Remix Reformation: A book proposal

I have been trying to discern what my next book will be. I thought it was going to be a proper theology, but, once I finished the first chapter of that work, I realized that the text wanted to stand on its own. Hence, Theology is Art, which was completed about three months ago.

Earlier in December, I tried to write an epic novel, but it was…horrible. No lie. It was really, really bad. Some of you, who are good and kind, offered to read it to see if it was really as bad as I am saying it is, but I’m never letting that puppy see the light of day.

I briefly tried to write another piece of fiction, but I found I had no passion for it. The smart money is for me to write something on spirituality and personality types, for I get around 10 visitors a day to the site simply because they are looking for that kind of information.

But then, a few days ago, I saw the film Press Pause Play. Here is the description from the film’s homepage:

The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, with unlimited opportunities. But does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out? This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world’s most influential creators of the digital era.

The following clip, in particular, caught my attention (mostly because I have a man-crush on Seth Godin):

He’s right. The “industry is dead,” regardless of what industry you’re a part of. That means the church, too.

This film and other works surveying the current state of “remix culture” (and the tangential issues of piracy and copyright infringement) have prompted me to begin working on another exploration of the intersection of digital culture and the Christian faith. I’m tentatively titling the work Remix Reformation.

Here’s the abstract I wrote:

With the advent of the digital networked culture, sharing and collaboration are the norm. The democratization of media has enabled anyone to become a “content creator” and distribute their new creations to the world.

In essence, it has become so much easier to do what we have always done: take the creations of the past, build upon them to generate something new, and distribute that new creation to the world. However, those who have profited in the past are seeking to control the next wave of creation through copyright law and the protection of “intellectual property.”

Because the powers of the past willfully neglect the process by which new creations are born,  a growing number of “digital pirates” are seeking to actively subvert and disrupt the immoral laws that have been put into place. Through piracy, copyright infringement, and a new approach to copyright (open source, Creative Commons, etc.) the controllers of the past are being neutralized and rendered irrelevant.

There is a similar story that can be told about the Christian faith, I believe.

Christianity was, itself, a remix of Judaism and Hellenistic culture (so was the Bible). This new creation then spread to Europe and on to the Modern west. At each stage of the advance, the form of Christianity that was prevalent resisted the progression of the faith. Notably, Protestant persecution occurred during the period of the Inquisition. Today, however, the extreme measures taken by the Inquisition simply would not fly. What has risen in its place is a vitriolic coercion in the defense of orthodoxy, which often takes the form of laying the blame of the decline of Christendom at the feet of progressive Christians.

The only way for Christianity to move forward is to nullify and neutralize the neo-orthodoxy Christian fundamentalism that is attempting to retain control. Remix Reformation will explore how, exactly, this can be done in theology, spirituality, and in the life of the Church.

How does that strike you?

A Round of Words in 80 Days

I’m one of those guys who always has something I want to do. I have a crud-load of ideas, any number of which any or may not turn into something. My problem is not “What will I do?” but “What should I do?”

But I also have a quite busy schedule. I travel a lot. As an introvert, traveling is hell. It is so exhausting, and the possibility of productivity when I am passing through airports all day is close to nil unless I’ve got a firm deadline set by someone else.

Then I stumbled upon A Round of Words in 80 Days. The subtitle of the site says it all: “The writing challenge that knows you have a life.” Isn’t that great?

So, this is my post about joining up, setting my goals, and asking to be held accountable. I learned writing Open Source Church that the communal aspect (even for this strong introvert) was key to success. Seriously, having a regular check in from my editor or Carol and Chad was key.

So the way the ROW80 goals go, you establish measurable goals and check in on them on Wednesdays and Sundays. Here is mine:

Inspired by Kait’s “Test Mile” analogy, I’m going to commit to either:

  • outlining/brainstorming for 30 minutes per day or
  • writing at least 500 words a day.

I will accomplish one of these goals 5 of 7 days during a week, and will establish the times (blocking out at least an hour) to do this work during my beginning of the week planning session.

First up: My cozy-ish mystery novel, staring a pastor as amateur sleuth. I’ll be using the assignments found in “The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery” to guide my work.