Seth Godin (again!) marks the Inauguration with a nod to the famous Obama "HOPE" poster that became ubiquitous during and since the campaign. The story that all communicators tell, the product that all marketers sell, he says, is hope.

The reason is simple: people need more. We run out. We need it replenished. Hope is almost always in short supply.

The magical thing about selling hope is that it makes everything else work better, every day get better, every project work better, every relationship feel better. If you can actually deliver on the hope you sell, there will be a line out the door.

This resonates with me as a Christian "marketer" and believer. Hope was the core of Jesus' message. Hope that the blind could see and the lame could pick up their mats and dance. Hope that the despised and neglected could be known -- truly known -- and respected. Hope that the kingdom of God could peek into the here and now, in and through ordinary, imperfect folks like us. Hope that God's justice and mercy has a stronger voice than human hate and greed.

The world, not just our nation, desperately needs hope right now. So many of us need our tanks topped off with exactly the core of our faith message -- hope. Jesus delivered this message so well that he drew huge crowds, large enough to threaten the power elites' status quo. When this hope survived even his death, the line got long enough to shape the world, even through its evolution from a revolutonary movement to a political empire to a culture shaping force to whatever the church is emerging into.

Can we as the church speak hope into this historical moment? Or will we settle for more division, fear or, even worse, irrelevance?

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