In our consumer culture, branding is everything. For example, Starbucks and Apple don’t just market products and services. They sell an experience, an identity wrapped up in their product. It’s common to hear, “I’m an Apple girl.” Or, “He’s a Starbucks guy.” Brands reflect who we are, our very identity.
The problem is when we associate Christianity as just another brand. Our faith ends up being a sort-of accessory or label we wear, often without the transformed way of life taught by Jesus himself. Faith becomes shallow. “I’m a Christian” is professed in the same breath as “I’m a Canucks fan” (often with less passion). Christianity ends up as just another choice among the many choices we make each day. And then we wonder why we struggle to be competitive and offer a product that is appealing to the masses! This is a troubling reality.
In The Divine Commodity, Skye Jethani offers an inspiring alternative:
Rather then putting on a “Tommy Hellfighter” T-shirt, a “Got Jesus?” bumper sticker, or “Jesus Is My Homeboy” underwear (all real products), why not follow Paul’s advice and focus our energy toward putting on “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Col. 3:12). This is how our identity is revealed, not by the brands we display, but by faith working through love. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:35). Christ’s true people are branded with love.'Successful' Christianity, then, while deeply counter-cultural, is profoundly simple: "Love one another" (1 Jn. 4:7-21). Brand that!