Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a blast from the past...

recently i posted responses on twitter and facebook to an article that shared observations about the business practices and working philosophies of microsoft and google and how the church could learn from these observations.

last night (10/26/09) as i was watching a documentary on the decline of the newspaper on PBS it hit me that we have a more low-tech example. a newspaper exec was being interviewed about the failure of the newspaper to make the leap to becoming an online presence, which subsequently has led to its decline as a information medium and news source. the exec remarked that often the project to make that leap was given to newspaper execs who simply took the printed newspaper they were producing, scanned it, and posted it online; vainly failing to seek outside input from others on how to innovate and make it more accessible to an online community. he said that the responsibility for the failure lies in the hands of newspaper execs and identified their fatal flaw: they continued to operate under the assumption that there was no way to innovate on the form and function of the newspaper, that people liked the newspaper the way it was. they operated under the assumption that the newspaper in and of itself was impenetrable; much like the mindset of the USAmerican automobile industry towards the product they were producing. they had every opportunity to keep themselves from becoming obsolete but pridefully and vainly dug in their heels, believing that the newspaper, like the USAmerican automobile, would never die.

this is much more in line with what we are dealing with in mainline Protesant Christianity. there are those who are pushing against leaving it in its current form and function are desperately trying to update it and keep it relevant, keep it from becoming obsolete. there are others who seem to vainly sit back and operate like those in the newspaper and automobile industry, with an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy (while their definition of "broke" accomodates for more and more slippage down the slope to obscurity and antiquity each day). the main problem being; as it is in the story of the newspaper and auto industries, that those who take the latter view tend to be those holding the most power.

will the church become completely obsolete? no, we are told that the even the gates of hell will not prevail against it. i do, however, believe that the most sinister force moving through any organization, including the church, is apathy. when we allow ourselves to vainly believe that the world cannot function without us, we offer the world very little outside of a challenge to show us that it can.

1 comment:

Craig L. Adams said...

Yeah. Well, the promise that the gates of he'll will not prevail against Christ's Church is not to be taken as a guarantee of the survival of any of our various ecclesiastical institutions.