Monday, September 19, 2011

Rebranding

'Brand' photo (c) 2011, Rupert Ganzer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
Oh Netflix.

I am a huge fan of Netflix. Huge. I was a fan back when it was just DVDs and then an even bigger fan when I could start streaming. Even when they recently jacked up their prices big time, I remained. Because I can watch pretty much any movie ever within a day or two (or sometimes a few minutes) of when I want to, and really seventeen bucks still isn't that much in the grand scheme of things.

I'll be honest though, this whole rebranding thing where they somehow decided that the best way to fix a perceived miscommunication with their subscribers is to further complicate things by making two non-integrated websites is trying my patience. Now I can't see if the movie that is in my DVD queue is already available for streaming. My ratings of the television show that I just watched on my computer won't be counted in the algorithms over at the DVD side of things. Plus, they called the DVD service Qwikster. With a W. Because celebrating illiteracy is totally fun.

But I can't point fingers too hard at Reed Hastings. We Christians love rebranding stuff too. And it can be confusing and unhelpful as well.

Like hell.

At some point, the whole idea of burning in a lake of fire for all eternity seemed to lose its cachet with a number of people. Instead of talking about hell, we started just saying "separated from God." The idea didn't change, just the way that we talk about it.

I don't think I understand how that helps.

To the Christian, that is still a torturous existence.

To the unbeliever, it's pretty much how life is today.

So what's the purpose of the rebranding of hell? We still end up with an "in" group and an "out" group. Those on the inside still get to imagine people getting paid back for unbelief. We just get to use more gentle language so we don't feel like the sweaty guy standing on his soapbox, screaming at college students to repent.

What does the unbeliever gain here? They aren't any more aware of God's love, because the message is still that he's going to reject you for eternity if you don't believe. They aren't more aware of the love of those around them because they're still being placed in the out group. The message of rejection is the same, just now without the element of fear as a motivator.

One comment over at the Netflix blog said that Netflix is missing out because they lost their focus. People don't care about "streaming" or "DVD" - Netflix has always been "where we get movies." The service is what we care about. When the focus shifted from the service to the means, it has caused a mass exodus.

Dear Church, let us not do the same.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.
John 3:17, NIV


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What do you think is the primary service of the Church? Are our means in line with our service?

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