The intersection between theology and Cluetrain rantings


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  Friday, May 02, 2003

The Web itself is a good case inpoint that illustrates how Hyperlinks indeed subvert Heirarchy.  Church related folks are already out there "subverting",  doing Weblogs, linking to valuable conversations,  thinking about how this thing called the Web can help the Communication tasks in the Church.  Staff to Members,  staff to staff,  layleaders to members, staff and layleaders to public;  how do we "help the Church tell its story"? 

Meanwhile,  conversations are conspicuously absent on Church sites,  Denominational sites,  and almost any kind of Church related site.  Where forums are offered,  they are not actively linked and promoted and encouraged.  Churches say that they emphasize laity and then betray this philosophy by non-verbal,  contextual clues such as putting the pulpit at the center --- putting the sermon at the highest point of emphasis,  publishing the articles of staff to the exclusion of stories of experiences and opinions of the laity.   The Websites of Churches emphasize brochure stuff like Worship Service times,  pictures of the staff,  directions to the Church,  and some newsletters (although the Web version is often more than a month behind the version of the Monthly newsletter already in the hands of members). 

The days when the clergy are more educated than the laity are gone.  In fact,  where technology is concerned,  it's almost never been the case.  Businesses and the "Business World" are on the forefront of promoting tools that connect people for every reason under the sun other than the enabling of conversation and shared knowledge among Church communities.   Weblogs are swarming over every topic under the sun,  and Church denominations are asking "What's weblog?",  and so the visions and ideas about what the Church can do to assimilate some technology strategies remain "in the trenches" and out of the Denominational heirarchies.

10:50:50 AM    comment []

There seems to be a deadly arrogance amongst Christian publishers that THEY know better than the "customer" what the customer wants or needs.  I've  heard people say that online discussions would only promote "people who don't know what they're talking about".   While  it is certain that there will be "unwanted" opinions,  isn't that just too bad?  How dare we insinuate that there are "requirements" for what gets published as "what the people want" !  Isn't it just "what the people want"?  What they ACTUALLY say they want?  Is there not some ability "out there" amongs the "masses" to be partners in sensing what the needs are?

10:36:53 AM    comment []

It is a cardinal sin of the Church and its organizations to avoid the "masses".  On site after site,  Church site,  denomination site,  Publisher site,  almost to a tee there is a widespread avoidance of the actual conversations taking place.  Even amidst supposed "dialogue" about "what are we going to do as a Church in order to be relevant?",  there is a hesitancy,  no ,  a REFUSAL to host the conversations in a way that encourages people to see what is being discussed.  Emails are requested.  "Tell us what you think",  and a Web form is presented ,  expecting people to fill it out without knowing the flavor of the others who are contributing.  These are one to one conversations,  instead of many to many,  and these miss the mark.  I am RARELY , if ever,  prone to "contribute" without having an idea of what the "conversation" is.  These appeals for amounts to a "blind" contribution throws up a barrier at the outset.  I get the feeling that there is a group of "editors" and "survey evluators" receiving the responses and "ranking" it or "categorizing it" into a mass amalgam of  "response types".  This is the way heirarchy thinks.  If we can analyze the "real needs" that we supposedly cull from a set of "response types",  then we can "decide for the Church" what the people REALLY want.  Our surveys give us "Information" on which we can base OUR decisions on what's best for the Church. 

10:29:13 AM    comment []

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