I was in the grocery store the other day, checking out the kids cereal aisle. Since I moved, I’ve been trying out different cereals each time I go to the grocery store. The first time, I tried Apple Jacks (one of my all-time favorites). Then I tried Honey Smacks (another excellent choice). Most recently, I picked up Cinnamon Toast Crunch (okay, but gets soggy way too quickly).
As I was perusing the other choices, I noticed that Crunch Berries now had a bunch of other color berries in it (not just the red ones). I noticed that Cherios were now multi-colored and looked like Fruit Loops. Pretty much every cereal I saw looked pretty much the same as the others. They were all multi-colored O’s or balls (like Trixx).
After years and years of promotional stunts—adding new flavors & colored marshmallows—the end result is that there is very little uniqueness in the cereal aisle.
And it’s not just cereals. I wanted to buy a bag of Starburst and discovered several choices of Starburst. There were the normal flavors, sour flavors, and jellybeans. Don’t even get me started on M&M’s. They have like ten varieties!
I don’t want to sound like an old fogey, but you can’t beat the originals. They were the best. They were really good, unique products—then some new marketing exec comes into the company and tries to temporarily raise sales by making some minor change to a stellar product. As turnover takes place in the company, and the business units fail to find other ways to increase revenue, more marketing execs decide to tinker with the product—adding more marshmallows and flavors.
The end result… Loss of uniqueness. A watered down brand. They’re mallowed-out.
Aside: I know there’s a universal application to this somewhere…
The same thing has happened with Christianity. You started with a stellar, unique “product” like the Gospel message. It’s simple and compelling.
Then you get all of these ministry leaders (aka marketing execs) trying to make the simple product more appealing to the masses. They add some new gimmick or technology/practice into the mix in order to seem more relevant or unique. But after years and years of tampering with the product, we’re left with multiple church denominations and a mass assumption that Christianity is relative and emotion-based.
If you ask a random person to define Christianity, they’ll probably say something like, it’s a bunch of Conservatives telling people how they can or can’t live. Or that it’s an emotional crutch for people who want to feel better about themselves and about the things that happen in this world.
The Christian world is filled with marshmallows.
If you break it down to its original, simple message—you get something so shocking to today’s world, that only a very small minority is willing to communicate it in public.
God created man perfect. Man sinned and fell. God requires man to be perfect to enter Heaven. Since man cannot be perfect on his own—and since God loved man so much—God sent his perfect Son, Jesus, to earth to pay for the sins of mankind. Jesus died for man’s sins, thus giving man an imputed perfection—which will allow man to enter Heaven. The only way for man to have Jesus’ sacrifice applied to his account is to simply believe & have faith in Jesus’ sacrifice as the sole means of salvation.
It’s a very simple, step-by-step process.
That’s what Christianity is in a nutshell.
So, how did we get from this simple message to bombing abortion clinics, boycotting Teletubbies, and burning Marilyn Manson CDs?
The answer is…