Monday, October 23, 2006


Deliberate Simplicity advocates a cellular approach to transforming the spiritual landscape. We actually have a very good (but bad) example of what we're talking about in the terrorist networks that have (unfortunately) changed our world (Al Quaida, Hezbola, etc.). In a recent Leadership Magazine article, Brian McLaren beautifully expands on this analogy:

I can’t stop thinking of faith communities as “unterror cells.” While terror cells plot violence to spread fear, faith cells plot goodness to spread hope. Both want change; both see status quo as unacceptable. But terror networks believe change is pushed by fear and violence; faith networks believe constructive change is pulled by hope and love, service and friendship.

Recently I heard someone describe terror networks. All nodes of the network innovate, he said, and all nodes coordinate to share their innovations. In this way all nodes influence the direction of the network as a whole, and any node can lead. They move like a flock of birds, school of fish, or swarm of bees, and they can respond to changes quickly. All nodes recruit, too, and all nodes share a common and clearly defined enemy – an enemy big enough and bad enough (in their minds) to keep them tightly unified.

What would happen if more of us saw our faith communities – churches, small groups, circle of friends, monastic communities, mission teams, whatever – as nodes in an unterror network that was constantly plotting goodness and hope?

And what is more pastors saw it not as a desk job but as an integral mission, where we are supported by our churches to be pastors for our communities? What is we saw ourselves as leaders of a global unterror network?

Could our denominations reinvent themselves, transforming from systems of control and homogenization to diverse networks linking unterror nodes for communication, coordination, innovation, inspiration, mutual influence?

What is the real enemy we’re striving against? And what is the hope we’re striving for? What’s preventing us from moving together like a flock of birds? What kinds of young men and women would be attracted to this kind of life – as unterrorists, networked in subversion of every unjust and apathetic status quo?....What if the pastorate really is a non-office job, and the local church an unterror cell?

I think that McLaren pretty well summarized what we are trying to be and do at CTK, don’t you?

It occurred to me this week that CTK does not have ANY Worship Centers (that I’m aware of) that convene in a church building (a building specifically designed to be a church). Who knows? Maybe we never will.

On the subject of terror/unterror, the 5th Anniversary of 9/11 is coming up on a Monday night. Here’s an idea: How about holding a “Prayer for our Enemies” night in your community – either through small groups, or in a central location. I think it would make a great statement about “the Jesus way” on a night when many people are going to have their anger inflamed all over again.

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