More than a decade ago I read a book called “No Logo”. The insights and awareness the author, Naomi Klein, about the power and manipulation that comes with global branding and advertising have stayed with me for a decade and counting. I have come to realize that some of the premises she embraced then apply equally to all kinds and types of brands and labels. Cultural brands have the power to manipulate. Institutional labels often echo the energy that makes them successful.
As I travel, I realize that most labels carry a mythology with them. While Christians are connected with Christ is be true on paper, it is often hard to find the connection through the individuals with the logo. The link between the theoretical and the practical in most faith systems is weak. At the crux of the reflection is a series of reinforced observations.
We are all human. There is far more that binds us together – specifically our needs, wants, and hopes – than what makes us unique. The very things that we use to define our differences – religion, values, and even choices – often reflect what we share.
Our aspirations are greater than our realities. We see life and ourselves through rose-colored glass. There is a correlation between the gap between the two and our ability to see ourselves. When we live in our imagination, the person we see is something born there as well.
We love labels that match our aspirations. I find a powerful connection that says that I have arrived, even when my reality is something very different.
The observations are about myself as well as the communities I find myself in. I wish I lived in a world with no logos. We could banish branding and advertising of all types. No conversations within conversations, each carrying a hidden agenda of manipulation. Let yes be yes, no be no. Let doubts be aired and discussed. Maybe we could even laugh and cry together. Until then I am left saying, “I hate all this silly religion, but you, God, I trust.” (Psalm 31.6)