Keeping Up With “The Joneses”

The movie, “The Joneses,” stars David Duchovny,Demi Moore, Amber Heard, and Ben Hollingsworth. “[The] seemingly perfect family moves to a new neighborhood and quickly become trendsetters…They’re not just living the American dream, they’re selling it…it’s called self-marketing.”*

[Minor spoiler alert: I do recommend the movie, so stop reading, Netflix it, and then continue reading.]

The “family” of four is a group of sales people who market their company’s products to their unwitting neighbors and friends. The sales people use everyday conversation as natural segways to promote a new product.

We actually do this all the time when we find a product we like, be it a restaurant, movie, or household gadget; we look for opportunities to share the “good news” This family just gets commission for doing it. And it works. Through “self-marketing” the company’s sales figures increase dramatically.

As the movie points out, “self-marketing” is so successful because it doesn’t involve selling “things” but selling your lifestyle.

Evangelism is a lot like that. Grassroots Church’s value of “exponential evangelism” represents our desire to share the good news of the resurrected Christ in natural and everyday ways with our friends and neighbors. Many people don’t feel like they are “comfortable” doing that because they don’t know what to say (i.e. they feel like they don’t know enough about the “product”). But as this movie reminds us, people buy who you are, not the stuff that you sell. We need to quit selling “things” or “products” and start selling our lives.

However, before we glorify sales and marketing too much, I should also mention that the movie makes it clear that life is much more than sales transactions (as seen through their juxtaposition to real relationships – or lack thereof).

Duchovny’s character (the devoted “father”) is constantly trying to engage in real relationships with his pretend family while the rest of the family is focused solely on transactions.

But as the movie progresses, even those that resist real relationships the most cannot resist the loving embrace of even a pretend mother or father when faced with crisis. There seems to be something within us all that longs for a real, ongoing, loving relationship.

The relationship of the loving father (Duchovny) to his family, is a creative way for the film to hint at the necessity of a loving father in the home. Without one, the daughter lustfully seeks the acceptance of older men, the son struggles with homosexual identity, and the wife is controlling and domineering.

Not only is the presence of a loving father in the home a major contributing factor to healthy relationships (life the way it was intended and designed to be), but also the presence of our loving heavenly father in our lives is the only way our lives will be as they were intended and designed to be.

When life is lived out how it was intended and designed to be, our life “sells” itself. A loving relationship with God affects our relationships with all other people.

How have you unwittingly or naturally “sold” your relationship with Christ?

How have the father figures in your life impacted you as a person?

Have you ever felt like your religion was more about “transactions” than a real relationship? Take the opportunity to explore the meaning of life through Alpha.

The fine print:
The R rating is likely for teenage drug and alcohol use, a brief nude seen, and a little bit of language.

For further reading:
Strong fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker
Better Dads, Stronger Sons by Rick Johnson

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