Whom The Beast Calls Home
Our developing Network Centric Church -- the prayer panels, both mobile and fixed, and the highly distributed network that is its foundation -- is remarkably like the network that the US Military uses on the battlefield.
This is curious.
Or perhaps it's not so curious; perhaps it's revelatory.
This new technology allows people to be more intimately present to each other. It is intended by God to inflame love: this purpose is its greatest promise.
Indeed, love is the greatest promise of all things on this earth, including poverty and suffering and death. In Christ there is hope that reveals unbounded opportunity for love.
Yet how do churches react to this technology, which bears so much promise for the spiritual life? By withdrawing from it in fear.
This is truly curious.
The US Military does not fear this technology: to them it is opportunity. They have used this technology to reform their tactics by making real-time digital communication -- a network of relationships between soldiers -- the center of every operation. They propose bluntly that the digital network is their most critical strategic and tactical asset.
The result? The US Military would rather fight on its own than with even its most advanced allies, because all other militaries are relatively -- indeed stunningly -- incompetent: they just get in the way. European governments acknowledge this; in Bosnia they suffered a rude shock: they could barely even grasp the capabilities of the US Military, much less fight beside it.
When promised a technology that makes human relationships primary, the US Military acts; churches cower. Thus a God-given opportunity for love has been surrendered to fear; those left to treasure its potential, are those who strive to kill.
Whose fault is this?
Are vast populations aflame with the humility and poverty of love? Must MTV's programming directors ponder the market impact of teen prayer life? Do board members of Time Warner retreat to Aspen to think-tank the sweeping influence of heroic virtue on consumer behavior?
Of course not: the shocking humility of love is so rare, it's never a bother.
It should be a bother.
The US Military does not fear: they see opportunity. MTV does not fear: they see opportunity.
Who then fears?
Hope is a proof of love, a freedom that banishes demons; timidity and fear are close to pride, a bondage that demons call home.
Who then lacks the fruits of faith?
Perhaps we ought to be more careful when we presume to know the chosen habitat of the Beast: perhaps the Beast finds his most welcome home with us.
For in truth, MTV never claimed to be a font of God's Word; that's our responsibility. MTV may be plagued by sexual vice and material slavery, but in relative terms, those vices are nothing: what we have fallen into -- the fear and timidity born of pride -- is a cluster of vices far deeper, more subtle and more deadly. We've been neutered. But worse: we've neutered Christ.
The Beast is a brilliant strategist: he is fighting the battle not by taking over MTV, but rather, by hanging out with us.