According to an apocryphal legend, Sir Ernest Shackleton placed the following ad to recruit adventurers for his journey to Antartica:
“Men wanted for Hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”
Can you feel the allure? It will be incredibly difficult, it might not succeed, but imagine the camaraderie, the challenge, and if we make it - oh, the unparalleled honor!
But though Shakleton never wrote this ad, it still stirs our hearts.
Perhaps because it is an echo of Mark 8:34-38:
Calling the crowd along with his disciples, Jesus said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life? What can anyone give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Is this different from the marketing you see for Christianity? ‘If you become a Christian and join our church, you’ll be part of a loving community, middle class and upwardly mobile, happily married with 2.5 kids, and going to heaven when you die.’
I wonder, how do you think we should communicate what it means to be a Christian?