the weblog of Alan Knox

Content vs. Container

Posted by on Jun 25, 2010 in blog links, definition | 1 comment

Content vs. Container

My previous post about “Caffeine Free Diet Coke” reminded me of a post that I wrote about 3 years ago called “Content vs. Container.” The point is a little different. In this post, I ask if we may be more in love with the container than with the content.


Content vs. Container

Brother Maynard at “Subversive Influence” has written an interesting post called “The Coca-Cola Packaging Problem“. In this short post, he explains how Coca-Cola changed from glass bottles, to aluminum cans, and finally to plastic bottles. Many prefer the taste of Coca-Cola in glass bottles as opposed to the taste from cans or plastic bottles. Bro. Maynard says:

The sad truth? The taste isn’t any different. I’m sure I could taste the difference, and maybe you could as well… but there genuinely isn’t one. Pour them both in a glass so that the experience of the drink becomes the same, and it will quickly be evident that there is, really and truly, no difference.

You see, the difference was not in the content, but in the container. Whether contained in glass bottles, aluminum cans, or plastic bottles, the content remained Coca-Cola. But people swear by, argue about, complain against, and fume about the difference in taste from one container to another container. Many would suggest that drinking Coca-Cola from a glass is not the same as drinking Coca-Cola from a glass bottle, because they prefer the experience of drinking from the bottle more than they prefer the Coca-Cola itself.

Let’s apply this to the church. Many of us prefer certain “containers” over other “containers”. In fact, we swear by, argue about, complain against, and fume about the difference between the existence of the church from one container or another container. On this blog, I’ve tried to remove any aspect of “containers” from my definition of the church. Because of this, many do not recognize the church as I describe it, because I do not include aspects of their favorite containers.

Could it be that we are enjoying the experience of our “containers” more than we are enjoying the benefits of being part of the church? Can we recognize the difference between the “container” and the “content” of the church? If the church was removed, but the “container” remained, would we notice the difference?

For the most part, these are rhetorical questions. They are helping me think about what it means to be part of God’s church – part of Christ’s body – part of the family gathered together by the Spirit. I hope to learn to love the content more than the container.

One Comment

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 6-25-2010


    If you push your analogy far enough, you might just end up at new wine vs. old wine skins.