Reservations about “Still Speaking 2.0”

Here is my obscurely-posted comment (I was the first to add a comment) on the test-marketing of materials for the new UCC markting postcards.  Story is found here.

COMMENT:

I’m having trouble finding a place to post my own thoughts about the postcards and marketing scheme.  All I found was an email address to record reactions of those receiving them.  But I think the pastorate deserves a distinctive voice in this process.

First, I am a ministerial partner (CC(DOC)); so perhaps I lack an insider’s viewpoint.  (To be fair, however, I am working hard to strengthen my congregation’s ties to the denomination.)

Let me say that the materials are very well done: witty, clever, succinct, and yet carrying some very important messages.  I might use a few of them; however, I generally avoid the Still Speaking marketing.  Here are a few reasons:

1. I think the ubiquity of marketing is at the heart of the problem our culture faces.  Marketing is at least to some extent another form of the manipulation of power.  To so thoroughly embrace marketing techniques, including defining oneself so directly against one’s opponents who remain faceless and voiceless, is contrary to the best spirit of the Bible and tradition.  Perhaps what people are most authentically longing for is a way of being community purified of dehumanizing manipulation.

2. I could never get on board with giving Gracie Allen such a central voice in defining the UCC.  With so many great religious and theological leaders to draw from, this choice lacks seriousness and integrity.  So the wink-y comma is out for me.

3. “God is still speaking” can be taken in a direction I think is very important, or in a way that simply trumps the Bible with whatever conventional wisdom reigns in 21st century lefty/libertarian America.  The postcards mostly avoid the latter, I think.  But I remain skeptical that “universal affirmation” is really a concept that resists the libertarian (“liberal” in that sense) status quo of our culture.  Besides, doing so requires a fairly rough treatment with Scriptures.  I’d like to see us think more critically and to be more searching–but those are ways of being that marketing generally has no time for.

I recognize, however, that since we are in a “culture war,” the sublimated violence endemic in this “campaign” may in fact be the best way forward.  But I hope not.

Bill Wright

Church of Christ, Congregational (UCC)

Granby, MA

 

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