Friday, April 24, 2015

Jesus and social media - an email conversation


I've been looking into your work over the past few years and I wanted to offer my services.  I got your email address from someone in your company - so I hope this message makes it to you.  You may not have heard of me, but I've made a fortune for myself and my clients as a social media consultant.  

Usually I'd charge a lot for this advice, but I'm intrigued by your work and the potential to turn you into a worldwide brand.  To make that happen is going to take a lot of work and focused attention by you and your entourage.  Honestly,  I'm not sure those dozen or so people you're hanging out with have what it takes to take this movement global.  I'm mean a bunch of them are just fishermen, right?  How can you expect them to do it?  Look, I've seen it before, famous people often have to leave people behind to really make a name for themselves.

I've been in contact with Judas.  He said he's serving as your CFO, and he seems to be the only one of your board who has good business sense.  Judas asked me to send a quick proposal about the kind of changes I could help your organization implement.

First of all, your website needs a lot of work, giving your right-hand man, Peter, the 'site keys' to your digital kingdom wasn't such a great idea.

Secondly, your Facebook presence is uneven.  I mean, Jesus, you don't have to 'friend' everyone.  I can understand why lots of people want to take selfie's with you, but you don't have to put all of them on your page.  Especially the ones of you hanging out with people in bars or at house parties.   Those images (especially the stuff on TMZ) send mixed messages and can alienate your base.  Also, I've noticed that you ignore a lot of the twitter replies from religious people but anyone with a sob story gets a word of grace in reply.  Let me remind you to engage your primary audience.  It's those religious people who'll buy and read your book…  there's already a book deal in place, right?

Thirdly, you need to manage your message more.  Streamline it.  I have a lot of thoughts about this, but I have to mention one specific example related to branding.  You keep referring to yourself as the 'Son of Man.'  That title is confusing.  Drop it.  Other people are calling you the 'Son of God' - Why not use that moniker?  We could create a great logo for you in no time.

Fourth, you need to spend more time with wealthy donors.  Judas said you've disturbed a number of them with your political commentary.  All that talk about the poor is great for the crowds, but in private it would be better to focus on affirming the big contributors.  Keep threatening the status quo and they'll be less inclined to donate to your campaign.

Fifth, about the YouTube videos.  I've tried to watch them all - and not just the healing ones that have gone viral.  Look, I like the teaching ones, especially the "Sermon on the Mount" one uploaded by Matt.  It's got practical advice, which is good, but I think what you're asking people to do is unrealistic.  Let's ratchet it down a bit and lower expectations for your followers.  I mean, you don’t actually expect people to live like that, do you?  The healing videos should be the bulk of your digital content.   Oh, also, I like it how you tell stories.  Storytelling is hot these days.  But remember that your ticket to fame and notoriety is through your miracle work.  That's what people are clamoring for.

Finally, I've heard you're planning a trip to Jerusalem.  Honestly, some people in your company have shared with me the cryptic things you've said about what'll happen when you get there.  I've checked with my contacts in Jerusalem and the word on the street is that the establishment isn't ready to receive you.  I think going to there at this stage is a mistake.  It would be better to set up a worldwide tour (I can see the t-shirts now): NY, London, Rome, etc.  Forget Jerusalem for now - trust me, you could have a much bigger impact this way.

Also, as a personal note, I'm intrigued by what you've said about everlasting life.  I'd like to buy some of that :)

Kindest regards,

R.Y. Ruler Marketing Consultants



Thanks for sharing your ideas.  I'm not sure you really get my main objectives, though.  The only way you'll really get a handle on what I have in mind is by going on 'tour' with me.  Why don't you cash in those stock options of yours and come follow me?  Share life and what you have with the poor, hang out with me and my company and then I think you'll get a better understanding of what eternal life is all about.  What do you think?  I'd love for you to join me.




Unfortunately, it's not a good time for me to change jobs at the moment.  I'm sad I can’t take you up on your offer.  Maybe some other time.  I'll keep watching your career from a distance. 


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter and Buffalo Wild Wings

There's a story from Jason Micheli's book Preaching a Better Atonement that has been on my mind over the past few days.  Micheli tells of taking his boys to a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant and getting sucked into one of those trivia games.  Near the end, the group of competitors came to this question: 'During what Jewish holy day did Jesus die?Here's how Micheli described what happened.

"The guy next to me, the one on the phone with his ex-wife, asked his friend for the answer: 'Hey, you're Jewish.  What's the answer?'  And his friend looked up from his laptop and said: 'Yeah, I'm Jewish. I don't know anything about Jesus.'  So then they asked me, having been outed by (my son) as a minister.  And only because I was ahead of them on the scoreboard, I said: 'Passover, he's crucified during the Passover.'  The Jewish guy at the table, contestant #4, he squinted at me and said: 'That doesn't make any sense... Why doesn't Jesus die on Yom Kippur?' he asked me. 'If Jesus dies for our sins, like you all say, why does he die on Passover and not Yom Kippur?'  I think I probably blushed because I'd never thought of that before.  'That's a good question,' I said. 'It might be the most important question,' I thought."

Here's what Micheli has to say about Passover and Yom Kippur:

"Jesus casts his death as a Passover.  As an Exodus.  And that can only have one meaning.  For Jesus, his death will mean our liberation from captivity.  That's why, I think a stranger's question at Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the most important questions we can ask as Christians.  Why does Jesus interpret his death - why does Jesus schedule his death - in light of Passover and not Yom Kippur?  After all, Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement, the day when the people's sins are covered over by the blood of another.  Yom Kippur is the day when the guilt of your sin is taken off you and put on a scapegoat.  Yom Kippur is the day when your sins are washed white as snow and you're forgiven.  But Passover - Passover's not about forgiveness.  Passover's about freedom."

I've written elsewhere about the atonement and how our friends here in Mozambique best connect with what Jesus did at the cross.  And now beyond those typical metaphors of the atonement, more and more I'm coming to believe that the best lens we can use to view the death and resurrection of the Christ comes by way of exodus.

The exodus was the defining event for Israel and the resurrection of Jesus was the defining event for the early church. As those first Christians recovered from the initial shock that their beloved leader had triumphed over death, I think it began to sink in that this new event, the resurrection, had the power to undo all the destruction humanity had first released in the garden of Eden.  The death and resurrection of Jesus is the new exodus.  At Easter we are delivered from death, Satan and the dastardly effects of sin.  Forgiveness is apparently not enough.  We also need liberation from sin.  Why?

"Because sin - sin isn't just something we commit.  It isn't just something we do.  Just like the Israelites in Egypt.  Just like the Jews under Rome, just like the disciple sin Jerusalem - sin is also sometimes done to us.  By others.  Sin isn't just something we're guilty of; it's also something that binds us.  It isn't just something we need to be forgiven of; just as much as it's something we need to be liberated from."

May we be a people who experience true liberation through the death and resurrection of Jesus!

Happy Easter!!!

Grace and Peace,