Why Content is Purpose

Experienced: So this summer I am working at a Talent Science company (pre-employment assessment, coaching and development strategies, applicant tracking–the whole sha-bang!). I’m working on revamping their sales certification program which means lots of hanging out with charming salesmen (some with accents!), reading old training files (some also with accents, less charming) and writing a comprehensive curriculum so a new sales rep can go through my program and be TOTALLY READY to take on the world and sell, sell, sell this product.

For those of you who know me well, this won’t come as a huge surprise, but for those who don’t–I love writing curriculum. I am genuinely passionate about it. Granted, I usually write for 12-18 year old kiddos that I love, teaching them about Jesus who I also love. 

This project for the summer has proven to be massive and ever-changing. As I’m nearing the end of my internship, I’m too this weird place where there is purpose-driven visioning discussions happening, and my project gets thrown into the mix of it.

So here is Marianne, immersed in curriculum development–charts, interactive scare simulators, bullet points whirling around my cubicle–whenall my content has to be questioned, because it may not fit into the new pursued purpose.

So I am stress and biting, broken finger nails and tired, typing shoulders and screen-strained eyes and whirlwind mind full of nothing but: fine curriculum creation and breathing…when I go to the Half-Price Books. 

Observed; I go to the “Christian Living” section looking for an awesome book a friend mentioned recently when I notice a copy of “Good News About Injustice.” And I read the back cover about how God has called and equipped Christians to be a “witness of courage in a hurting world” but loving on our neighbors the way they were created to be loved. That means really, actively engaging in social justice. 

I thought it was neat and unlike a lot of the things in the section. Then that was troubling to me.

I wouldn’t be able to count the number of books that teach about saving yourself for marriage or not reading Rob Bell (both entirely separate issues…) but I only found one telling us to step up and starting fixing the things that are afflicting our neighbors. 

That content doesn’t show our purpose.

Or does it?

Questioning: The company I’m interning at has a specific mission for the company, for each individual client, for each individual employee’s growth, and for the industry as a whole. Consequently, the content of their marketing strategy, their customer service conversations, their training curriculum, the posters in the office, THE KIND OF STICKY NOTES THEY BUY–ALL of is a manifestation of the mission(s) they have set out to do. Sometimes that means making the intern start over. Sometimes that means making a lot of people start over. Sometimes that means everyone has to start over everyday. (This probably is not true for the company, but it might be true for us as a church.)

Think about this company. If all the content they created (in text, in speech, in action) did not mirror their purpose. Then what is their purpose?

How is it that only one books’ worth of ‘Chrisitan Living’ is centered around healing God’s people from the root of the evil that is afflicting them?

I don’t think it’s because the Christian community consuming these words so wildly that they can’t be kept on the shelves.

I think that when our purpose does not drive the content of our book shelves, our Sunday school lessons, our barbecue conversations, our own minds and hearts–then whatever the content is there proves our purpose.

So what purpose are we proving?