Deadline day. Today’s the day we choose the topic for the world’s first open source sermon. Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment, to make suggestions, and to critique. Here’s the full list of sermon topic proposals pulled from your comments.
- The church’s role in caring for the environment
- The possibility of life on other planets
- The laughter/humor of God
- Christianity vs. narcissism
- Food, fellowship, and eating disorders
- The body of Christ
Based on the comments, the top three suggestions were: the environment, the humor of God, and the body of Christ. I agree that the environment is an important topic, and one too often ignored in churches. On the other hand, I’m obviously interested in the idea of a God that laughs. (Hence the name of my blog!) But I think the body of Christ image has the most to offer in this context.
We are performing an experiment, a two way test. The net promises limitless information and collaboration, but do those promises apply to the church as well? Is Jesus welcome on the net? If not, then this experiment will fail. The open source processes that created elegant, complex software like Linux and Firefox will fail to produce a preachable sermon. All we’ll get is more of the triviality and purposeless argument that so often passes for content on the net.
But the test works both ways. The church promises connections too: peace and wholeness. The church promises more than information: truth, or at least wisdom. It promises we will be the body of Christ, and Christ will be our spiritual head. Then it hides those promises behind walls of bureaucracy and conformity. Is the net welcome in the church? If not, then this experiment will fail. The church that learned Latin, German, English, and thousands of other languages will fail to speak to the digital age. All we’ll get is more of the triviality and purposeless argument that so often passes for sermons on Sunday morning.
If we do it right, the sermon itself will become a meta-message of hope.
Congratulations! We’ve completed the first step. Our subject is the body of Christ in a digital age. Paul has already suggested a possible sermon title, “Jesus is my Facebook Friend”. Our next job is to find scriptures that speak insightfully to that topic. We need at least one Biblical text, but non-biblical texts are welcome as well. Put your suggestions in a comment to this post. The deadline is Aug 23 at noon, Central Standard Time (GMT-6) when I’ll choose the winner(s) with consideration both to the principles of the project and the general consensus of contributors.