Monday, June 22, 2015

Let the Special BE Special: A075 #fundformation

Virtual Elevator Speech for A075: Develop Awareness of Online Christian Formation Resources

Approve the creation and curation of a central digital hub of Christian formation and education resources through DFMS/Episcopal Church Website.  This action will
  • serve the questions and needs of the local mission of the church in all dioceses,
  • cease needless and wasteful repetition of identical cataloging,
  • empower and share the best resources for the Episcopal Church’s mission of discipleship.

For a more interesting exploration of the topic, keep reading.  This might make more sense if you have seen the Lego Movie.  Which if you are interested enough in the Trinity and formation to read this, then you should SEE THE LEGO MOVIE.  And #fundformation.

Subsidiarity.  Let the local folks do what they do best, and let the judicatory levels do what they do best is the Unikitty definition. One could characterize it as anti-federalist.  In its more prophetic construction, you could interpret it as grassroots organizing.  Subsidiarity came up frequently in the Anglican Covenant episode, which also suggests it has shades of' keep your hands on your side of the car!'  

“Matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority”. What does smallest mean here?  Can it mean most efficient?  What is not always mentioned when discussing subsidiarity is that the concept does have a role for a central organizing body.  This central organization should handle missions that are the same everywhere, and particularly those that support the local mission yet are broadly neglected by the grassroots level.

The internet is about as close as we come to something that is the same everywhere.  I realize there is a dark-net thing that I know nothing about; and I realize that not everyone has equal access to these resources (nor translation capabilities), however this is evolving rapidly.   The resources cataloged by Ogden in Bluebonnet diocese will be basically the same as those curated by Harper in Peanutville province.  The central organization is best equipped to organize things that are (or we want to be) the same everywhere, and those that are crucial but frequently left lying in the things left undone pile.

Right now there is an empty website framework for formation and education resources for my diocese. It is just sitting there in cyberspace, like the housing division where the roads were paved but the houses have yet to be built.  I already keep a measly assortment of Pinterest pages of interesting resources I find for curriculum and seasons.  Yet it barely skims the surface of what is available.  Every week an interesting and usable 'curriculum' floats past my line of sight. Sometimes I manage to pin it; usually I do not.   10 years ago the pickings were slim and it was hard to learn about the options that were effective, cost efficient and didn't activate my progressive orthodoxy gag reflex.  Right now there are amazing new offerings all the time, many of which are inexpensive and downloadable.  For example the day when a holy geek posted that the Messy Church book was free on Kindle that day only.  Awesome.  Where there is yummy wild fruit there is also just as much free and downloadable chaff.  Yet there it sits in the pile of things left unsorted.

That incomplete subdivision of a formation site, there is plenty to fill it.  And my plan is that once I find the time,  I am going to digitally cut and paste from a Bluebonnet diocese and a Yankee diocese and the Peanut Ministry Center and the Master Builder vault.  My plan is to spend a significant amount of time making digital Xerox copies.  My plan is to be an unmodern monk, wandering the digital highway and hand copying a missal when 3-d printers are a thing!! DIY! (Blech emoticon!) This is time and talent that could be spent visiting and calling (and driving) and offering in-person support and guidance.  Time that hasn't been found because I am engaged in the local part of our church-wide ministry, the serving and visiting and human part.

78th General Convention Resolution A075 directs the communication office and formation office to create a central resource and information hub at the DFMS level to curate and freely share the wide array of resources that can help congregations teach, tend, and transform.  Approve this.  Fund this.  It is not something to cement and make permanent, it is a foundation to build and will need ongoing leadership to maintain.  This is an example of one of the best ways that the DFMS Formation office is most valuable.  

The local level is best equipped with a legion of disciples seeking the reign of God.  The central level leadership is the most efficient site for a digital resource hub.  Because the internet is basically the same everywhere.  Furthermore, the DFMS leadership is particularly called to keep the weakest and smallest among us equipped for our common mission.  The churchwide level office for lifelong formation, properly funded,  is the best zone from which to curate resources and offer this central hub. Multiple dioceses repeating the same material and posting the same material on their various sites that are accessible to everyone is wasteful when, as I have already suggested, the internet is basically the same everywhere.  A075 needs to be passed because it is a wise and efficient use of our talents and resources.  It offers these resources to the whole church, regardless of the wealth or shoestrings of the diocese you serve in.  

Approve A075 to direct the building and continual nurture of a central digital hub of Christian formation and education resources through DFMS/Episcopal Church Website.  This action will
  • serve the questions and needs of the local mission of the church in all dioceses,
  • cease the talent wasteful repetition of identical online cataloging,
  • empower and share the most amazing resources for the Episcopal Church’s mission of awesome discipleship.

FORMA advocacy group member
Digital resource part-time curator
Local lifelong minister
Diocesan missioner
Provincial connector
Computer literate, and ok master builder, since 1979

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