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Jesus Isn't A Brand Name covers how Christians tend to use brands or logos as symbols to set themselves apart from others, sometimes in not so flattering ways...and what to do about it.

Jesus Isn't A Brand Name

Even in the third grade, everyone at my elementary school knew the cool boys wore Converse All-Stars, Levi's 501s and a pin-stripe sport shirt. was the early 60's!  I don't know what was cool for the girls...they had cooties.  Not much has changed since then, except the logos and the prices.  I wrote this article so we Christians can feel the pain that our Christian brand-consciousness causes others and we can grow from that pain, away from exclusiveness to inclusion for the people who need His love the most.

Brand Names-What They Mean: 

Everywhere we go, we see signs that we have become more and more a "look-at-me" culture.  A few years ago, people would wear different color ribbons to show how much they care about a particular cause.  Now, I see, you can get those things for your car so everyone on the road can see how much you care.  I remember giving my lunch money to the Red Cross, not because I knew what they did was worth the money, but because I dared not go to recess without a button that said I was as caring as everyone else in class.  Can you imagine a third-grader who is that brand conscious?  Over the years, I've watched "cool" go from Beach Boys and Beatles to Hummers and mansion-looking homes.  Seems like everyone has to have "the" name in clothing, glasses, cell name it.  I recently watched the driver of a Mercedes sports car almost cause a 3 car freeway pile-up just so he could be first to the exit.  The gestures and expressions he was making at people suggested to me he felt everyone else was just taking up space on his road. Brand names are established to make a product seem exclusive, desirable, better than the rest.  People who want to say the same things about themselves are drawn to purchase the most prominent of those brands and display them as conspicuously as possible.  What does this "worldliness" have to do with Christians, you ask?

Wearing Christian Badges: 

Unfortunately, we have our special brands, too, that let everyone know how special we are.  In the third grade, it was a cross pin or necklace, but the brand has evolved into things beyond my belief.  I remember a Senior Pastor of a large local church bragging that he had to receive $ 35,000 in the offering every week just to make the mortgage on their building.  He considered it a badge of his, "faith."  I think it was the faith of his congregation, and maybe misplaced.  We've all watched Christians condemn those "in the world" for their sins, while at the same time excusing their own.  It's like we think, because we go to church and give money, we have an exclusive right to wear the Jesus brand name so we can behave any way we want while condemning people who aren't wearing our brand.

Want a little hypocrisy test?  Show me in the Bible where it says homosexuality is any worse than gossip.  We have Christians with fish on their cars, honk-if-you-love-Jesus bumper stickers, Gospel ring-tones on their cells who are cutting people off on the freeway, shoving to the front of the line, stealing from their bosses with slow sloppy work, cheating on their taxes, stiffing waitresses of their tips, lying to their wives and business partners, all the time wearing all these badges that say, "Ain't I something!"  I have nothing against those Promise Keepers logos but look at it from an outsider's perspective.  Things like that seem to tell the world , "I'm better than you."  Isn't that what you're trying to say when you put a cross or a fish on your business stationary, "I'm better?"  Since when did Christianity become an exclusive gated community?

Putting On Jesus: 

Jesus didn't come to be exclusive, but inclusive.  We have the ministry of reconciliation, not condemnation.  Let's take off all those Jesus badges that divide us from the world and put on Jesus to go into the world.  When we put on Jesus, we won't need logos because He will shine through us from the inside, showing others love and acceptance, helping others with their problems...being a light for them.  Let's not lift ourselves up in pride for something He did.  There is no difference between us and the world except what Jesus did.  To claim that we're something special denies Him.  Jesus is special!  Lift Him up and He will draw everyone into an inclusive club, where considering others more important is what makes you special.

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