Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Drunk on Gilligan's Island, Clay's sermon, Church 2.0

All real church meetings that matter happen in parking lots...

.... after the closing prayer of the official meeting.

Sometimes such meetings are satanically subversive
(see "A Crash of Rhinos...a Committee of Buzzards"):
as in plots to fire a staff member, hijack an agenda etc);

sometimes they are sovereignly subversive;
as folks are free to let their hair and guard down,
and dream out loud...
not worrying what any squeakers or buzzards in the bigger meetings would say.

I am thrilled that in the church world (at least a growing subset and underground alliance of orthopractical freelance wikitribesters) are beginning to wake up from our big bender and at least asking the right questions.

More on the bender in a minute.
Hint: it's largely Gilligan's Island's fault.

It was so refreshing to hear a local ministry leader at the citywide pastors/prayer meeting say something like:

"The day of the one expert standing up front giving a lecture to people sitting down and not participating is long over."

Of course you have guessed by now that this real comment was offered to a small subset group in the parking lot conversation after the real meeting.

So delightfully subversive was this small group that one of them told about how he was inviting people in his congregation to text-message him during the sermon about the sermon (Looks like you can hear the podcast of a sermon where that happened here; also read Creps on "If they are not texting, they are not listening.")

What would have happened if the official indoor conversation had been peppered with versions of these same comments. Would it have been seen as a temple tantrum?

Maybe; maybe not.

Maybe I will send everyone in the larger group a text message of the comments during the next meeting. (:

Maybe we are all unlearning everything we have learned in seminary.

Or unpacking the far deeper theological/epistemological education of watching Gilligan's Island.

Which brings us to this short speech recently given by Clay Shirky (author of
"Here Comes Everybody:The Power of Organizing Without Organizations”),
at the Web 2.o conference.

A transcript is available here;
an outline by Tim Bauer here,
but since media is message/messenger massage
and that is part of the point,
I would recommend watching it first.

Especially for those who think they "don't have the time," 13:00-15:32.

I am thrilled this

clip is being picked up on the web by pioneering Kingdom bloggers like

  • Len, (who wiki-participated in the pioneering wikichurch "book" here)
  • Bill (whose book, "A Networked Conspiracy is downloadable here)
  • Mike, (who has written what should be a book here)

These are heroic and humble dudes who would make a great parking lot group.

Suffice to say any video made by a speaker to a non-church audience which notes that

  • the shift we are in is analagous to the Industrial Revolution..
  • we have been masking out cognitive surplus andfor fifty years.

and even mentions

the "architecture of participation"

let alone

the "physics of participation"

is amenable and amen-able in my book.

Besides, if Tipler is right, and Christianity is becoming a branch of physics,
that is a good thing!
(Should I drop that thesis at the pastor's prayer meeting?)

The video (sermon) is worth watching for the story at the end which ends with the quote
(great sermon style, Clay....and it's fifteeen minutes!):

"Media that's targeted at you, but does not include you may not be worth sitting still for."

My only potential beefs:
  • for all the talk about participatory messages, this is still mostly a talking head...
  • like many preachers, be sure to get the history right (see Ben B's comments here)

Anyway, as a bonus, after watching this I finally have an intelligent answer to folks who say:

"postmodern, emerging church...yada yada's just a fad."

"But isn't this all a fad? Kind of the flagpole sitting of the early 21st century?


"But where do you find the time to do all that stuff online?"

The answer, my friend, as you will find in the clip,
has to do with

Gilligan's Island.

But "it's all asset, not crisis."


  1. Thanks for the link Dave. Funny I found it via my google alert on Clay.

    I would agree w/ your points that watching it first is a key w/ good speakers ... and clay is one.

    It is a good message for those looking for time to do more with their lives. Regardless if that means the next wikipedia ... or ... something more focused on your fellow man.

  2. Tim:

    That is cool how the almost-omniscient Google works.

    keep up the good work!

  3. On the subject of Tech. Have you heard of Shane Hipps? He is a Mennonite pastor in Arizona who used to be a advertising guy for Porshe. He quit decided to go to Fuller, and well thats all I really know. He wrote a book (Amazon search his name and the book will be found). I first heard him on the Mars Hill podcast (Grand Rapids NOT Seattle). He argues that the method of conducting a message is inherently part of the message and that you cannot divorce the two. There his culminating statement was that we are becoming a society of Nomadic tribes. That is we are all isolated yet connected in a not so meaningful way. He uses that to explain why we are able to look at suffering in Africa for example, and yet feel next to nothing. It is because we were not meant to be able to handle the totality of human suffereing. My friend liked the book, and I loved his talk at mars hill.

    MP3 4th from the bottom

  4. Shoot.....

    my bad.

  5. Tommy

    Thanks so much for the link. that will be an awesome podcast.

    I love Shane Hipps..his book has been very important for me.. you can see his blog in my links (third Day Faith). And his website podcast host is the drummer for Jimmy Eat World, how cools is that?

    Tommy, love your mind; keep up the great work!


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!