Friday, May 30, 2014

What the World Needs Now

I got a lot of page views and buzz off my post early yesterday on the Branding Process. Whenever I get that kind of wide and favorable response, I wonder if I just wasn't clear enough -- that people could read what they wanted to hear into what I said, and then hit that "Like" button.  Thanks a lot; I love affirmation more than just about ANYTHING in this whole wide world of numberless pleasures.

I said that I think we should ask ourselves what the world needs, and make ourselves known for being people who are trying to make that good stuff happen.

So, I am asking myself today, what do I think the world needs from us.


I want to recommend two things: Clarity and Relevance.

People have a lot on their plate. Everything from keeping the kids from putting beans up their noses at the dinner table to their jobs, commutes, home repairs, and on to possible deportations, cancer, climate change and drug resistant bacteria. Also asteroids, because just one could destroy everything.

What the world needs from us is clarity about what is of ultimate importance. The world needs us to be clear about what time it is on the clock of the world. There is a great story unfolding, of humanity befriending itself, we hope, in time to prevent the destruction of everything in a war of all against all.

But if that story is the most important, then how should I live?

The world needs us to be both clear and relevant. People look to their religious community for a sustainable pattern of living, appropriate to their stage of life, that is centered on what is most important.

The church/congregation is the point of connection between individual persons and families and the whole of the larger world. It's where all of life is welcome, from the most personal anxieties to the broadest social issues. We are relevant to the extent that we can demonstrate the connections, between the personal and the political, between the people we know and the stranger at the door, between our history and our future, between the lives we lead and the desperate drama of our shared human hope.

What does this have to do with branding? When people think of us, they should think this: real people living sustainable lives to make love concrete.


2 comments:

Edmund Robinson said...

Beautiful, Tom I love your last sentence And I think clarity and relevance are high values right now, perhaps supreme But there is a conceptula problem, as I'm sure you are aware, with asking the classical liberal question: "what is the most important thing for us to worry about?" For we will each come up with different answers, and the debate will absorb all our energy. Howard Thurman had the best answer to this classic question: Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Elz Curtiss said...

In response to Edmund:

If we're coming up with a different answer each time someone asks "What is the most important thing for us to worry about?" then we haven't yet reached the most important things. Reminds me of the old saw that the only folks who take the Bible literally are the Baptists and the Unitarians. Myers-Briggs says we're a denomination that can't control a dominant "SP" combination -- we see details of each eye-full, try to systematize it -- and then see something else and run to that, coming back to the systematizing as false comfort. (Or maybe that's just myself)