Eikons and Marketing the Gospel

Apparently, being made in the image of God comes with a few limitations, especially if that image happens to be a bit cracked.  Oh, yeah, don't forget that Eikon is the Greek translation of the Hebrew term for "image".  If you've read McKnight's A Community Called Atonement (see 1/31 post) through chapter three you already know that.

Speaking of an exercise in postmodern humility (chapter six), I can't recommend enough Stephen Toulmin's Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity (see my review of Toulmin's analysis of the traditional view of the 18th century) 

The arena of the 18th century isn't ours, but questions he provokes are certainly applicable.  Theology does not take place in a vacuum.  We all do our knowing, thinking and believing from a vantage point that is limited, historical, and dependent.  The modern decontextualization of all reality, including theology, has the dangerous potential of homogenizing spirituality, turning God and religious experience into products to be marketed at the global level.  

A faith maintaining any links to a particular history, a particular way of life, particular symbols and rituals, or a particular institution, remains limited in its marketability.  Therefore, those overly influenced by the market mentality will most likely dismiss such a faith. 

Have you seen how religious symbols are often reduced to marketing tools?  This is most evident in today's plethora of church curriculum, programs and marketing strategies, which offer uniform packages of interpretations and judgements for delivery to every place.    




About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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