My new goal is to think inside the box, which is increasingly hard these days. At the same time,because so many people are trying to think outside the box, I get a lot of time to myself. On top of that, I begin to suspect that those who have decided to think outside the box are simply in transition between boxes. They have only just arrived at their new box, and are still unpacking, living out of boxes. So to speak.
Then there are those who can’t find their box.
I wonder how it is possible for a species to be as gregarious as we are, and yet have so many individuals who have no idea that their latest triumph of individuality is actually a sterling display of classic herd behavior. This is why people get outlaw tattoos, and their behavior is about as outlaw as buying all the corporate logoed apparel that Harley Davidson has, and then driving their bike to Sturgis for that great motorcycle rally.
One day the shepherd said, “Think outside the box!” and picked up one sheep and threw him into the side of the barn, whereupon the rest of the flock charged into the side of the barn themselves.
Note to sensitive readers: I am not approving of the behavior of this calloused shepherd. Indeed, such behavior has my severest disapprobation. Still, one may take away the lesson without, one hopes, any moral compromise.
The same kind of thing can be said about developing and maintaining your “brand.” Doing such a thing can be entirely innocent (as well as being the opposite of innocent in a calculating, bottom-feeding sort of way). But my interest here is to make larger point that there is a counterproductive element in play. If we suppose that a book on “developing your brand,” defined as defining yourself against all the background noise, can make the NYT best sillier list for a couple years, what then? What happens when every single businessman in America is standing, as instructed, out from the crowd? Right. We find there is a crowd of them doing that, all together, saying things like “Think outside the box, people.”
The message of the hypothetical book is that you should not be doing what everyone else is doing. The problem is that what everybody else is doing is buying the book.
This is a topic that is worthy of further discussion because it is of the highest relevance to preachers and their ministries. In the meantime, I will seek to stay unbranded. For is that not my brand?
In the immortal words of that elf from Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer … “let’s be different … together!“.
You’ll know you’re really thinking outside the box when you come up with a different metaphor for “original thinking” than “thinking outside the box.”
Sadly, Doug, your “brand” is quite pronounced. And guess what? It’s not Reformed Christianity or Small-Denomination Trinitarianism, or classical Christian education. It’s not even your pompous punditry regarding things you know little about. No, your “brand” is clear — as easy to identify and no less commercial than that of Harley-Davidson’s. Your stock in trade, your modus operandi, your “brand,” is the gleeful defense of the indefensible, a defense wielded by your Serrated Edge and promulgated via numerous enterprises the Saints would hardly call “ministries.” Your beards, dark beers, and Disputatio robes are props. The substance? Grotesque theological error and… Read more »
Is Keely’s brand incessant ankle-biting?
Keely, what you hate the most is that Doug’s posts are cleverer and funnier than yours.
Just so, Tim. It puts me in mind of this passage: “Lord, I perceive my soul deeply guilty of envy . . . I had rather thy work were undone than done better by another than by myself! . . . Dispossess me, Lord, of this bad spirit, and turn my envy into holy emulation; . . . yea, make other men’s gifts to be mine, by making me thankful to thee for them.” – Thomas Fuller
The Bible is “one box to rule them all.” If one concentrates on the Scriptures, one is already thinking outside every man-made box, including, or even especially, the theological ones.
Keely, what do you have against beards and dark beer? Don’t you know the old saying “He who sacrifices his beard for a woman deserves neither.” As far as the “Disputatio robes” go, I don’t know what they are but it sounds pretty bad. Must be some kinda weird Idaho thing. Sometimes I just wish they’d stick to potatoes.
Christ has developed an entire income stream just from defending the indefensible. You’re in good company, Doug.
St. Paul had a good brand (Gal. 6:17).
Whoa Keeley! Lighten up! Sometimes we all need a giggle. Have you ever met Doug Wilson? Our family has and I can guarantee you his writings and life work have made a permanent difference in the lives of our family and in thousands of people’s lives across this world for the good and for the Gospel. The “Nattering Nabobs of Negativism” box is not going to get you anywhere in the marketplace of ideas. If you have a theological statement to make – then make it so something can be discussed.
Val: Your jokes remind me of my mom’s. She once had a breast lump removed, then threatened to send the doctor a thank you card that said, “Thanks for the mammaries.”
Keely may want to spend less time polishing her insults, and more time on substance (assuming she has any). Her comment is entirely opaque. Go look at it again. She seems to have tried and convicted Doug of all manner of evil, but her verdicts against Doug don’t provide any means for anyone else to reach the same conclusion; particularly when presented here on Doug’s own sympathetic front lawn. How is Doug not Reformed? How is he in theological error? How is he pompous or grotesque or egregious? These are vague and empty accusations absent any evidence. Could Keely acknowledge… Read more »
Seth, I hope I never have occasion to use that line, but if the opportunity does arise, well…eighth commandment, schmeighth commandment. ;^)
And Seth, though she is too much of a lady to say anything, Valerie is not such a fan of Val. You couldn’t have known that, but those of us who have been blessed to know her over the years do so know. And yes, she does have a delightful sense of humor, as I suspect your mom must.
I have learned to sit on my hands and not fuss about “Val,” but I’m ever so happy when my friends fuss on my behalf. ;^)
Yikes Keely, how many years has it been now? I think you secretly have a crush.
lol @ Mr. Carnahan.
“gleeful defense of the indefensible” – Like the Rohirrim, who rode laughing to Minas Tirith.
We’re gonna need a bigger box.
Allow me to summarize this post and discussion so far:
1. Pastor renowned for his unparalleled expertise in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, pop culture, psychology, economics, political science, liturgy, writing, education, nutrition, climate science, pastoral training, Old English, and midwifery attempts to offer an insight into marketing and business.
2. Someone claims that said renowned pastor has not always used his expertise to create unalloyed goodness.
3. People reject claimant above on the grounds that she isn’t funny enough.
4. People proceed to make bad jokes.
Am I the only one that actually enjoyed Keely’s comments? I have to imagine that Doug did, though I don’t know him well enough to know. For my part, they seemed eminently smirk-worthy, and as anyone who peruses the interwebs long enough finds out, a smirk-inducing post is something to be (mostly) treasured.