A few years ago I read The Dip, by Seth Godin. He’s a bestselling author of marketing and motivational books, and I find his work interesting. For the most part, his ideas are common sense things we already know but periodically need to be reminded of by good writers.
“The Dip” is a “little book that teaches you when to quit and when to stick.” I bring this up not because I’m quitting this blog.
I’m moving it to a new location. And merging it (mergers can be good, yes?) I’m making it part of my Adunate business blog in order to be more efficient with my time and make best use of a larger readership.
So check it out at adunate.com/blog/ under the Communicating Christ category. Bookmark the site. Read and comment often! And take time to check out the other categories as well.
photo credit Debbi Smirnoff
So it seems Google—that search engine magnate labeled the most powerful brand in the world—doesn’t feel the need to compensate its creative talent.
Last week, The New York Times wrote of Google’s invitation to prominent artists to contribute artwork for its new Google Chrome browser.
Understandably, many of these artists felt somewhat hung out to dry. And, admirably, as much as they’d love Google’s exposure, many rejected it with outspoken opinions.
How does that relate to us and our work of communicating Christ?
Certainly, it doesn’t, right? After all, our churches don’t have the multi-billion dollar income of Google’s. Nor do we share its wordly mission. The church is excluded from respecting the work of creatives because, after all, it’s for the Lord, right?
God blesses people with creative talents, of which many use to earn a living. They study their craft and spend great time developing it. Their work, known as intellectual property, deserves respect. God also commands us to respect our nation’s laws and says, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men…” (1 Peter 2:13).
Here are a few things to keep in mind, as we show Christian respect to creatives and our laws.
- Graphic design, illustrations, photography, music and written words are all exclusively owned by their creators, including those posted on the Internet. To use them without permission violates the U.S. Copyright Law. It’s stealing.
- Fair Use, a section of the copyright law, offers a little leeway. However, it’s very ambiguous and contextual, and churches shouldn’t feel it offers complete exemption from the law. Church Marketing Sucks posted an interesting discussion on how it applies to religious organizations.
- Professionals work hard to create their craft. Just as a church compensates a plumber or electrician, so should it compensate a professional artist.
- Many professionals donate projects out of love for God and their church. Pro-bono, however, does not mean “no value, no time or no effort.” Creative work can command $50-150/hr., elsewhere. Respect this work. Respect the professional’s time, just as you would someone you were paying.
Epiphany…the twelfth and last day of Christmas. The day Magi visited the Holy Child. The day John baptized Jesus. Or, the day Jesus changed the water into wine.
Depending on the tradition, this ancient church holiday commemorates any one of these events. Above all, Epiphany (Greek for “manifest” or “to reveal”) celebrates God’s revelation of Jesus Christ as his own Son.
As a kid, I remember my parochial school teachers saying we shouldn’t take our Christmas tree down before Epiphany. Now, as an adult, I’ve grown beyond such ideas, not out of apathy towards a somewhat forgotten holiday but because our tree—which, by the way, we cut only three weeks ago from our own woods— had dried to a crisp and threatened to ignite the whole house.
Who cares about a tree?
Instead, let’s think of Epiphany as the celebration it is. A celebration of God’s love.
Being the mortal humans we are, there’s no way we can fully comprehend an immortal God. Yet, when God revealed himself as a man on earth— someone people could see, hear and touch—he gave us an opportunity to better know him, to more easily understand his saving grace.
Wow! God did all that for us!
Epiphany in those terms certainly outshines any effort we put forth in sharing our Savior’s message. In spite of that, we have our own God-given command to reveal his message and tools with which to do so—words, visuals and, oh, so much more. My goal this year is to use them to his glory.