Just after the table of contents of Richard Rohr's book Everything Belongs, we find this statement/poem entitled Inherent Unmarketability
How do you make attractive that which is not?
How do you sell emptiness, vulnerability and non-success?
How do you talk about descent when everything is about ascent?
How can you possibly market letting-go in a capitalist culture?
How do you present Jesus to a Promethean mind?
How do you talk about dying to a church trying to appear perfect?
This is not going to work
(which might be my first step).
The book is about contemplative prayer and how it is a great gift given to us but often not appreciated in the Western expression of the Church. These questions push against the temptation of the Church (and her leaders) to be more relevant and spectacular and powerful.
"How do you sell emptiness, vulnerability and non-success?"
The Gospel is not something we sell. It is not something that has a slick marketing campaign and it is not something that comes with guaranteed success, wealth, and/or luxury. It is the very thing that calls us to abandon those idols and leads us to the cross. For it is through the cross, where we die to ourselves, that we place our hope.
Success in the Church is just different. It looks like broken and contrite spirits. It looks like mercy and not sacrifice. It looks like doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God.
That sort of life does not get you famous or many followers. It may even be considered unsuccessful.
But success is not what we are hoping for. We are hoping for resurrection.