Monday, February 16, 2009

Cockroaches, Palmetto Bugs, Horses and Geico

I’ve been reading (slowly because there’s lots to sink in) Tony Morgan’s “Killing Cockroaches.” Tony is Chief Strategic Officer at Newspring Church which makes him a South Kakalakian like me.

Every time I pick up the book I am reminded of a couple that lived next door to Kim and I just after grad school (in the condos at Marsh Pointe – if you add an “e” to “Point” you can charge more). Mimi (our neighbor) worked at Wild Dunes resort and once I heard her describe her job as convincing guests that those aren’t “cockroaches” they are actually “palmetto bugs” and a part of the Carolina Lowcountry charm. Roaches are gross. Palmetto bugs just a part of the landscape.

It reminds me of how much time we spend coming up with the right name to call a ministry, imagining that if we could only get the name right the ministry would flourish. I’ve tended to be self-critical of that approach but “cockroaches” and “palmetto bugs” has me reconsidering my position. It may well be that what we call something is significant (after all one of the first task God gave Adam in the garden was to name all the animals).

On a probably unrelated topic: I wonder if I was the only one bothered that during the NBA All Star weekend the annual game of H-O-R-S-E was changed to G-E-I-C-O. H-O-R-S-E presented by Geico wasn’t enough, they actually had to change the name of the game (although the announcers continually referred to it as H-O-R-S-E).

Will kids on playgrounds now be challenging one another to games of G-E-I-C-O? Is anything safe from a corporate sponsorship?

Or is this a wave we all should ride. Imagine this Sunday I could invite everyone to take a look at the Coca-Cola screens for the video announcements and to come to the AT&T Table to celebrate communion sponsored by Welch’s and Pepperidge Farms. We could even score a little product placement by pouring the grade juice directly from the can.

I love change (too much) but why can’t H-O-R-S-E remain H-O-R-S-E? Ironically, the winner of G-E-I-C-O was awarded a plastic horse as a trophy.

PS: The other part that bothered me was the lack of shooting creativity. I know I am sounding way too old school but “Pistol” Pete Maravich or George “Iceman” Gervin would have toasted today’s G-E-I-C-O players (see Maravich vs. Gervin at

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