7 February, 2002

( 1:12 PM )
I’ve spent most of the morning setting up and stage-dressing a shared blog for some friends to talk about theological topics at the Theoblogy Seminar (dead link, alas). Steve Webb is outta control, racking up the postings at the moment, but I’m hoping other folks will join in.
Dave and David, here’s one difference between “preaching” (and here I’m referring to preaching in the best, truest sense, however rarely that may be exemplified) and “marketing”: preaching should be an intrinsically non-profit, disinterested enterprise, whereas marketing, as best I understand it, is intrinsically “interested,” and has a lot at stake in “profit.” Now, a gold-star, beneficent, Love Is the Killer App marketer may order his energies to the end that “everybody profits”–but I still sense a difference. Preaching should be like the anti-Enron: no effective auditing of income and outflow, not because someone wants to pull something over on others, but because the well-being of others is the absolute, only, ultimate and exclusive telos of the practice. If marketing succeeds at helping others profit, but at the cost of its own bankruptcy, then something’s wrong with the equation–isn’t it? Saints and martyrs are positive exemplars in preaching; calamitous bankruptcies are not positive exemplars in marketing.
I must admit, though, that every time I try to articulate that difference, I can hear a marketer saying, “That’s just like me,” and I suppose that someone will tell me that bankruptcies are good marketing, too. But I’ll wait to be persuaded of that.
( 10:22 PM )
I’m thinking about persons, identity, presence, voice, and corporations. Fair warning — blog ahead.

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