Growing up in churchianity, I have spent a lot of time listening to discussion of theology and even more time discussing marketing. I wish we could all take a fast from theology & marketing discussions in faith communities, and instead pay attention to anthropology:
image from Trout Fishing in America
Anthropology is the study of human beings, in all places and at all times. It is an irony to me of churchianity that the machine we have built often pays more attention to numbers or message or models than it does to human beings.
The anthropologist is, “unusually willing to set aside what they ‘know,’ looking past tradition and even their own preconceived notions. They have the wisdom to observe with a truly open mind.”
Anthropologists embrace human behavior with all its surprises
“They don’t judge, they observe. They empathize. Lifelong students of human behavior develop a genuine love of watching and talking to people…”
Anthropologists draw inferences by listening to their intuition.
“Anthropologists are not afraid to draw on their own instincts when developing hypotheses about the emotional underpinnings of observed human behavior.”
Anthropologists are willing to search for clues in the trash bin.
“The anthropologist looks for insights where they are least expected…even in the garbage, if that’s where learning is to be found. They look beyond the obvious, and seek inspiration in unusual places.”
This is compelling to me - and it is the polar opposite of what we expect when we raise up and train someone to take on a leadership role in a faith community.