Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Branding vs. Unity

Today's daily devotional from the UCC office includes some challenging thoughts on unity vs. branding. Here's an excerpt from today's piece which is written by Richard L. Floyd, Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

When I was growing up in the 1950's and 60's there was real passion for Christian unity. It was out of this ecumenical passion that our United Church of Christ was created in 1957 as a "united and uniting church" with its motto coming from Jesus' prayer "That they may all be one."

That kind of passion for unity seems hard to find these days. Local congregations compete for members. Denominations stress their unique "brand" that marks them as different (and better) than other churches.

For the last 30 years we've covered ourselves with brands and labels such as "progressive, ONA, multicultural, multiracial, peace and justice, accessible", etc. In today's devotional Rev. Floyd emphasizes that sometimes we need to emphasize what we have in common with others rather than how we differ.

Over the years I've often poked fun at our penchant for labeling ourselves. Rev. Floyd's words bring back to mind the old John Prine song where the chorus beings with, "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore ..."

Our Unholy Divisions by Rev. Richard L. Floyd
-- Lavon Page