In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Friday, April 21, 2006

Popular Economy

I'm reading a popular economy book, The World is Flat. You've probably heard of it, and several of you have probably read it. I have to say, I'm fascinated. At first, I thought that it might be too technical for me (lots of stuff about computer networks). Then, I thought that it might be too much business and economics for me (I never took an econ just didn't happen). But I'm discovering a fabulous resource for looking at our own day and time.

I do like sociology, and this book has enough sociology that will keep be very interested. However, I'm starting to think about this book theologically as well. Basically, this book is about change, and how we deal with change. It is advocating for people to be more adaptable and specialized in their area. No one wants to lose his or her job, but people don't often take the opportunity to keep themselves adaptable to changing circumstances.

This sounds exactly like a lot of what I studied in seminary. Churches are harbingers of "We've never done it that way before." They complain as their worship attendance and collection plate offerings decrease, but they don't do anything about it. They continue to try to cling to a set of traditions, many of which are not supported by scripture or a historical look at the church.

Congregations should also be realizing that the world is flat. People have access to information they have never had before. Information means options. People can explore topics and religions they would never encounter in a more isolated world. How does the local congregation work with this?

The main point is not to fight, or take cheap shots at changes in the culture. Your complaining only fuels the difficulty of change. The church can still be an influence within the culture, but it needs to figure out how to do that effectively.

Please understand that I am not suggesting that we abandon the theology that has supported our faith traditions. In fact, we may find that our theology is more helpful for us in this new era than it was in the past. As change is happening all around us, the tenants of faith by grace, the tension between two kingdoms, and simul will be resources that help us understand and even communicate with the world.

These changes could make our spiritual lives even more long as we do not try to build walls around ourselves. The World is Flat says that there is a temptation to try to isolate ourselves or our communities from a changing world. However, those who look deep inside themselves for new resources have been the ones who have thrived in this world.

I highly recommend The World is Flat. Read it, and understand it on several levels.


Blogger Chris Duckworth said...

Bravo! Sorry I didn't see your post and wasn't inspired to pick up the book months ago. I am currently 1/3 of the way through the book (I'm a slow reader) and am loving it.

I'm wondering what an "open source" Lutheranism looks like - or, perhaps, "open source" curriculum (not unlike what Augsburg Fortress seems to be doing with Akaloo and Here We Stand, but perhaps even more radically open) or liturgy. Yet, I know that the best poetry is not written by committee but by inspired individual genious. Open Source might work for Linux, but can it work for liturgy, theology or ministry? These are the questions I am asking as I read through this wonderful book. Thanks for sending me your link!

4:49 PM  

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