open-sourcing your church

October 31, 2008

Article 9 from the rulebook of our denomination states, among other things, that the task of the pastor includes

  • Ruling, organizing and managing the congregation
  • Leadership at meetings

But if Jesus is the head of the church, and the spirit is in everybody… well, it gets kind of complicated you know…

But Jimmy Wales explains how wikipedia can function without any paid employees (video), and my flatmate explained to me last night how couchsurfing can do the same.Why do they do this? Because the people involved has a passion for what they are doing… why can’t the church do the same? I mean, really, it’s God we are talking about! Must be some people out there who has enough of a passion for God to take part in whatever open-source system is letting the kingdom of God come?

Clay Shirky talks about making organization part of the system (I’ve blogged about it). I wonder whether that might not be closer to the way of the kingdom than through the hierarchies we have created. Where everybody who become part of the system is part of the ruling, organizing and managing…

How would this look? Now that is the difficult question, but I think some of the open-source projects which we have seen might give us soem good pointers.

Jurgen Moltmann begin God fora ¬†Secular Society with the following fabel which he got from someone else. I don’t have the book with me, so I quote from memory:

At the beginning of the modern society three good fairies came to mankind, giving humans Individual Liberty, Social Justice and Prosperity. However, by nightfall a bad fairy came along, and told the humans that they can only keep two of the three. So, the modern West chose Individual Liberty and Prosperity. The modern East chose Social Justice and Prosperity. But (and this he adds himself), the Theologians and Philosphers chose Individual Liberty and Social Justice, and thus never found Prosperity.

One of the Google fancy people said things which seem to imply that we are moving towards an internet where you again pay for content. Will this happen? Would we move into a time where¬† you have to pay to read the most popular blogs? I remember the first time I heard about the CSIR internal journals, and about someone doing research who needed some of their articles, but couldn’t get access. I found it extremely strange! This was because of my background in theology, where you wouldn’t even think of keeping research from others. Research are done to be shared.

Reading The Hacker Ethic you find the same thing, where people do things because they love to do this. I write because I cannot do other but write. I blog because I love to blog. I spent a lot of time doing this, not because I’ll get paid for it, but because I love it. At least for the theologians and philosophers, who are used to the idea that prosperity is not something which need be attained, and for the hackers things can work in a different way, where content, good content, is generated simply out of passion, and in order to provide something usefull for our peers. Or maybe the world has changed so much, that we can never go back.