The July 2012 McKaughan Musing, by Paul McKaughan with MissioNexus:

Should Biblical instructions for individuals hold true for corporate entities like missions?

Flawsome: why brands that behave more humanly, including showing their flaws, will be awesome.

There is a corporate, as well as individual, element to growing in grace. Our community is to be a living, breathing demonstration of God’s original design when He created man and woman to live in perfect harmony with Him, creation and each other. Man’s rebellion and fall marred that whole image almost beyond recognition. Extreme individual and social fragmentation resulted. However, the individual and collective aspects of Christ’s Church are still to be a testimony to the Divine process of redemption and restoration. I think most of the individual instructions in the Bible have collective implications and application.

In James 5:10-14 there are some fascinating instructions. James says if you are sad: pray. If you are glad: sing.  If you are sick: call for the elders to anoint and pray for you in Jesus name, and healing will be a result. Because this is how things should be, St. James tells us to confess our sins and pray for each other so that we may be healed.

Here the confession and prayer are public. It is almost a “celebratory” ritual that affirms our common frailty and total dependence on God’s grace. It should lead to continual physical (and spiritual) healing. What about sick ministries? Can we employ the same remedy? I think we can and, in fact, we should. But that would admit our fallibility and we don’t really want people to know how often we fail, make mistakes. Ever since the original fall, we have been trying to cover our sin and nakedness.

Flawsome (not awesome) is a new word that just entered my vocabulary. This made-up word stumbled into my consciousness by way of theMarch 2012 Trend Briefing from Trendwatching.com.  Here is the entire headline. Flawsome: why brands that behave more humanly, including showing their flaws, will be awesome. 

Because of the internet, in our world just about everything is public. Having seen so much abuse of confidence, most of the public has a deep-seated distrust of organizations. Even the Church as an institution is suspect because of our very public scandals. Our highly publicized organizational sins demonstrate that we are not immune to ugly human failures.

Along with transparency and suspicion of institutions, increasingly organizational brands are, by the public, ceded individual human characteristics. In fact in the current political campaign the thesis that corporations are like people and should be granted the same prerogatives was being debated by people aspiring to our highest office.

Our failures, personal and corporate, we think we can hide. But the public suspects something isn’t right because they intuitively know no person or brand is as perfect as we present ourselves. Any feeling of authenticity is lost.

No one believes we or our brands can be perfect. To try to give that impression in this “transparent” world is to invite cynicism and the suspension of credulity. This is why the marketing gurus watching trends saw the coming appeal of the “Flawsome” organizational brand. The “Flawsome” entity behaves more humanly and proactively admits its flaws rather than merely waiting for the inevitable public exposure. This “Flawsome” brand, they predict, will be considered awesomely authentic in the arena of public opinion. This is also why I started this musing with James 5. The website’s “Flawsome” headline seems more Biblical than the average mission’s flawless campaign.

Today many ministries are not well, and instead of acknowledging our faults, we continue in our presentations and promotional materials to give the impression that all is well. Our failures, personal and corporate, we think we can hide. But the public suspects something isn’t right because they intuitively know no person or brand is as perfect as we present ourselves. Any feeling of authenticity is lost.

We are all imperfect sinners and upon confession and repentance, we can all rely on God’s promise of grace and forgiveness. Following the Biblical injunction, perhaps we can be healed and our brands become more humanly authentic.

In the James passage, the injunction to corporately confess our sins to each other includes all of us, the sick as well as the elders who have been called to pray at the bedside.  It was to be a public testimony of our deep need and God’s abundant grace.  We are all imperfect sinners and upon confession and repentance, we can all rely on God’s promise of grace and forgiveness. Following the Biblical injunction, perhaps we can be healed and our brands become more humanly authentic. We will, for sure, become more honest and “Flawsome” in the process.

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