Experiential Realms and Psalm 27

James H. Gilmore
Wednesday, May 1st 2013
May/Jun 2013

Businesses must go beyond mere entertainment to truly engage participants in memorable and meaningful ways. To achieve this, they need to richly draw from the following four experiential realms:

  • Educational (to learn via active absorption)
  • Escapist (to transport from one sense of reality to another via active immersion)
  • Esthetic (to hang out and "just be" via passive immersion)
  • Entertainment (to enjoy via passive absorption)

In The Experience Economy: Updated Edition (Harvard Business Review Press, 2011), I extend these realms to define six dimensions in which value can and should be created:

  • Edutainment (holding attention)
  • Eduscapist (changing context)
  • Edusthetic (fostering appreciation)
  • Escathetic (altering state)
  • Entersthetic (having presence)
  • Escatainment (creating catharsis)

More Christians should be encouraged to enter the marketplace to start businesses that more richly engage customers-yes, customers-with edifying commercial experiences, for business enterprise is the dominant culture-forming institution of our times.

In citing the Scripture below, I do not look to directly apply biblical passages to the economic sphere, but only to validate the "4E" model. Consider the way in which the above realms are present in Psalm 27:4 (ESV).

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

To seek is escapist, to dwell is esthetic, to gaze is entertainment, and to inquire is educational. In both the earthly and heavenly kingdoms, such is the farthest place from amusing ourselves to death.

Wednesday, May 1st 2013

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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