Archives for: July 2009

Value-Added Resellers

In the software world, we have this thing called the "VAR", or "Value-Added Reseller". You see, a company like Microsoft or Intel rarely sells you just the part they make; instead, some corporation somewhere packages up hardware from Intel, software from Microsoft, popular add-ons, and some of their own software, and sells you the integrated package. These folks are critical to the phenomenon of Consumerism--they make consumption easier by tailoring (and retail-oring) products to various markets.

In Christianity, we have these too, only we call them "preachers", or sometimes "pastors". Both terms miss the mark; or rather, we miss the mark when we become VARs instead.

If you take segments of the Bible and explain how to apply them to the lives of Christians, you're not a preacher. Preachers announce events; Christian preachers announce the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Many who call themselves "preachers" today instead package up scripture, writings of saints (both ancient and modern), popular culture, and personal anecdotes into an integrated package. These folks are critical to the Consumer Church--they make consumption easier by tailoring products to various markets.

If you do this an a regular, structured basis, maybe weekly on Sunday mornings; if you don't expect your congregation to recall your sermon from last week: your messages enjoy the benefits of "planned obsolescence". The consumer must spend time again and again to obtain fresh, useful product.

Consumerism is only possible in an economy where people have more than they need. The excess is displayed and must follow constantly-changing fashion, trends, and styles to maintain and even grow itself. If you are an emergent church; if you are a red-letter Christian or (gasp) a Christian hedonist: your sect is well on the way to giving people more than they need at a self-perpetuating cost, with aristocratic group membership to boot.

Why do we feel the need to explain the words of Jesus when he himself rarely did? When he fed the five thousand, did he then preach a sermon for an hour or two explaining himself? Why then do we? He obviously thought his actions were self-explanatory, even for the ordinary, what we would call marginally literate, men he called as his disciples. Perhaps we do so because ideas are easier than actions. Perhaps our surplus of words and ideas is fostering a Consumerist Church.

VARs repackage and sell. Preachers announce. Pastors abide with, correct, sometimes save, and usually love their flock. I'd rather be a pastor.

And no, the irony of me blogging about too many words is not lost on myself... ;)

Permalink 07/26/09 06:12:58 pm, by fumanchu Email , 448 words, Categories: Misc , 9 comments »