Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Jesus Fish

So this blog is really one big long question that I hope leads to a discussion. Here is the question and I will follow that with a discussion starter. What is your opinion of people that try to leverage their faith in the marketplace? In other words, what is your reaction to someone that advertises they are a Christian and uses Bible verses, "spiritual talk" (God has blessed me, have a blessed day, etc.) and the like in their advertising, sales pitch or even on their business cards?

I see it fairly often in the real estate business--"use me because I am a Christian and I will act with integrity because I am a Christian" or they have the Jesus fish on their cards or they have a Bible verse on their website--front and center. I also come across people in industries that work alongside Realtors (lenders, inspectors, etc.) that try to leverage their faith into the business transaction somehow.

I am a Christian. I like being a Christian and I am not shy about being a Christian. I will share my faith with anyone willing to listen. That said, I am not going to shove it down your throat and I don't really want you doing the same (or worse) with whatever you choose to believe. Honestly, I am very hesitant to use anyone that feels compelled to advertise their faith in a manner that seems to be directed at attracting business. I would rather find out about their faith by the service provider's actions. If you have to put it on your card or website in order for people to figure it out, are you really living it? When I see that, I instantly think of Pharisees praying on corners and flaunting their faith. Maybe I am too harsh.

Here is the rub though, I know that there are some incredibly strong Christians out there that do this. I feel like, unfortunately they are slighted by being lumped in with the bad apples. Bottom line is, for me (and I can only speak for me), seeing the advertising with Christian symbols, verses, etc. front and center instantly makes me question their motives and instantly makes me suspicious. Maybe I am not strong enough in my own faith. Maybe I am too cynical. I actually count "the Jesus fish" in business as a downside. Don't misunderstand me, I like working with other Christians, I just don't want to work with Pharisees. Show me your faith, don't just tell me you have it.

What do you think? When you hear an advertisement or see it on a business card what is your reaction (if any)? Do you trust someone who puts their faith out there like that? Do you think there are better ways to express and share your faith in the business world? How do you think God wants us to share our faith in the business world? Please share your thoughts.


Gary said...

Reminds me of a man who used to attend a Men's Bible Study I used to be a part of (and, no, not that one.) He used to brag about how humble he was. "I'm really humble and that's what everyone loves about me-my humility." I think it's pretty similar to openly market one's Christianity the way you've described. It's far from praying in your "inner most closet". I also think about when Jesus turned the tables over in anger. The people turned the temple into a marketplace instead of a place of worship. In using Christian symbolism to promote your business, is one "going out into the world' with their religion and sharing their faith or are they selling their souls. Very interesting question, Jonathan. I think I'll just stay humble and try not to brag about it.

Anonymous said...

I am personally turned off when someone "uses" this in their marketing as well. Always reminds me of a politician soliciting votes at church. Yes, I find that distasteful as well. Just rubs me the wrong way. Why is this business trying so hard to prove their Christianity to me? Makes me wonder what reputation or past experiences they are having to overcome with this means of advertising.

Jonathan said...

So I can understand the thought process though. I am a Christian. I am trustworthy and thus I want you to feel at ease with me. How do I convey this? Also, is it being ashamed of my faith if I DON'T put it out there like that?

Joe T said...

Though I have not seen a ton of this in the business world, it does irk me to see the Jesus fish on the back of a car or somewhere similar. I mean, what's the point? Is it a way of "proving" yourself before someone ever gets to meet you? And again I ask, what's the point? I agree, if I need a plastic logo as a stamp to know whether or not you are a Christian, I am hesitant to believe any true intentions. By no means am I "dogging" those that do this. I have close friends and family members that have their Jesus fish and use their spiritual talk. Bottom line: you don't ACT like a Christian, you LIVE like Jesus and that makes you a true disciple of Christ. Not a sticker or a bible verse used to advertise who you are.

Daniel said...

Undecided would describe my stance on this matter. What differentiates sharing one's faith as a part of their credentials from anything else that might be found on one's resume? Some lawyers might find more business by being able to claim partnership in a particular firm as opposed to other non-affiliated attorneys. Is this so different? Perhaps it is... I'm just not sure.

If I know that a client has a particular preference, is it immoral to employ a sales tactic that plays into said preference, thus becoming more attractive to the client? Of course, I'm assuming that the sales tactic itself to be an ethical, truthful one. Lying in any form to gain affection isn't acceptable.

Gary Hickerson said...

Good discussion. What's interesting is that I believe different generations look at this issue differently. In my field of work seniors have often shared with me they search out Christian's to do business with. When I ask them how they identify a Christian business they usually say by looking for bible verses or Christian statements in their advertising.

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