Every weekday

More, sort of, on sales.

Every weekday, I set up a little storefront here. I offer you 300 words. It will cost you time to buy them, at the expense of other words you could buy with that time, other tasks you could complete. It will cost you attention, focus that could be spent on other relationships. It will cost you peace, as you get frustrated with the words, or the thoughts behind them, or the claims on your heart. I’m offering and you are giving up something of value.


Every weekday, I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God, and I take a seat in this box. I offer testimony about what I have seen, what I have felt. There are questions from prosecution and defense. What I have said in the past is brought up, put in front of me, called into question. And I do my best to give a clear account of what I know.

Every weekday, I sit with a blank heart and Sharpie and begin to draw. The lines are usually just lines. Sometimes they don’t go much beyond that. And I put up a stick figure in this window into my heart and go to bed and get up the next day and start again. But sometimes, the Sharpie draws blood.

Every weekday, I put on my dungarees and my yellow hardhat and pick up my shovel and head into the mines. I’m looking for those 300 word nuggets in images John captured, in prayers David said.

Every weekday, I sit quietly. Bruised, confused, I read love letters. With shaky hand, I hold my Highlighter. I draw it over words, hoping they flow from my fingers to my heart.

Every weekday, so do you.

3 thoughts on “Every weekday

  1. Joel Neely

    Jon, thanks for the thoughtful discussion. I don’t regard “sales” as a universal metaphor, and tried to explain that in comments on Chris’ blog.

    You’re on target when you talk about value-for-value exchange, but I believe that the Christian perspective puts another issue in center stage. My definition of “value” may not match the world’s.

    Our contemporary society puts so much emphasis on “getting ahead”, and “looking out for number one” that I am wary of accepting the metaphors of that world to be the way (or at least the only way) I define my life. We certainly should follow Paul’s example of meeting people where they are, but Paul didn’t intend to leave them there, nor should we.

    Jesus used a rich vocabulary of parables to teach the crowds, but there also came a time when he spoke with his disciples, looked them straight in the eye, and said, “You’ve got to make a clean break with that world, and follow me, no matter what it costs.”

    He didn’t come to sell life, but to give life.


  2. Rich Dixon

    Storefront, transaction, exchange–Joel’s right, they’re useful metaphors that just don’t apply here.

    I don’t think Jesus was selling anything. No one could afford what He had to offer anyway, which was the whole point. He was the only one who could pay the price. Grace is not a fair exchange, and I wonder if we ever truly get our heads around that.

    Interesting that a single off-hand remark would be so provocative. It’s really got me thinking about this whole social media environment in which we’re advised to serve others. But it’s always subtly couched as “build those relationships before you need them.” So while there’s an element of service, it’s ultimately self-service.

    That’s great for a business blog. Here, sometimes you gotta bleed and get nothing back. Makes no sense unless you’re following a guy who set that as the model.

    Thanks for the reminder, for being willing to open your heart and encourage us to do likewise.


  3. Jon Swanson

    Rich and Joel, you are right about sales being a metaphor. And that this is a heart-poking, mind stretching conversation.

    1. You are right about Jesus. He’s not selling, he’s giving, buying.
    2. I, on the other hand, am selling. At least in the transactional way. Though last night Troy argued with me. I said that I was asking people to give their time to read. He said I was giving time to write.
    3. I reread Chris’ post and some of the comment thread. I think he’s pushing toward sales as a metaphor, and saying “Whatever your role in whatever organization you are working with, you are ALWAYS part of confirming the value and veracity of the organization’s ‘product’ or mission.

    The assumption that is true is why the Pepsi commercials with the Coke guy drinking Pepsi are funny. And clearly understood.

    When Jesus says that people will know we are his disciples because we love each other (John 13), he’s reminding us that to talk but not love, to have programs without infusing them with forgiveness when we screw up the program, undermines the credibility of what we are saying.

    When Paul runs through all the “if you do this but don’t have love” in 1 Corinthians 13, he’s talking about everyone needing to be about sales.

    I know. I don’t like the idea of being accused of selling. I do everything I can to not be a cheesy manipulative salesman for God. If you could see how emotional I am as I write this, you’d laugh at me.

    However, as long as we understand that we are using a metaphor that works very clearly for some people, and we say “Jesus is offering life. And a relationship with him. And it costs us attention and devotion and surrender. But it cost him more. Are you interested in knowing more?” that’s sales. And I am understanding that I can learn a lot from the metaphor.

    okay. sermon over.


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