Remember the artilleryman


In the book by HG Wells, War of the Worlds, the world is conquered by Martians with superior scientific technology that then proceed to eat humans. The protagonist, whilst wandering around fairly aimlessly stumbles across an artilleryman who he had met earlier. This man is full of hope and vision and explains his solution to the Martians. He is going to get a few people to dig a tunnel that will then extend to a series of caverns where humans could live. He talks about how families could move down there to repopulate humankind, how they would have cities and then conduct research to build their own heat rays and in the future rise up against the Martians.

However, it turns out that in a week of digging this artilleryman had dug a hole that would have taken the protagonist less than a day to dig. The man is so happy with his work he starts drinking and playing cards. This guy is a visionary. He is also an idiot with no sense of what it takes to carry out the vision. I am the artilleryman!

I like ideas and I like talking about all the fantastic ways the church can move to better itself and the world. I’m usually quite good at telling other people about my ideas and getting them briefly excited and sometimes I’m even right about these things. However, it is important to realise my limitations. I’m a dreamer and I live in the clouds, I need to surround myself with people who live on planet earth.

This means 2 things. Firstly, it means it is incredibly important that I look to my peers, Andrew and Rob. Unfortunately, Rob is a bit of a dreamer too, just a slightly more grounded dreamer. Andrew Belcher on the other hand is a very practical person. Secondly it means that we as a team of people need to look to the wider community. Dreamers don’t last long in the open source community. These communities are described as “Do-ocracies” where people who DO things have power and therefore the projects that succeed, succeed because someone has taken the time to actually write code. It doesn’t matter how wonderful the idea sounds nor how much support it has. If no one does anything nothing is done! This is one reason why I am trying to talk my idea down a bit. I’m blogging about it but not announcing it in the real world until we have something of substance to talk about.

A dream of the future church

There is an area where my skills are important. The reality is that we are going to be working with “the church” as in the whole global entity and the church is simply not perfect. In fact there are many Christians who lament about how it is sometimes harder to work with other Christians then non-Christians. Personally I have found it at times difficult to navigate the labyrinth of politics and culture in the church and sometimes I leave with a sour taste in my mouth.

The important thing, I think, is this. This company’s aim is not just to create a product and certainly not just to make money or just to save the church money. It is to influence the church. I believe that, in the same way Facebook and Google are trying to encourage a more open society and attacking some aspects of privacy. I believe the church will benefit from being more open. Sometimes we may be right about these things and sometimes we may be wrong. What is important is that although we are trying to influence the church for the better (and ultimately serve the church). We will NOT be making the church “Good”. That is not our job, the guy who has the job (God) is on it and we know he WILL succeed. This means that throughout our involvement with the church some of it will be difficult, some people in the church might not be very nice and sometimes we might get hurt or burnt out.

But this is just what the Gospel is all about! The beauty is that God uses terrible people to make the world awesome with it. The beauty of that is that it means I can take part in God’s plan for the world. When we do work with the tribes online, it might be sad that the church isn’t perfect. But how awesome will it be if God uses even the 3 of us to be a tiny part of his plan to totally complete his church?

The vision and the dream is that our interactions with the church will be joyful!

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One thought on “Remember the artilleryman

  1. Jamie, This blog is awesome! I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with a million things here and it’s also REALLY well written. I really related to the line you said “If no one does anything nothing is done!”, this is why you might have noticed me being impatient with people with ideas … where I’m working we have enough ideas right now, we just need to get stuff done!! I love this blog!

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