I wasn't too familiar with Wikipedia years ago…I remember the first time I saw it online…frankly as a part of the Guttenberg generation, I thought it was heresy! How could an article on some topic of interest be "aired" publicly if it wasn't written by a "expert"? Couldn't that get us into trouble? For some "odd" reason, for years I simply accepted encyclopedias, dictionaries, commentaries, etc. because they were proportedly arranged by and delivered to the "common person" by the smart people (intellectually gifted, authoritatively elite) within our society. I never gave it another thought…if it had "Encyclopedia Brittanica" on the cover, I put my trust in the so-called experts. Well, times have changed. Now we have open source, collaborative definition…as stated by the following:
"The open source model includes the concept of concurrent yet different agendas and differing approaches in production or analyzation and definition… it is in contrast with more centralized models of development such as those typically used in the past. A main principle and practice of open source development is peer producttion by collaboration with the end-product being available to the public for its collaboration as well".
Open Source is just that…it opens definition up to collaboration and relational accountability. It is, in many respects, like facting an adaptive challenge vs. a technical challenge…in other words, that which is "expert driven" versus that where it takes an impassioned and focused community in which to address a particular problem or dillema. Now, don't get me wrong…I can understand the limitations of open source materials…in fact, in some of the college teaching that I do I still ask students to move beyond that which they can access online by getting their information from something called a book in something called a libarary. But I had to come to some hard realizations as someone who is living in a "new world"…a Google-driven, wiki-world…to deal exclusively with the printed page was not cutting it. There was something broader and richer that I was missing in my "head in the sand" resistance to anything "wiki". So, I came to appreciate "open source" definition…
So, lately I've been taking this open source thinking for a bit of a spin in other areas of life…put it this way, I think the same can be said of being and growing as a disciple…we used to be dependant upon the so-called experts…those who had the training and expertise to guide and take responsibility for the production of so-called Christian living or successful, "faithful" church life. There were books written as well as conferences, seminars and courses taught by the experts who were more than ready to give the humble and receptive there prescription on how to live the life they've discovered or to build a church just like they had built. All one needed to do was consult the experts and the rest of thinking had been done. In fact, I heard more about trust in experts than I did on trusting the Holy Spirit for many of my tender years as a follower of Jesus.
But times have changed…we are now in a time of open source discipleship…probably the most potent time in history outside of those early decades of following Jesus…yes, the apostles were around during those early years but make no mistake about it – it was the Holy Spirit that reigned. It was the acts of the Holy Spirit that every one had access to and through whom those faithful early followers discovered what it meant for them to embrace their identity in Jesus, grow together in the bond of peace and appreciation for every gift that was brought to bear in their expontentially growing, disciple-making, fruitfulled lives. In fact, you would be hard pressed to discover any other meaning in the New Testament other than what is said in Ephesians concerning the importance of the collaboration of gifts…
"…we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love" Paul in Ephesians 4:15-16
I've search for intellectual elitism in this section of scripture…and I come up empty every time. It seems that the more and more I look at this text and others, the more I am struck by the fact that we are living in a time where the Spirit of God is attempting to hand the keys of the Kingdom back to the people to which it first belonged…every follower of Jesus who is made alive in Jesus and who is empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is "open source discipleship" time…as we collaborate together as followers of Jesus…each of us adding that part of the story that is uniquely ours and desperately needed for the larger story to be actualized in our lives.
By the way, do you want to know a little bit more about Wikipedia? Just take a gander at this video: