i have had this idea in my head for a little while, but just have not blogged it. for some of my readers they probably have no idea about the emerging church. so here is a link to a quick definition for those that are not familiar with it. and those that think bad of it, too bad and not my problem.
the book, the spider and the starfish speaks out people who are caught in the old command and control system of organizations and that they do not understand organizations that are decentralized. they should learn to understand them, because a decentralized organization has the ability to really create problems for the centralized organization. here is an example. napster was created to pretty much screw the music industry by allowing people to share music or as the music industry saw it... steal music. napster had a creator. the music industry went straight at the creator to sue him and put him out of business. what happened? napster was shut down! what happened next? three to five other peer sharing music softwares were made available on the internet for people to share music. the music industry believed that if they took out the leader that they problem would be solved. you see, people want to share music and will continue to share music no matter what the music industry does because it does not rely on one person to provide it. the more times the music industry went after people, the more new softwares were made available. now there is something called e-mule that is like napster but the creator is anonymous. he/she does not want to make money and no one knows who it is, so they cannot sue him/her. the book discusses that in a true decentralized organization that you can take out someone you perceive as a leader, but really is just a person that people follow at the time until someone better comes along. the idea or organization is not built upon one person, but is built upon an ideology.
ok, this is longer than post of my posts but hang in there. i see a very similar pattern in the way that many traditional conservative christian leaders are dealing with the emerging church. they have tried to pin point people they consider the leaders of the movement. brian mclaren, rob bell, dan kimball and i could name so many more. the interesting thing is that if you ask these people they would not say that they are a leader in the movement. brian would even say that it is a conversation and is not a denomination. non-traditional churches are popping up all over the place and they are not asking for permission from one of these leaders. they may cling on to some of the ideas and practices of these leaders, but it is truly a decentralized leadership that looks toward an ideology for direction. these churches are aspiring to be missional and followers of christ. as much as many people who do not like the emerging movement think that these people follow a person, they do not. if we were never to hear from brian or rob again. this movement would not die. you would just see a new person take the place of brian or rob.
the more people try to hit the emerging church leaders over the head with a hammer hoping that they will go away. they will just be creating a multiplication strategy that is similar to the early church.