I've been writing a good bit during this past year about a significant point of convergence between the current emerging missional phenomenon and early Methodism... that both represent a networked, rather than a congregational-centric much less denominational-centric, approach to embodying Christian community and mission. When Wesley spoke of "the connexion" he wasn't talking about general agencies, districts, and bishops. He was really talking about the far more decentralized and "networky" structures and relationships formed in the Methodist movement he was helping to lead. Those INCLUDED congregations, and to that degree the denominational structures (if you could quite call them that in the 18th century) to which they were connected, but were neither defined nor limited by them.
So tonight I came across a link (from, of all places, the Evangelism officer of The Episcopal Church!) to something called the Cluetrain Manifesto-- which essentially is the 95 Theses of the network vision.
Here are a few excerpts:
In just a few more years, the current homogenized "voice" of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.
Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.
We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.
If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change.
We've got some ideas for you too: some new tools we need, some better service. Stuff we'd be willing to pay for. Got a minute?
Read it and think about the connections you see for what the shape of Christian missional community can be now... or can be again... for the people called Methodist... starting where YOU are!
Peace in Christ,