Tag Archive: The Way

Sometimes I think I’m demented.  Something is wrong between the ears.  Those who know me are laughing right now, I’m sure of it.  Because I was born the last of four, my uncles used to joke that I was dropped at birth.  It’s safe to say my brain does not work the same as others.  My family was full of analytical brainiacs with accounting or mathematical analysis dominating our lineage.  Then along comes John.  

I could do the accounting.  I aced Accounting I and II as an Education major.  It didn’t make the business majors happy.  The only problem…I couldn’t stand it.  I don’t see the world in those terms.  I see colors.  I see so much more than two numbers added together.  Without question, I always felt like something was wrong, and maybe, just maybe, I was switched at birth.

That can’t be the answer.  I look like my father’s mini me.  At the end of the day, I’m more of a circular reasoner than a logical thinker.  It’s sort of like my kayaking treks.  Some people paddle down the river.  Not me.  I try every crossbow, inlet and swamp entrance I can find.  It takes the boring out of the paddle.  

I don’t know what anyone calls my condition.  I’m not sure anyone cares.  However, I love the context of the Bible, not just the words we read.  I want to know what Jesus laughed at.  We don’t find him laughing in the Scriptures.  He was a man, and he cried.  He had to laugh.  

I want to know what Jesus did for fun.  Did he play any of the popular games of the day?  Did they play “I Spy with My Little Eyes?”  How about “Would You Rather?”  I chuckle when I imagine Jesus playing “Would You Rather.”  I can see it now.  Jesus would be wrapping up the game with, “Now for the last one.  Would you rather spend eternity in hell or in heaven?”  See, I told you in the very first line.  I have a demented mind.

I would love to know what made Jesus cry when he came upon Lazarus’ family after he died.  I would love to know what Jesus talked about after his resurrection on the road to Emmaus.  I want to get an idea of the tone of his voice, especially when he puts the low down in a sense, on the Pharisees with the 7 Woes.  Sometimes I think we make Jesus like a robot.  No way!  Doesn’t a part of you want to know what kind of personality he had?  

I’ve been around some who make Jesus out to be passive-aggressive. Jesus to them is a cool, calm cookie looking to strike at the optimum moment.  Then there are those who make him out to be a Type A get-it-done type. Nobody wants to cast him as a Type D, but, then again, we sure don’t have him happy.  Maybe he was all three personality types. Actually, they now say there are 16 different types.  Really, my mind is swimming now.  My sarcastic side wonders if Jesus had a God-complex.  Yup, I’m close to losing it.  

I read recently where the Sermon on the Mount in the Bible is actually more than likely the CliffsNotes edition.  Do they still have CliffsNotes? They were the boiled down edition of the novel we were supposed to read and then write a book report about.  Those bad boys saved my grade point average without question.  Back to the main point.  The Sermon on the Mount is the edited version.  I want the unedited version.  Maybe then we can stop taking guesses about what “pure in spirit” really means.  

The older I get and the more I look into the Bible, I see colors.  I see so much more than the Bible teachers told me.  It’s a story.  It’s an incredible story.  In many respects, it’s an unbelievable story.  But that is just it.  It’s so incredible, but it fits together.  See, incredible stories don’t hold water.  This one does.  Unbelievable stories don’t have connection.  This one does.  

It really is a simple story.  We are the ones who make it an incredible story.  It’s God and a special creation called man.  Man has a problem.  He thinks he knows better than the One who set him up in an incredible situation.  Let’s face it.  None of us used to walk naked with God.  So man decided he knew better.  Then it all went south.  Most of the Bible is about how man tries to make it right.  He only has one problem.  He can’t.  God keeps trying to show him and grace keeps flowing, but man is so warped with the god complex that, no matter how hard he tries, he fails.  God gives man an out.  His name is Jesus.  He is the Son of God who came to set the captives free, bind the broken-hearted and give sight to the blind.  Man now has hope.  It rests in the sacrifice of Jesus.  All a man or woman has to do is believe and follow Jesus.  That’s it.  The early believers called it “The Way.”  I love it.  So beautiful.  They didn’t call it the First Church of whatever.  No sir.  It was “The Way.”  That’s about it.  

The gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell us what Jesus said about “The Way.” It’s pretty simple.  It boils down to…”Man’s way or God’s way?”  Man’s way has its problems.  God’s way is full of incredible love, indescribable grace and unbelievable mercy.  Now you choose.  Only, choose wisely.  

 I warned you I don’t think or process like the average joe. 

Branding is a very important element for a successful product.  For some 50 years our family owned and operated a Texaco station.  Texaco was very serious about it’s brand.  I don’t know if you would remember the jingle that went with the red and white star.  I can sing it to this day, “You can trust your car to the man who wears the star.”  That was a time in our history when customer service was very important.

Disney is another company that is very zealous about it’s brand.  They have been known to sue tiny, tiny companies who have infringed on their image.  They don’t want anyone or anything tarnishing their product.

One company that has played a bit with their brand is Coca-Cola.  I’m not sure why they keep tinkering with it.  Remember the disaster with New Coke?  Sometimes people don’t know they have it so good.  That might be the biggest brand blunder in the history of Fortune 500 companies.  But they survived by going back to their original product.

The NFL is struggling with their product. They are experiencing declining attendance and television ratings.  Last weeks Super Bowl suffered the lowest ratings since 2007.  For the fist time in my adult life I did not watch the Super Bowl.  The image is very important and the NFL image has taken a hit.

Some brands have held firm over the ages.  M&M’s is one.  Put a little chocolate on anything from pretzels to Carmel with a little “m” on it and it’s gold.  They do a ton of testing before their tinkering hits the public shelves.  They make sure their audience is well pleased.  That’s a smart company.  No use being disenfranchised just to create something new.

There are a lot of companies that have held a strong brand over the years.  Sure, they go through some dips and dives but they always seem to recover.  Right now, I can name a few brands and their image will come right up in our memories.  Starbucks is one.  It amazes me that so many people will pay so much for a cup of brew.  Sometimes it’s not so much the product.  It’s the consistency.  I remember pulling up to an off brand coffee company and ordering a peppermint latte.  Not far down the street I poured it out on the ground.  It was horrible.  For the most part we all know the coffee we will get from Starbucks and my bet is few get poured out on the ground.

A good brand is visible to the public.  It’s consistent.  The customer is very important and for the top brands customer service is a high priority.  Like my dad used to say, “customer first, everyone else take a back seat.”  They tinker with the product from time to time but in the end you know what you get.  The good brands aren’t afraid to admit they made a mistake.  Let’s give Coca-Cola credit.  Once they realize they blew it with the New Coke they didn’t force it on us.  They removed it from the market and didn’t hesitate to tell the public.

The more I read the Bible I see a brand.  Call it the Jesus brand if you must.  The early church called it “The Way.”  Later on it was the nonbelievers that called them “Christians.”  It meant literally “little Christs.”  When people met the Christian they were to met a representation of Jesus.  Fast forward 2,000 years and somehow we seem to have a branding problem.  No one quite knows what they will get on any given Sunday.

Jesus made it clear in John 13:34 and 35 what the Jesus brand was to look like.  He said, “love one another, by this the world will know you are my disciples.”  There it is…the brand.  Later on in I John 3 the apostle John expounds upon the brand by stating straight up, “this is how we know love, that you lay down your life for the sake of a friend.”  Put the two together and Jesus said (Ring version), this is my brand, love one another by laying your life down for each other and this is how they will recognize you and thus me.

Let’s see, Starbucks, Disney, Coca-Cola and Christians;  which brand would you recognize?