A Window into the Soul

I came across this wonderful image on Richard Littledale’s blog.  It is a wonderful reimagining of church art in a contemporary way.  I love the guy in a hoodie praying!

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Becoming a People Movement

You may remember that I blogged about Living distinctively a couple of months ago.  One of the main parts of the study is a DVD interviewing Christians who are working at the top of their field.  One of the people interviewed was Patrick Dixon, “Futurist”.  He was inspiring so I decided to follow him.  He just uploaded this to YouTube:

 

There are some fascinating statistics quoted here as he uses them to illustrate how we move from “hierarchical leadership” to “people movement”.  The Church ™ is currently struggling to integrate a hierarchical management structure within newly formed teams that are created to work together.  The “people movement” that Patrick describes is surely the perfect description of the calling Jesus made upon each of us.  A transformative, missional community.

So how do we encourage people to work effectively together?  How do we enable “teams” to create real relationships within them?  How do we foster our communities to become more than institutions but people movements that spread from place to place?

10 Reasons Why Social Media Matters

I came across an article about social media and church websites entitled “10 reasons Why Social Media Matters”.  It is very good at highlighting the shift in the flow of information that I hinted at yesterday in my blog post about advertising.  This is also the conversation that Pete Phillips and many others have been having about the seven principles of new media.  No longer is Big Brother giving us information from the top but now there is genuine interaction between those on the ground.  This shift is as big, if not bigger than the invention of the printing press!!

I’m not sure I necessarily agree with the original article but it is certainly pointing in the right direction.  For example, point seven:

7) Social media needs Christians

I’m not sure that this is actually the case.  Perhaps a more honest statement would be The Church(tm) needs social media.

Jennifer Aniston’s Sex Tape

For a while I’ve been looking at social media as a communication tool.  You will have noticed that I have posted  many blogs about the ways in which the internet can create a sensation that either builds up or destroys its target.  This flash mob video is a great example of how something can spread like wildfire and become a sensation.  However, who can forget the 10 million hits that destroyed United Airline’s reputation?

Above we have a great example of how the internet viral has challenged mainstream communication.  By bringing all of the viral clichés together with the words “Jennifer Aniston’s Sex Tape”, Smart Water pinpoint two key things:

  1. Viral video clips sell things by word of mouth and recommendation unbelievably well.
  2. We can identify what has worked in the past but it is really difficult to say what will work in the future.  It is a totally deregulated phenomenon and out of the hands of “the man”.  “The man” wants to use it but doesn’t know how.  And if it is used by “the man” people are less likely to pass it on as it stinks of “the man”.

Self Service

Jon at ASBOJesus so often manages to identify the big issues around us and point a million watt light at them.  Here he has so succinctly juxtaposed the society in which we live and the way our world works with the ancient symbols of faith. 

As a Church we are at a fascinating point in history.  In the last fifty years the world has changed drastically.  We are experiencing the beginnings of a paradigm shift.  The world is changing.  Technology is altering the way in which people interact with each other.  We are becoming more consumer oriented as a society.  People work out quickly what is of worth to them and decide whether to buy into it or not within a relatively short period of time. 

As we are working out how we can follow the way and speak authentically in the modern world it is important that we don’t mimic the world at the expense of the faith.

Post-Christendom

@unvirtuousabbey posted this on twitter.  I could write you a few thousand words about post-christendom or I could let it speak for itself.

1984

I made the mistake of jokingly saying “I can’t wait for them to just put an implant in my brain that does all of that” in front of my wife yesterday.  I am a typical tech geek.  I have an iPhone 4 that does everything.  People say to me “you’re never off facebook” and my reply is usually, “I’m never on facebook, I am on the bus”.  I connect to people all the time and it rarely impacts upon daily life as it happens whilst I commute, walk or eat my lunch.  Yesterday my mother in law mentioned that she had lost her phone (old fashioned nokia) and asked me to text it to ask anyone who may have found it to contact her.  I said “if I lost my iPhone I could go to your computer and find it on a map.  I could send a message to it, lock it down and wipe it’s memory.  At this point wife had a small fit and said “Are you mad?  You are half way through reading 1984!!”

She has a very good point.  Technology is able to set us free, connect us with those we love and enable us to network with others… but it could also be used to perpetuate a regime.  I have a mobile device in my pocket that identifies me and my movements.  Some people even use it to publish where they are via facebook or foursquare. 

There is of course more to this interaction between husband and wife yesterday and the conversation progressed.  I recalled that a couple of weeks ago we went to a friend’s house and they have a new Xbox Kinect.  I didn’t play but I did watch people jumping around their living room looking foolish (I suspect this is better than playing).  Yesterday afternoon I mentioned that it was “cool” and speculated that I would possibly like to have one in the future if I ever had the money.  Wife again had a small fit and said she wouldn’t have one in the house.  She had noticed something else about the experience.  When the three-year old child walked past the screen it said “hello Toby”.

I’m not a particularly paranoid person but when wife said “can you imagine if they put one of those on every street corner?” I was left with an icy chill running down my spine.  Will I one day be hiding from the Xbox and iPhone and writing by hand using a contraband journal and pen?

“The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed–would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper–the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.”
– George Orwell, 1984