Let Me Explain Something About Sales and Salespeople

Sales people.  Their allegiance is to the money, not to any principles other than greed.  Go into a sports store and they will sell you a Cowboys jersey OR a Broncos jersey – which ever YOU want.  (I understand there are stores just for one or the other, but those are exceptions, not the rule (and really, even though they are exceptions, that is only at a surface level).)  Really.  Think about it.

 

Yeah, the same company selling “Make America Great Again” hats (not to mention all the knock offs) also sold “Obama” hats just a few years before.

Go into any mall in America and find a shop that will sell you a book, a shirt, a poster, or a coffee cup with the devil on it, and the next novelty shop will sell you the same stuff with “Jesus” on it.  In fact, often enough, both shops are owned by the same company (or parent corporation).  And for that matter, you can find these polar opposite ideals on all that junk in the very same shop usually, and sold to you by the very same clerk.  You might even know her from church!

Getting the picture?

But wait there’s more: When a sales person makes a pitch (or the ad on TV, the radio, a magazine, or even if its just the display window or the merchandizing arrangements on a shelf), the subtext is that you are in charge of the world you are creating through the consumer decisions you make.  (Like the nameless protagonist in Fight Club says: “What kind of dinette set defines me as a person?”)

It’s not the real world.  It’s a parody.  The world of consumerism where your whole reason for being, it seems, comes to a head in that moment you make a selection and plop down your debit card.  It’s a rush.  A mini rush, but a rush.

Our tribal fathers of antiquities seldom purchased goods or services.  Instead, they worked the land or hunted and gathered it.  There is no doubt it was a rush to track and kill the beast for the feast.  But there is none of that for those of us standing in front of 47 different kinds of Suave shampoo (all of which do exactly the same thing) or in front of 26 different kinds of cola drinks.  We are no longer connected to the earth, to God’s creation (and where is the Creator in all that?).  We are connected to the mall, the supermarket, or even the internet shopping.  A world of ever expanding consumer choices to glut ourselves on, and glut we do.

And it’s almost all meaningless, trivial pursuits.  Have you tried the cheese poppers at Burger Box?  They come in 3 different sizes, 4 different flavors, and are all wrapped in environmentally friendly, biodegradable waste paper, just to make you feel conscious of doing something good with your purchasing power.  Again, as the nameless character in Fight Club noted: “I had it all… Even the glass dishes with tiny bubbles and imperfections, proof they were crafted by the honest, simple, hard-working indigenous peoples of... wherever.”

Sales people create this world and put you in charge of it as if they were your god and you were their vice-regent, but it’s not real.

Everything is new and improved (but is the world really a better place for it all?), everything takes out stains or solves every little problem (but do you still have cancer?), everything is ready for you “because you deserve it” (but if that’s the case why am I paying?)… “BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

Getting the picture?

Okay.  Where do you see yourself in this picture?  What air do you breathe that isn’t polluted with this nonsense?  What food do you eat that isn’t processed?  What clothes do you wear that aren’t stitched in a sweatshop in China or Indonesia?

Getting the picture?

Okay.  Where do you see your church in this picture?  Aren’t you glad you and your bunch are not “LEGALISTS” hung up on “RELIGION”?  You probably go where there isn’t a dress code and think, “God!  I am so glad we aren’t like those fundamentalists!  We have an open mind!

Does your pastor sell you Jesus – new and improved?  Does he get your stains out with no work on your part?  Does your pastor know his place and not bother with your sex life or the way you talk?  What about Jesus?

Getting the picture?

Is your Jesus a fake salesman selling you his Gospel?

Is there a fundamental difference between preaching and making a sales pitch or not?  And if there is, can you tell me what it is?

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2 comments

  1. Larry Who · August 4

    “Is there a fundamental difference between preaching and making a sales pitch or not? And if there is, can you tell me what it is?”

    Peter preached in Acts 2 and his words cut open the hearts of his listeners so that they said, “”Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter’s words were backed by the power of the Holy Spirit, which is what should happen when men or women preach.

    Whereas most salesmen depend upon their own persuasive power and not the Holy Spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · August 5

      Thanx Larry. Thanx for responding. Thanx for your insight and input. You are a true friend to this blog. God bless you.

      I concur completely about the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit brings to life what is dead. And since the Gospel is life-giving good news, the Spirit’s involvement is necessary and sufficient.

      Sales is a form of persuasion so very much akin to the Serpent’s exchange with Eve that I cannot see the difference. And, in fact, my mind is constantly drawn to the picture in Revelation 18 of the Fall of Babylon the whore. It is a picture blending the end sexual corruption and commerce. “Come out of her!” – or “PULL OUT of her!” is an extremely sexually graphic image, and while the People of God are pulling out of this whore, the merchants and shippers on their boats in the harbor are watching and mourning the death of this whore.

      I think this is one of those passages that should not be preached in front of the whole family. Like the rabbis of old used to not share Solomon’s Song of Songs with anyone under 30, I expect we should tread lightly in this passage unless we are preaching to people who are old enough to be married.

      Anyway, this kind of imagery haunts me whenever I go shopping. I love hearing about you checking people out at Walmart and praying with them. It sounds like spies in the land surveying it on a recon mission before God unleashes on the giants therein.

      But even more than all that… I am affected by N.T. Wright’s exposition of “THE GOSPEL”. He takes us to the Old Testament to see it in its ancient Hebrew context – especially in Isaiah – and we learn there that it is a royal announcement. It’s not just any good news. I mean, if my daughter drives away to college 100 miles away, and calls me when she arrives safely, that is GOOD NEWS to my ears, but it is not the same GOSPEL Jesus brings. Nor is it what a salesperson peddles to me. There is something else going on there. And of course, though the bit about my daughter driving to college is interesting, it also is NOT the actual subject under examination at this point. I only tell it to help separate out the bit that is.

      So then Wright explicates the Roman background of “THE GOSPEL” and once again we find it is a royal announcement, but Rome never announces Jesus is in charge. So even though their GOSPEL has the same shape, it is the wrong content. But it is still highly instructive to us.

      In the days of the Roman Empire, Caesar would send armies to conquer nations all around. He was constantly acquisitioning the next nation over. This meant war, but Rome was very efficient and skillful in warfare. But then once Rome conquered a nation, they moved in with the hearts-n-minds campaign. And this was where the gospel came in. Rome spread their gospel where ever they conquered a new territory.

      Here is how it worked: Men called HERALDS would ride into town after the surrender of the king, they would find a large stone or stump upon which to stand where everyone could see and hear them clearly, and they ANNOUNCED a royal message which summed up something like this: “Hear Ye! Hear Ye! I have Good News. The war is over! There is Peace in the land. CEASAR IS LORD!”

      You should be able to see by now that this royal announcement, whether Hebrew from ancient times or Roman from imperial times was NOTHING like a sales pitch. And in fact Wright points out that the herald never imagined saying something like: “Hear ye! Hear ye! I have Good News. If you are looking for a new kind of spiritual experience, you might care to try Caesar!” … that would be a sales pitch. That is something far more akin to what the serpent says to Eve.

      No. This is not just another option on offer. This is stating the matter of fact AFTER the WAR is won. And Jesus has won the war. And there is no room in his creation for all the sin being peddled or for all the sin being utilized in the production of the goods and services being peddled. AND in fact, all the peddling itself looks rather odd on the stage of God’s good creation when you really think about it. There was no peddling until the serpent began meddling. Seriously. Look at the creation accounts in Genesis. God made the world in 6 days and never made a solitary dime, nickel, or penny. Money does not, in fact, make the world go round. But Mammon is one of the false gods we tend to devote ourselves to BECAAUSE we have not heard and/or believed the GOOD NEWS that St Paul and friends have heralded all over the world which is…

      Hear ye! Hear ye! I have GOSPEL! The war is over! There is SHALOM to be had! JESUS IS LORD!!!”

      Like

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