A Wickedly Good Combination – Anonymous Hacks the Church

We rarely like to be wakened from our slumber. Our preference is not to be bothered once we have acclimated to the way things are. Clearing our bleary eyes leaves us disoriented and rarely thinking deep enough to root out what really bothers us.

CBS This Morning played the video of Charlie Rose interviewing Hector Monsegur. 

Patty and I watched. Her reply, “Why do we put everything on computers?” It would seem the right question after hearing a description of the potential disruption hackers could cause at airports and in municipalities.

Who Will Guard the Guards?

The line from the interview that seems to capture the spirit of recent times, “Who will guard the guards?” Surely you see the connection. Monsegur explains, “We have a sickening reliance on security contractors.” He notes, “They are not secure.”

Enamored with ease and convenience we trade our responsibility for porridge. Immediate satisfaction rules. Just why did you agree to the new terms on Facebook?

The question does not only rest on security contractors in the face of hackers, or hacktivists. We cannot think this exclusively in terms of police in light of recent events. Nope. The prophet Ezekiel calls out anyone who guards the welfare of others but ends up either derelict or despotic. Looking forward in hope the prophet describes a day when One will emerge whose aim is consistent with the desire to care for all, especially those weighted and oppressed by systems and their czars bent to benefit themselves and maybe a few others.

No Connection with the World

Nearing the end of the interview Rose and Monsegur’s conversation turned introspective, reflective. “What would have happened had you made it to Silicon Valley?” asked Rose. “See there is the problem. I did not make it to Silicon Valley.” “Had I met you when I was 18 . . . I had no connections to the world.” replied Monsegur.

One may hear Monsegur’s words as blaming his circumstances on the course he took. Poor minority on the Lower East Side, raised by his grandmother. I don’t hear him that way. Instead, he points to our disconnected lives that are really interrelated. “Had I met you . . ..” The contrast could not be more evident. Hector did not blame Charlie for not visiting the Lower East Side. But, he did point out that the advantages Charlie Rose had were far different than his own. That is real.

After the interview the cast remarked how sharp, smart, Monsegur came off in the interview. It was almost an air of surprise. Privilege comes in a variety of forms, not just white. And, here is the deeper issue. We live in a world where the privileges of some go unnoticed, as if they come with the territory – not the Lower East Side.

Both Liberals and Conservatives seemed destined to fail for neither are guarded in their guarding their own ideologies. No connection with the world. And, this obtains to the religious as well as the political.

The Church Beyond the World

Pete Ward pointed to a deliciously satirical piece. Yes, it showed up in my FB feed. Never had I read of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley: An Oasis of Fuzzy Thinking. The piece titled, The Church Beyond Community, combined what my friend Marty noted as, “snark and insight.” Thus the title of this piece, Wickedly Good Combination.

In the event you have not clicked over to read, consider this bit,

Plass’s Law derives from an early passage in the original “Sacred Diary“, and is probably best expressed as follows:

“The most efficient use of your church’s resources in evangelism consists of reaching out to people who are Christians already, or easily converted.”

You think about it – if you want a lively church which resounds with heartfelt worship, if you want fervent prayer, if you want – pertinent to the Beaker Folk – generous givers (and of course you want cheerful givers – after all, God loves them so who better to fill your church with) then starting with non-Christians is really hard. You’ve got to begin by meeting some non-Christians in the first place – and that can be tricky.  Then invest time in persuading them that we’re not all middle-class creationist homophobes. Then instill in them the conviction that they’re loathsome reptiles that no good God would love. Then tell them that God loves them.  At some stage in that process get them to believe God exists. Then set them on the 9 stages to salvation, 6 doorways to faith, 3 steps to heaven or whatever programme your church uses. Can take ages.
In our slumber we are increasingly a church beyond (our) communities, even our world. Some might call it the Walmartization of the Church. We tap the resources from one community and branch over to another. After all, our products are cheaper. The need for more money to run our corporate structures fly under the banner of church planting. Sure, if we had better products, cheaper ones that required less of us, we lesser lights might fare better.
Investing in a community for the long haul not only takes ages but is fraught with peril.

Low Hanging Fruit

What struck me by Archdruid Eileen’s piece was not the way it points up how churches tend to go after low hanging fruit, after all it is easy to find disgruntled Christians looking for the next best place. The important note was that our strategies betray our stated aims – reaching those decidedly not Christian, maybe even happy about it. Eileen noted the difficulty in the process of moving into the community, into the world, and making connections with those who might cost us more, take more of our emotional energy, and in the end leave us weary. What happened to the exhortation to, “Not grow weary in well doing?”
There is a difference between low hanging fruit and plentiful fruit. Increasingly we read statistics describing the Nones, the Dones, among other categories that point to those little interested in the games we play. Our games reflect the way we have assimilated practices and expectations of our prevailing culture rather than work for the things that make for peace.
The Archdruid concludes with the easy way to capture the low hanging fruit,
No. Get the pastor’s comedy patter brushed up, improve the mixing desk, invest in some classy PowerPoint backgrounds. Print off some fairly esoteric leaflets, and advertise yourselves as a Biblical/Inclusive/Progressive/Snake-handling/Hipster church online, and in a 30 mile radius. Your rewards will be great on earth, and the people you speak to will be statistically more likely to join you in heaven. Everyone’s a winner! And the people who aren’t winners, are gonna be losers anyway.
About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.