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from network to organization: part three- the bureaucracy! (introduction)

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  • Gordon Raynal
    Hi Bob and all, In my last note I said, in the beginning there was a network. The goer s to form it were the apostle, 2 by 2, pairs. The stay-er s were
    Message 1 of 1 , May 19, 2009
      Hi Bob and all,

      In my last note I said, "in the beginning" there was a network. The
      goer's to form it were "the apostle, 2 by 2, pairs." The stay-er's
      were the homey folk and their guests.
      The goer's went, spoke and listened, dwelled, dined, healed and
      left. The stayer's listened, spoke, provided shelter, provided food
      and dined, allowed (socially) for the social healing of this human
      transaction and those with "illnesses" allowed the apostles to do
      their healing work and showed the apostles the door:)! Homes that
      joined the cause made for a network of "the Kingdom of God" come near
      places. That was "in the beginning." As it seems Jesus was killed
      fairly soon after this all took off (although again, we don't know
      the year this was started nor the year he was killed and Mark and
      John provide 2 entirely different time frames), but Jesus does not
      himself suggest any other roles than what is suggested above. To
      think about that and to turn to the earliest materials we have about
      social development we turn to Paul's writing some 20 years out and
      now words to Gentile cities and an even more mixed association of
      peoples (Diaspora Jews, proselytes/ god-fearers and Gentile former
      (?) pagans). Below I'll address the increased number of roles, what
      we can know about their tasks, how Paul understand their "ordering,"
      and then the various lists of the most key figures we find in the
      various strands of the traditions available to us.

      Before I get to those points some general sociological observations
      are in order:
      a. movements that last become organizations. Organizations obviously
      need organization. Tasks increase. Roles increase. To have order the
      participants must figure out a sense of that order. And in line with
      these obvious observations, enduring organizations that are family
      oriented and generational have to tend to issues of not only shared
      chartering beliefs/ practices (so affirmational speech and ethos
      description), but also to the task of rearing "the young" and "the
      new." Hence the need arises for clear affirmational summaries, clear
      ethos statements, and clear didactic formula to teach the newbies and
      the new generations. Paul wrote 20 years into the movement to an
      expanding movement, a movement that had added city centers with
      connected homes in cities, and to literally a new generation of
      people, many of whom had never even been to Palestine, much less had
      ever heard Jesus.

      b. reconciliation organizations seek to draw diversity and find
      unity. It should come as absolutely no surprise that such an
      organization is going to have a lot of diverse folks with a lot of
      diverse ideas in it! As so often folks start to search for (for
      whatever reason) an "original true essence," this will be hard to
      locate in any reconciliation movement. Ideas brought to the table
      will be diverse. Motivations and interests will be diverse.
      Interests in being there will be diverse. In this case, any given
      extended family might have a really interested mom, a half interested
      dad, a grandpa who thinks the whole idea is nuts, an aunt who finds
      this all boring, and two teenage sons, one of whom is interested and
      excited, the other who'd rather be out with his friends. These are
      human dynamics. The idea that there was at one point one kind of
      purity of theology/ ideology/ ethical clarity, simply shouldn't be
      expected. And this was a Jewish movement. So I'll remind all of the
      old rabbinical joke: "put two rabbi's in a room discussing Torah and
      there are always at least 3 opinions:)!" Start to add in a more
      mixed crowd of backgrounds, places, interest levels, etc. and the
      idea of a single "true essence" is wishful thinking. This is true in
      sharply ideological groups. This is ***really*** true in
      reconciliation groups.

      c. (noting the above) admitting from the outset diversity, then a
      key to discovering "the common ground" that is forwarded by a
      movement is in the ethos language. A language matrix the avows the
      beliefs/ spirit of/ values/ practices will show the dynamics of what
      a movement is up to. In our extant materials we find a basic
      agreement about what was core in Q/ Luke and Matthew and the Didache
      laid out as a core listing of Jesus' aphorisms. The Didache will
      call these shared words, "The Way of Life." ( found in Q1/ Luke
      6:27-31). In Paul and in James we find credo/ motto like statements
      that are in accord with the spirit of these word. Paul's, "the fruit
      of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-26) and James', "the wisdom from
      above." (James 3:17-18). The Gospels of Thomas and the Johannine
      materials also speak to this core ethos, as do the later deutero
      Paulines, Hebrews and the Johannine epistles, but not via these
      summary formations. In these words we can find the core of what
      bound to community to a reconciliation sense of purpose and action.

      d. there is always an important difference to be made between
      diversity that is pushed to factionalize a movement and just good old
      serious arguing which does not aim at factionalization. Boundary
      issues are always important to keep in mind. Just how must diversity
      is tolerable? What goes beyond the pale? This will vary in
      different places and among different groups. One thing we surely see
      in our materials is lots of beliefs, ideas and practices thrown into
      the mix. We see lots of hearty arguing. We see "playing favorites"
      over who is most important to listen to! ("I belong to...", as Paul
      is forced to write about to Corinth). We simply don't have the
      resources to be clear about lots of details on these matters in the
      earliest years. Creed writing and canonization are 3rd/ 4th century
      creations. Who knows how many pieces of literature that were lost.
      We have to work from what we have. But it is important to keep in
      mind boundary issues and varying degrees of flexibility about those
      issues, when seeking to figure out matters of organizational
      development, messaging development and practice developments.

      Have got to run. Will send this note and then get to the
      aforementioned points at a later time.

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC
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