David Weinberger is at it again. He is posting about markets as conversations. Cluetrain Manifesto is a book he co-authored that speaks to that notion. I read it a few years ago and enjoyed it very much.
Q: It's not clear to me if you mean "conversation" as a way of regulating markets or as a characterization of markets. And your notion of protecting the market from politics marks you as of a particular generation of social thinkers. I think we need to protect politics from the market.
A: I don't mean conversations as the talk around the market that regulates it. And politics and markets are interconnected.
Do go to his blog and follow his links. If you are interested in how churches could understand marketing, this is the conversation for you! Weinberger posts a link to a pdf that may be worth reading.
What I find encouraging about this line of thinking are the theological connections I can make. I am provided with a language that is helpful to me as I pastor churches navigating what it means to market a church. Marketing can be many things. One thing that it sometimes defaults to is deceptive coersion. "Eat this to be skinny." "Drive this to be sexy." Now, don't go thinking this does not work. Marketing companies and anyone selling anything knows that such absurd techniques actually work very well. But are these the kinds of things that a church should say? Of course not. One should not employ what is essentially decpetion to evangelize.
So, how do we understand marketing then in the paradigm of the congregation. "In the beginning was the Word." We have a conversation. We can invite people into conversations about us, about God, and perhaps most importantly in the end...about them. This is an inexact course of action/marketing, but it is an honest one and, I think, in the end, may be the most reliable if growth is supposed to be deep as well as broad. Discipleship is a conversation with the Living Word within the community who is the Body of that same Word.
Other words we may want to evaluate? Dictation is one. But this in my mind is not Christianity. The Gospels were not dictated from on high. They are stories, narratives that are communicated to us in an inexact form to convey a truth that is in many ways too large for words. What other words/ideas will be problematic in this?
Is it even possible to market something like a Living Word? Is this a contradiction in the theory? Well, no, not unless we think of markets and marketing as conversations. Conversations can be comparatively boundariless as opposed to soundbites or slogans. Models of hierarchy will matter here. Is it possible that a tradition like the Orthodox (Cliff?) will not be able to embrace these marketing theories as easily as some free-church congregationalist hierarchy?
What do you all think?
I will be in and out this morning. I'll be able to "okay" the comments if there are any after lunch.
technorati linkage: cluetrain, victor perez-diaz, marketing, evangelism