Monday, February 06, 2006

writing science fiction during the third world war

Before I comment on the above linked title, let me share how I see world forces aligning themselves.

We seem to be seeing quite a large number of new ideas and philosophies rising up to challenge old world standards. One example which would be most obvious to anyone whose been reading my blog would be the Emergent Church scene as opposed to the traditional way of doing church. There should be enough links on this page in case you're wondering what that's all about.

For a while, I've been thinking about how much the Emerging Church movement shares with the Open Source movement in computer software.

"Open Source" might require some explanation for some of my readers. Examples of Open Source software are the LINUX operating system, Open, Mozilla Firefox, and a host of other software projects that allow the user to download the software for free, and even modify it, with the condition that whatever modifications are made become available to the whole software development community. In the same way that Emerging Church is challenging the traditional churches, Open Source is causing headaches for corporate giants like Microsoft.

Maybe I should have titled this blog, Breaking the Monopolies.

The above link to the article by Eleanor Arnason takes the concept into another area, that of the power of the State, the forces behind globalisation, free trade, etc, versus local small farmers victimised by globalisation, AIDS victims who can't pay for patented drugs (and prevented by copyright law from using the cheaper varieties that could save their lives), the activists, and even terrorist organisations. Even war is beginning to be fought differently than before. Eleanor refers to an article by William Lind, called
Understanding Fourth Generation War, also interesting reading in this light.

Eleanor's essay was originally written during the early build-up to the war in Iraq. Even her update was written before the current uproar over the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in the Danish press. The international uproar caused by a single nation's application of freedom of the press inside its own national boarders, further underlines her points.

So the alignment sort of looks like this. On one side, we have traditional church structure, big corporations with their proprietary technologies, the power of the State on which those corporations depend, WTO/G7 style globalisation, etc., all of which seem to be mutually supportive; and on the other: Emerging Church, Open Source software, people rights movements, various autonomous people groups fighting for liberation, and yes, terrorist organisations like Al Queda and Hamas.

Please don't think I'm equating Emerging Church and Open Source software with international terrorism. I'm simply observing the direction in which power and energy seem to be moving -- towards less centralisation, greater input by ordinary people, and and breaking up of monopolys. In some cases, it's for the better, and in others, for evil.

In a world like we seem to be approaching, the Emergent movement could be in a vary good position to bring the Kingdom of God into people's lives. If we're willing to leave our comfort zones (which look like their dissappearing anyway) there is untold opportunity. It's called being as wise as serpents while being as innocent as doves.

Anyway, do read
Eleanor's essay, and someone, please start a discussion somewhere (my own blog doesn't seem to be attracting many of those) on what the Kingdom of God will look like in the "Brave New World" that we can see approaching.

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