Faith at Work XLI

December 2007

A number of people and organisations at the Science Park deal with marketing and enabling customers to be effective in establishing their business.  Two of the fundamental questions they often ask are “who is the competition” and “what is distinctive about your product.”  I was involved years ago with the development of an International Standard for the transfer of Engineering Product Data and it was interesting to have software vendors coming to the meetings.  Did they want to help us form a common core of capability or to assess where their distinctive edge would be in the future – a bit of both I am sure.  There is also little point in offering something distinctive that does not provides any special benefit; that becomes just a gimmick.

As we approach Christmas, we turn our minds to the gift of God’s son Jesus being born at Bethlehem.  It is easy to understand who the customers are: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life” [John 3:16] – no less than the whole world.  What is his distinctive edge?  That, at least from a Christian perspective, is easy to state too: “the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” [John 1:14] – no other faith tradition has such a claim, that the creative Word, God Himself, became human as one of us.

The evidence of the last few years, when we have tried to be politically correct and, for example, use “Winterval” instead of “Christmas” just leads to a dilution of what we, and others from different faiths, value.  We have discovered that our beliefs are respected by others and this has led us to revert to what we feel is central to our roots – Christmas greetings are back; let us be true and faithful in our marketing of the beliefs that many of us share.  But it is also worth asking who our competitors are.

What of other ways that people find helpful to discover who we are, why we are here and how did we come to inhabit this world?  Gerald Priestland presented a series of BBC radio programmes years ago aptly named “Priestland’s Progress”.  He sought to find answers to some of life’s big questions and one of his illustrations was that we are all pilgrims on the same spiritual mountain.  We may be in touch with others journeying with us but less familiar with, maybe even unaware of, those on the other side of the mountain who are climbing towards the same destination.  We can hope that we will meet at the top with joy, but throughout life let us be fully respectful of other traditions and pray:

that the light of faith may illumine our hearts
and shine in all our words and deeds
through him who made us all.

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2007-11-08

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