Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Some Thoughts by Jason Callina about Church

Jason emailed me these thoughts below, and I asked if I could post them on my blog. As he says they, "were just me brainstorming a couple of weeks ago. I want to get them up on a wiki so that people can collaborate and refine. Some are better thought out than others. My inspiration was the Cluetrain Manifesto from years ago and how it made perfect sense across disciplines."

This was in response to my Open Source Church post asking for narratives describing The Gathering. This post can be found on the Blog for our church in Salem.

Here are Jason's thoughts. Some good stuff, some provocative stuff, and as Jason says they are open to refinement and collaboration. Go ahead and respond to things you like, things you dislike, things you agree with, and things you disagree with.

* The new megachurch is not some vast resource sucking room. It is hyperlocal and networked. Thousands of people sitting in little rooms talking to each other from all over the world.
* Kindness and compassion need heroes. They can't defend themselves on their own.
* If something isn't broke don't fix it. If it is broke FIX IT NOW.
* Because something has been done for decades or centuries does not make it legitimate.
* if you are doing something but you don't know why, stop until you do.
* Lingo confuses an issue. If you can't explain something in plain language then chances are your logic is flawed.
* Ask difficult questions, don't settle for pat answers and don't give them.
* There are questions where there are no good answers. Be content.
* Be respectful, live with others of different opinons. Defend yourself passionately but be willing to be wrong and open to learning.
* Publish transcripts, videos, audio of services. Bring these things out into the sunlight.
* Worship is holy, sermons are not. Sermons are opinion. Don't confuse this.
* Fact check sermons. Just because someone thinks they are right and speaks with charisma doesn't make it so.
* If your service is unwilling to make a backchannel then make one yourself.
* Tweet, text, email, look stuff up on wikipedia during service, engage.
* Learn the logical falacies, they will serve you well.
* Loving someone is not the same as liking someone or how they behave.
* Differences of opinion are not disunity.
* Some of the best church happens in the hallway outside of service.
* Recapture the meaning of "church", it is you and your neighbors, not your building and the structure of the service.
* We should not be afraid of mistakes or FAIL. FAIL enough and it leads to WIN


g13 said...

with great deference to karl barth: sermons aren't necessarily holy, but when they reveal the Word they are. most sermons are comprised simply of words, but when they bring the Word to light, we should pay attention.

Jason Callina said...

@g13 For the most part I agree with your comment and these bullet points are all subjective.

A little about my background. I come from an environment where is was considered disunity to question a sermon, the same sermons were being used year after year for twenty years and political content regularly made its way into the sermon. When a pulpit is more bully than Bible maybe it is time to question some things.

Stephen said...

Jason, I agree. Today many would-be ministers even those currently employed as such, write blogs, providing an endless stream of idiosyncratic thinking often departing from many central precepts found within the Word. Notably they tend to block feedback and hide replies with a view to discourage them altogether. Some even elude to a following as if they privately own and operate a cabal. What good words would you have for them?

Jason Callina said...

@stephen Hard to do in a general way, I think I would need to talk with the person individually.

One thing I didn't mention but I am really fascinated with the idea of is publishing the sermon notes of the speaker. It helps show the thought process of the person who is speaking. Opening that up to the world is really scary for a speaker but may help others identify with them as human in a way that the sermon alone can not.

It does probably boil down to a question of fear on both sides. Fear of having your most cherished beliefs criticized, fear of being labeled a heretic, fear of not being completely sure of yourself.

If we lay everything bare then the sunlight helps burn away the fear exposing our flawed selves. Hopefully that will foster intelligent and compassionate discussion.

Stephen said...

Thank you Jason - I'm with you - what we all need so desperately is genuine opportunity for "intelligent and compassionate discussion" I couldn't have put it better.

Josh McManaway said...

I'm not so sure I'd tweet/email/wikipedia/whatever during worship. I can only imagine the priests of Israel, in the middle of some sacrifice, checking their iPhones.