Outside the Camp

In the meta of a post this week, Steve Camp produced this gem:

As unfortunate as this is, this comes as no surprise.

This is the tragic byproduct of when a Christianly based company with a Christ-centered mission statement is bought out, owned and operated by a secular company; as when Hallmark purchased DaySpring in 1999. To a company like Hallmark, this is simple bottom-line business.

This is what I wrote about in the 107 THESES in section six concerning the unequally-yoked business relationships within Christian Music and Christian Publishing. When this happens, it's only about money; not ministry. We can't fault a non-believing world to understand this; nor can we fault them for wanting to buy up "hot" economically solvent Christian companies. But we can fault the believers, who for the sake of more distribution or mainstream shelf space, would compromise their faith and God's Word by giving up control to non-Christians over their spiritual ministry or enterprise.

DaySpring is no exception here. Again, to a billion dollar, multinational company like Hallmark, this is just business. But to the lives of those being affected - it can be devastating.

I will be praying for you all during this time of unfortunate economic cuts.
And I called it "[maybe] the dumbest thing [he] ever posted."

Steve doesn't think that's true, and to head off his fans who will stop by to tell me what a bad man I am:

[1] I didn't call Steve "dumb", I called his comment "dumb", as in "maybe the dumbest thing among all the dumb things he has said". I didn't know it was a secret that I thought Steve Camp said dumb things; if it was, the gig is up. For those who are extremely offended, I have also publicly agreed with Steve on one or two things, so let's not go to the place where I am saying "nothing Steve Camp says is useful". My problem, as it is in this case, is when Steve talks about things he thinks he knows something about, and in fact he doesn't know anything about it.

[2] That said, Steve has since recapitualted his statement to mean that the "dumb" thing happened when DaySpring was bought by Hallmark from Cook Communications -- in spite of the part which I underlined, above. Yeah, that's dumb only in the sense that Hallmark took DaySpring and massively-improved its annual sales, increased its workforce, recapitalized the business, and put Christian-branded product into secular spaces where a Christian message could then reach lost people.

Robert (a defender of Steve) has expressed that if Hallmark hadn't bought DS, this never would have happened. However, what Robert needs to realize is that if Hallmark hadn't bought DS 10 years ago, DaySpring might not exist today -- certainly not at the size and scope it exists today. Trying to imagine a hypothetical world in which only the bad things do not exist is, um, optimistic at best. DaySpring has benefitted massively in the last decade from its association with Hallmark, and to say that now this change -- the apparently-bad one -- is because Hallmark is a "secular" company doesn't make any sense at all.

Given that the Christian retail marketplace -- especially at the indies and the chains -- has been shrinking for the last 5 years, one has to wonder what would have happened to DaySpring if Hallmark had not bought it a decade ago. Would it have survived the massive downturn in CBA, given that this channel was its only method of distribution?

Was this good news this week? Not hardly. But was it some kind of practical outcome of bad theology? That is a completely unjustifiable statement. If Steve thinks that Christian organizations never fire anyone, I think Steve needs to get out more often -- especially to churches where the congregation is shrinking and the pastoral staff is too large.

His prayers are welcome, and your prayers are welcome -- but don't come here trying to score cheap points by railing against secularist or syncretist bogie men who, in this case, are nowhere to be found. He's trading on the lives of people he doesn't know, and in circumstances he really has no information about, to advance his personal agenda, and I'd prefer he simply shut up. Prov 11:12, Prov 12:1 and Prov 17:28 and all that, for those who need a proof-text.

UPDATED: Apparently I didn;t go into enough detail as to why commentor "Robert" was also full of beans, so here is my response to him as well:


Yeah, my new post didn't answer Robert at all.
I don't think what Steve posted was dumb at all. Being an older pastor who is concerned about Christian companies being owned by nonbelievers, I thought he made sense.
Being a person who has first-hand knowledge of the affair in question dispells that, Robert. Let's see if I can help you along.
If DaySpring was owned and operated by Christians before they sold it to Hallmark in 1999, would this scenario and outcome have been the same? Per the articles you linked to, probably not.
In one sense, I am sure you are right: many things about DaySpring would be different if, 10 years ago, Hallmark had not acquired it. For example, David C. Cook may have chosen to spin DS off on its own in the form of an employee buyout, leaving DS significantly under-capitalized and unable to grow in sales as it has since 1999. It would also have left DS in a position of being almost exclusively being sold into CBA stores, which in the last 10 years went from owning almost all of the $4 billion in Christian retail sales to owning less than half of that.

And then there's the question of what Hallmark might have done if it hadn't bought DS. For example, it might have spent the money it spent to buy DS to brand its own Christian line, competing with deep pockets against DS and Cook which never had deep pockets. Would DS have survived that? I wonder.

In that, I suggest you read those articles again with something other than filtered glasses. Hallmark has frankly been a friend to DS since the beginning of the buy-out, and while this news is sad, it's not hardly about the "secularization" of Christian businesses.
I would like to know your thoughts to the following questions: how do you feel about working for a company that is unequally yoked with nonbelievers?
Out of charity, Robert, I ignored your question -- becuase it ranks in the same league as Steve's original comment.

"unequally yoked"? Is this the calibre of advice you give to your church when they ask you for advice about employment -- that they shouldn't work for or with "unbelievers"? Are you willing to say that the Hall family, and all the families at Hallmark who are in the executive ranks, are plainly and in the 2 Cor 6 meaning "unbelievers"? How would you know?

Your question is merely a veiled insult -- tossed out from ignorance and not at all from even rumors or third-hand knowledge, and I might add to protect Steve for some reason which only you might be able to really explain.

Why not simply admit that Steve is wrong rather than accuse "Hallmark" of being a "secular" company in the way you must mean to interject the 2 Cor 6 standard here?
Is that a point of compromise for you or a moot point?
Yes, that must be it: I am a compromiser, and Steve is not. Toss the faith out for some magic beans is what I always say -- especially to people who are losing their jobs. You didn't need Jesus anyway -- Hallmark is a better savior. That sort of advice is all over my blog, and in my interactions with the people I work with. Just go look and see it.
Is 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1 cited only referring to faith issues or does it affect those with whom we might partner in business as well?
Since you asked, Robert, here's the passage you are trying to leverage:
    Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

    "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
    Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
    and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,
    and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
    says the Lord Almighty."

    Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
My one-sentence summary of this passage would be a Bible paraphrase: Be ye holy, as YHVH is holy. What it does not say is that you should have no interaction with unbelievers, trade nothing with them, or do no business with them.

If you think it says otherwise, I suggest that we have an extended conversation about what it means to have access to the internet, possess and trade in money, live in any city in the United States, or any of a number of things which are frankly as-ridiculous as the idea that you can work for or with unbelievers.

Does that help? I hope it does. And I hope those who have more questions ask them so I can answer them with equal zeal.