A Collaborative Brain Storm

Written by AriahFine : November 13, 2007

One of the things I’ve found so fascinating about the Internet is the ability for people with similar interest and passions to come together, from many different geographical regions, online, and collaborate.

This post is an experiment in that. I’ve begun a few lists of ideas. It’s vague, and it’s meant to be. Basically, what I’m looking for is what sort of creative outside of the box ideas we can come up with collectively in different areas as it relates to the ‘Church’ and Christianity.

I’m going to use google documents for this as I think it’s the most intuitive for this project. If you would like to add to the list I simply need to add your email address and you can edit the document at your leisure.

Here is the Document: Ideas.

The beauty of this is that it can be an example of how we truly are the body of Christ, made up of many, unique parts. The role of leading the church is not just for Pastors and ‘Leadership’ it is for us as a body.

Let the experiment begin. (Comment below and I’ll add your email to the collaborator list or email me ariahfine at gmail)

for further reading . . .

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5 Responses to “A Collaborative Brain Storm”

  1. Erik on November 13th, 2007 4:06 pm

    I would love to contribute some ideas :)

  2. forrest curo on November 14th, 2007 1:34 pm

    [I’ve misplaced my link for signing in properly… (Help!?)]

    but aside from that, the ideas on your list mainly leave me with a question: “Why?!”

    What are people supposed to do in “church,” anyway?

    We Quakers use the word “worship” for what we do in meeting, while more mainstream denominations use the word for whatever they do in “church”–but ultimately “to worship” means “to respect & honor.” We worship God 24/7 or we don’t worship Him at all!

    But those group activities we _call_ “worship” are something else–an expression of worship if we’re lucky–but to be precise about it, they should be things we do to “know” God better, beyond what we’re able to do on our own.

    Just praising God–not because He needs to be flattered like an Oriental monarch, but because it helps us feel the truth of His nature, that itself is worthwhile in itself. You can do that via art or music or poetry… and you can also potentially persue these activities as a distraction. When we practice them as our gifts–making beauty because this is how God works, what God can do with us if we don’t pretend to have anything of our own apart from God, that’s a sacred act. If we just “do art” in a trivial way, just feeding our egos or our sense of “communtiy,” it may help introduce us to what we may eventually learn to do with it, but it isn’t there yet.

    Same with gardening. Sacred. Or just an activity, depending on how conscious we are of the potential there.

    Good works? A wonderful way to manifest & praise God–or an act of self-righteous vanity. Or a little of both, which may serve to teach us to practice it better…

    Discussions? Certainly. A Bible, if we think we already know what’s in it, might as well be a brick. The best sermon in the world, listened to uncritically… is like sowing seeds on pavement. Reading a religious work together, talking about it, finding and sharing unrecognized aspects of it, can make all the difference. (I LIKED that suggestion!)

    There’s a true Quaker story: A man comes out of the meeting house, sees a woman standing outside. She looks him in the eye, says (more or less), “A traditional Quaker, you came to this meeting no different than you left it a week ago, and you’re leaving it the same way you came! What will you do in the end?” The right person, at the right time & place, she utterly changed his life with that question.

    So. What do you want people to come to church for?

  3. AriahFine on November 15th, 2007 1:52 am


    Can I start by saying your a really well-written and deep thinker. It’s taken me a while to process through what you said, and I’m not even close to done yet. At the same time let me clarify why I chose the list ideas I did.

    I agree with all of what you said, that I understood. The reason I chose the ‘pastor’ ‘worship’ ‘church’ ideas to brainstorm is because I think the current mainstream church lacks creativity. And I figured there are a lot of brilliant people like you who visit Jesus Manifesto who could throw out some ideas that might help those churches step out of their shell a little bit.

    I’m already a skeptic and critic of church in general most of the time, but I saw this as an opportunity to plant suggestions rather then critics on my part. I completely agree though that if things aren’t done with a proper spirit and attitude, they aren’t worship and are trivial at best.

    I hope that clarified what I was intending at least a little bit.

  4. forrest curo on November 15th, 2007 10:19 am

    Yes, I think I knew that’s what you were trying to do.

    But I don’t think the current mainstream church’s problem is a lack of creativity. Not that that isn’t a problem–but God Himself is, among other things, ultimate creativity. Thus a lack of creative life in a church is symptomatic of it having lost touch with that Source.

    “In theology it isn’t what you know, but Who you know, that matters!”

    There’s a good book, by the way, Sara Miles’ _Take This Bread_, where she talks about wandering into an Episcopal church where some of the group have gotten creative with the liturgy–and then God unexpectedly blows her mind out via the communion ceremony. She’s always been an atheist, but all of a sudden she knows that the bread is full of Jesus, and is thereby zapped into an major resorting of everything she’s ever thought with this new truth! So I’m not saying that innovating is a blind alley. But the spiritual hunger that brought her to that service in a supersaturated state of readiness, that’s key!

    The Quaker thing is conceptionally radical. Theologically, we should be right down there rolling on the floor next to the Pentacostals! But in practice, there are a lot of us who just want to do good things, and to have good things, and mainly to have a good place to bring the kids Sunday morning!

    Did you ever read The Essential Rumi (Coleman Barks’ poetic rendering of Rumi–not a direct translation of the Persion but then maybe he’s translating what Rumi knew better than what a “real” translator would find in Rumi’s Persian…?) Anyhow, there’s his poem about Hallaj: You’re cold, and you see a fur coat floating down the river, so Hallaj tells you to jump in and get it. Only you then realize that the ‘coat’ is actually a live bear; “This coat has decided to wear me home!”

    God isn’t something you can just play with on Sunday, but that’s how most people see going to church. So you may be benefitting from that conception, in getting them there in the first place, but then you’ll very much need to struggle against it. And so far as you manage to pull a congregation out of the “church” rut, you’re going to disturb people! (Maybe Jesus was using the best strategy, going to the “sinners” first!!!)

    “My heart was afflicted for the children of men, for they are blind in their hearts, and do not see. I found them all drunk; there was no one athirst among them… When they shake off their wine, then they will turn around.” (Jesus, in the Gospel of Thomas)

    Nothing wrong with asking for suggestions, getting people thinking about this… But even better, maybe, if they will pray about it?

  5. AriahFine on November 17th, 2007 12:50 am

    Well, you’ve extended my reading list.
    You’ve given me a lot to think about.
    Starts making me wonder what I’m doing babbling on.

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