutrients, coated in sugar, and believers as consumers.

    Think of this method as the applied psychology of churching. Churches being Christians institutions, you could call this disaster for American Christianity: Christian Game.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Vetdoctor

    Ah, but how to explain the Gospel to the unchurched? A stumbling block and foolishness is all they see. Quoting KJV verses about salvation is not preaching the Gospel.

    The Gospel–the Good News–is not hard to explain. It’s hard to accept unless you’ve been called. Contrary to what Zippy said (cribbing from St. Francis, I believe?): We can only use words to tell the Good News. You cannot live: Christ, the only begotten Son of God became a man born of a virgin; who lived a sinless life only to die on a cross for our salvation, and three days later He was raised from the dead without any other human’s interaction to ascend into Heaven until He comes again to judge the world. 10,000 plus fed with five loaves and two fish do not even tell that story.

    Any fear that the truly told Gospel will be seen as foolishness is the fear of being perceived as a fool; fear that others won’t respect us. The Bible itself calls the Truth a stumbling block for the foolish. We cannot–and should not dare to try–to straighten what God has made crooked.

  • …cribbing from St. Francis, I believe?

    In defense of the Saint, I believe that is a hugely deformed quote taken badly out of context. If I get the inclination I’ll look up the real thing.

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