Accept no imitations.
I’ve seen this tagline used in advertisements, and on product labels, and it strikes me that it works well for two reasons. The first is obvious – by accepting no imitations of a product, we keep ‘the real thing’ in business, giving that company a higher share of a particular market. This plays into our mentality of scarcity, that there’s not enough money or time or other resources to keep both the original product and its “knockoffs” in business. The second way in which this slogan works is more subtle – by accepting no imitations of anything from products to ideas to people, we are taught that “being original’” is the purpose of life: to be different than, to be better than, to be more than the average Joe or Jane is how we will distinguish ourselves and become successful.
But being original is exhausting.
There is so much hype these days on being the first, being the best, being the only that I find myself a bit hyper when someone shares my shtick for Christian feminism with a sense of humor, as if I have – or want to have – a monopoly on the whole thing. I’ve even heard the words come out of my mouth, “Oh, we don’t get along that well because we’re too similar.” Whoever heard of such a terrible thing? Or I find myself unmotivated to contribute one more blog post to the stratosphere of ideas where surely I will say something that has been said before and although someone will point this out to me sweetly, I will consider myself a little less brilliant than previously thought.
Accept all imitations of yourself by others. There is enough to go around.
John the Baptist was pretty adamant he wasn’t the original, not the original Messiah promised to the Jewish people or the original Creator who was with God (and was God) in the beginning. When the Jewish leaders ask him point blank what his deal is in the first chapter of John, he says, “I’m not the Christ.”
“Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
“Are you the prophet?”
“Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
“I am a voice crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make the Lord’s path straight’ just as the prophet Isaiah said.”
This guy is cryptic, no? He gives these one word answers until pressed and then he just quotes someone else. When he finally throws them a bone, he alludes to the fact that his baptizing through water merely eclipses the kind of baptism in the Spirit that the Christ will bring.
He is just an imitator, one who “wasn’t the light” but whose “mission was to testify to the light.”
Accept all imitations of Christ by others. We will know each other by our love.
Copyright 2013 (wink, wink).