Getting a handle on the themes of the book

I love the process of writing.  I was joking with my friend Carol the other day about the comparisons that people throw around regarding writing a book and child-birth.  As she says “I’ve done both.  They are nothing alike.”

I think I’ll trust her.

And yet, I’ll still use the metaphor.  :)

Right now, this book is “gestating” in my head and heart.  It’s being formed into the basics of what it is.  Pretty soon, I’m just gonna have to PUSH! and birth this beautiful mess, but right now the limbs and organs are still forming.

One thing that is becoming increasingly clear to me is that there are “churchy” words and ideas commensurate with the themes Surowiecki gives in Wisdom of Crowds (no surprise there, really), but I was not clear on what they were til today.  Now that I’ve identified them, I’m starting to really settle down.

Specifically, here’s what I’m thinking:

Promoting, defending and ensuring diversity (chapter 4) = hospitality

Doing everything possible to ensure that anyone can be a part of the process of mission and ministry is no different than the age-old posture of making sure that “there’s enough room at the table.”  right?

Promoting, defending and ensuring independent thought (chapter 5) = discernment

Facilitating a group in such a way that everyone can contribute and so that no one is shut out or dominates seems to sound a lot like group trying to attend to the will of God in Christ to me.  You?

Promoting, defending and ensuring decentralization (chapter 6) = empowering call/vocation

Getting out of people’s way and allowing them to use the gifts, skills, and passions that God has given them feels like what I see when I watch John the Baptist call out “Behold, the Lamb of God!” and when I read of Paul starting communities and then setting them free to be the church as they need to be in their own places.

So…hospitality, discernment, empowering people in their call… Know of any examples of those?

2 thoughts on “Getting a handle on the themes of the book”

  1. Hi, there!

    Sorry I didn’t respond to this sooner. I’ve been in “task” mode and wanted to write when I had a chance to think seriously about what you’ve written.

    I think your instinct–to identify the “churchy” words that parallel Surowiecki–is right on. Part of what you’ll be doing in this book is translating ideas from another enterprise and culture for your churchly readers.

    Keep in mind that I haven’t read Surowiecki, so I might not be correctly interpreting your summaries. “Hospitality” and “empowering call/vocation” work for me, but I wonder if “discernment” works. So much of what I’ve read about discernment has been about the corporate practice. Yes, independent thought is important, so no one’s wisdom is excluded. But in corporate discernment, so is the coming together. Any thoughts?

  2. I think this is a place where I’m going to either push or diverge from Surowiecki (depending on how you look at it).

    He doesn’t emphasize it too much, but I think that discernment is made up of both of those parts. He does, however, suggest several things relating to how groups function so that one doesn’t overshadow the many and I’ll piggy back that. But he might take issue with where I’m going to veer. People who work with discernment, however, are going to be fine (I think).

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