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The Church & The World in the Decade Ahead

wheat-field.jpg Well, I started out with some prognostication, and then I got distracted, and got back on track regarding my thoughts on The Decade Ahead for the Emerging Church. As I set up my thoughts and predictions (scary word) in that post, I asked three pairs of questions, the last of which was, “where is the world outside the church in all of this? Do they benefit at all, or are they worse off?” And then I pretty much didn’t answer that one, just the other two. This set of questions is fundamentally different because they have to do with the church’s interaction with the world, and are therefore the most important (certainly to the missional crowd, at least). For these reasons, I felt a separate post was warranted.

On the Validity of Virtual Community

global-people-link.jpg In a short video interview with Shane Hipps at Out of Ur, Hipps says that online community isn’t “real” community, and translating the gospel into online expressions like Second Life constitute its “disembodiment.” His book Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith presumably outlines his argument a little more fully — the interview (below) comes across as though real community can’t exist because Hipps hasn’t seen it and can’t imagine how to translate the gospel into that context. I presume he hasn’t read Voices of the Virtual World. Now, I readily acknowledge that there are some good and valid arguments for the conviction that virtual community has its shortcomings, and that these can be a detriment to fostering genuine Christian community. But I think he writes it off as invalid far too quickly.

Hyperlinks Subvert Hierarchies at Missional Tribe

Book Cover We’ve been having some real fun over at the Missional Tribe. After flinging the doors open a little under 48 hours ago, we have as of this moment 198 users and 82 blogs, where there have been some good posts showing up and some good conversations getting started. The groups and forums are active too, with more conversations going on than I can keep track of.

The System vs. The Movement

arlo_guthrie_alice.jpg Mike Todd caught this the other day as well… Seth Godin asks, What happens when we organize? Seth opens his post with the observation that “Most power occurs because one side is better organized than the other.” This is a good description of an imbalanced power structure such as happens in the church where a divide exists between clergy and laity (Seth gives other examples). These structures are being upset in the present changing environment where Internet tools and a shift in values toward egalitarian ideals drive collaboration and spontaneous organization around a goal rather than simply falling into a rigid power or authority structure. Books such as Seth Godin’s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us and Clay Shirkey’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations fill out the rest of the picture. The message is that the power structures are beginning to crumble under the realization that they really aren’t necessary, and their reaction to the changing milieu appears to be confusion — for the most part, there’s an instinctive desire to oppose this new disorganized organization, this “grassroots” movement that threatens to upset everything. Unfortunately for them, they are ill-equipped to meet this challenge; Ori Brafmann and Rod Beckstrom’s book The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations gives a good explanation of why this is so. Boiling it down to a single sentences though, one might latch onto the one which Seth Godin ended his post with, as I believe it to be highly accurate: “The system doesn’t know what to do with a movement.” They’re as ill-prepared for what’s coming at them as “Officer Opie” was.

Older Posts

Institutions vs. Collaboration

So it’s a Conspiracy!

Missional Order: Coffeeshop Poets

Missional Order: The Role of The Rule

Wikiklesia: Hyperlinks Subvert Hierarchy

40 Days of Wikiklesial Purpose

Now Published — Get it While it’s Fresh!

…in Which I Begin to Describe the Perfect Balance of Structure for the Church