One of the geekier things I find to do with my time is check in weekly with the Uni-Watch Blog which dubs itself “the obsessive study of athletics aesthetics.” I haven’t bought a pair of jeans in well over a year and I couldn’t tell a Christian Dior from a Gucci, so it’s certainly not about a love for fashion. (In other words, I’m making a case to keep my man card on this one.)
For some reason, I’m fascinated with how college and sports teams brand themselves. From logos to the team colors to the uniforms to even examining the font type they use when creating the logos, I always thought it would be so much fun to make decisions based on how I would want my team’s brand identity to appear to the public.
Some are timeless. The University of Texas Longhorns football team, the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Yankees, and the Dallas Cowboys have all had essentially the same uniforms for the last 40+ years. Others, like the Cleveland Cavaliers, can’t seem to make up their mind and when a team goes from red and gold to blue, orange, and black to blue, gold, and red to red and gold it says to me they really don’t have a consistent identity. They’re flaky and spineless and the win column seems to agree.
It’s led me to examine my brand as a Christian. What does it mean, “to be a Christian?”
The pope is a Christian and I can’t say I’d want to devote my life to pious celibacy but he’s certainly a good guy to align with based on his works. Oprah says she’s a Christian, and she loves to make people go into screaming fits when she gives them extravagant gifts. Beyonce calls herself a Christian. She makes amazing music and seems like a genuinely good, socially conscious person.
I’m certainly not perfect, so who am I to judge? Yet, if the pope, Oprah, and Beyonce are all Christians why do their public personas draw little to no parallels? Why is there zero consistent brand identity?
If Christians are followers of Christ then, no matter how different they’re made to be, shouldn’t Christ be the prevailing theme about their life? I’d like to be clear in that I’m casting no judgment on those mentioned above, only questioning what it means to be a Christian and why we see such a wide variance.
To me, it seems that to be a Christian is now just simply to be nice as much as possible, to not judge anyone, and to keep controversial convictions to yourself. Is that what our Lord called us to? To be nice?
If that’s the case, I don’t want to be a Christian anymore. In fact, I renounce it. I’d rather be a follower of Christ. Any decent human can see a man is hungry on the street and feed him a meal. A follower of Christ views that meal as an opportunity to show him how to be fed for eternity.
Celebrities of all beliefs have come forward to help victims of hurricanes in New Orleans and the East Coast in recent years. However, followers of Christ view these catastrophes as an opportunity to give time and resources in order to make His name famous, not just to rebuild a home.
I have yet to meet someone in his or her right mind that can say Jesus was a huge jerk and we shouldn’t live our life like Him. I wholeheartedly believe His life was important. It’s a blueprint of instruction for living but that doesn’t take much faith. Scholars from all schools of thought can agree that Jesus lived and because He was so inspirational, it’s easy to call ourselves “Christians” and to align with that identity.
However, why are we as a Christian culture so focused on His life? He wasn’t born just to live. Jesus Christ was born to die and to resurrect. It doesn’t take faith to say He lived. It takes faith to say that He resurrected full of grace and glory, King of all nations. It’s that conviction and that identity that compels me as a follower of Christ and it’s through that compulsion that I endeavor to find all motivation.
Have a conviction that He lived and you’ll be compelled to kindness. Have a personal encounter with the Christ who died and lives for eternity, and you will take with it a conviction that everyone you meet should experience the same encounter.
That’s what I want the “W. Brandon Howard” brand identity to be about. What’s yours?
*Photo credit: Knight725