We caught the “Heretics” episode of the This American Life last week on the drive back from Wisconsin. A superb listen – about Reverend Carlton Pearson and his New Dimensions church – best I’ve heard from public radio in quite a while (not that I’ve been able to stand listening that much). Pearson’s philosophy of inclusion is the closest I’ve heard something sounding like a Post-Scarcity Christianity.
I don’t remember a church service where the offering plate wasn’t passed around. Donations – dare I say – commerce – is baked into religious gatherings. Same goes for street performers and hat passing.
Outside of those two contexts, I’m drawing a blank on where same gather-entertain-donate model has been successful – especially not in the online realm. Hmmm – what would a successful model look like?
While commerce is baked into religion – the inverse can also be true:
“You see, the customers (and I am one) who make Apple what it is don’t purchase products. They (we) accept and enter a myth â€” a cult.” – Rex Hammock
Reminds me of my favorite L Ron Hubbard quote:
“Iâ€™d like to start a religion. Thatâ€™s where the money is.”
Keep on eye Pearson – he’s out to prove joy can be as financially lucrative as fear.
Oh, and I think there is a distinction between building a religion and building a cathedral.
2 thoughts on “Conversion Rate on Joy”
Gee, Garrick. I feel certain this is the first time I’ve reminded someone of something related to L Ron Hubbard. : )
First I want to say how thankful I am for the pointer to this show, I bought it from iTunes and listened yesterday –what a great show! I only wish that Pearson would go a little further…
But, unless I misunderstood (which is quite possible) you when you said,
“Pearsonâ€™s philosophy of inclusion is the closest Iâ€™ve heard something sounding like a Post-Scarcity Christianity.”
I think you have really misunderstood and misjudged Pearson…its not a post-scarcity Christianity”, a desperate attempt to get people in, it sounds rather to me that he (like myself and others) had a genuinely moving experience and realized how awful the doctrine of hell and exclusion are, and realized as well that it was incompatible with a God of unconditional love. Then he started seeing other possibilities. I went through a similar process…I don’t know what your faith background is, so I’m not sure how much to say here, but would love to talk to you more about it if you’re not following me here…
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