Eats, Shoots, and Leaves
Taking a cue from classicist Phuc Tran, Theresa Cho incisively names the ways our grammar shapes our experience of ministry in the church:
So what does this have to do with church? My experience with churches is that we swim between the indicative and the subjunctive – mostly not in helpful ways. We use the subjunctive when viewing our reality when really we need to embrace the indicative. We get stuck in the indicative of membership, finances, and energy when dreaming of possibilities of the future when we should be swimming in the subjunctive.
“Wisdom of crowds” or lemmings?
After writing Open Source Church, I have tried to keep my eyes peeled for keen and nuanced critiques of the crowdsourcing theory. Steven Poole offers one of the best:
It is surprising how often Wikipedia is cited by such cyber-pedlars as a paradigm of communal “knowledge creation”, given that Wikipedia explicitly bans the creation of any new knowledge. Its highest law is “no original research”, barring any mention of either “facts” or “ideas” that are not already published elsewhere. Observance of this edict has the effect that Wikipedia is entirely dependent on its cited sources, including newspaper and journal articles, for the “knowledge” it contains. This does not mean that Wikipedia is useless – far from it – but it is not an example of what it is so often claimed to be.
No Talent Hack
Mark Hobson, photographer and philosopher of Art, addresses “the myth about talent.” It should not surprise you that I would like to see Hobson’s distinction between “skill” and “talent” applied wholesale to our ordination processes.
IMO, those who are dismissive of the idea of talent as a special natural ability / god-given gift / preternatural ability (pick one descriptor or feel free to make up your own), or who, at the very least, approach the notion in a diminishing manner, are basing their belief on their confusion with the idea of acquiring a skill with that of having a talent.
To be certain, there are many in the picture making world who are very skilled at the craft of making pictures. They regularly make pictures which are widely admired and often imitated. Many enjoy great success in both the serious amateur and the professional picture making worlds. And, there is no denying most have worked hard and long to get there.
However, what they and their pictures lack is that special je ne sais quoi / “genius” which separates their work from that of picture makers with talent. In many cases, the separation between the work of the skilled and that of the talented is more like a crack in the pavement rather than the distance between opposing walls of the Grand Canyon. Nevertheless, there is a difference and it is a meaningful one.