A while back, Andrew Jones noted the significance of the DailyKos. For the last week or so, I have compared the political/social/religious change strategy of Jesus, in his context, with dailykos founder Marcos Zuniga’s strategy in Taking on the System. My hope is to create a hybrid of the two — to see what Jesus-like social engagement might look like in 2008. In this 3rd installment of Jesus and Kos (part 1, part 2), I look at mobilization strategy.
Zuniga discusses the need to take charge and create a group of followers who exist outside the media and political establishment. He exhorts activists to raise up an army of volunteers who, although newbies at first, become experts as they participate in change. He encourages activists to go ahead without authorization — to not wait for the experts (the gatekeepers). These political change movements create alternative sources of information that come from the margins — the unauthorized. These bloggers do not possess the sanctioned qualifications to write or speak — they lack degrees or the right kind of experience. The expert gatekeepers get very upset about these boundaries breaking down, because the experts’ great influence depends on limiting those who are considered to be credible. Zuniga encourages activists to ignore them. Respect comes to those who create great content, not to those who have all the extra letters after their name. Finally, in this Chapter 2 — he writes that collaboration is key – networking with those who share similar passions.
Jesus created a movement outside the halls of power in Jerusalem. He was not a rabbi or official leader or any kind — he probably was a carpenter. He asked people to follow him, to join him in the movement. He did not wait to get approval; he created an alternative movement, unsanctioned by political/religious authorities. The gatekeepers became very frustrated by Jesus bypassing them — if people could be forgiven on the periphery, who needed the temple? To his hearers, Jesus taught as one with authority and not like the other religious leaders. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have the proper schooling — his message of the kingdom of God captivated his hearers. Like John the Baptists’ movement (a related network?), Jesus’ activities in Palestine engaged the populace and ignited a movement of political, religious, and social change.
How do we mashup these two mobilization strategies? Here goes: 21st century Jesus-followers must consider participating in a network of bloggers who exist outside the typical church, media, and political structures. These unauthorized writers, who have no seminary, media, or political credentials, create great content about God’s dream for people (the kingdom), both inside and outside the church. The message and the movement of these bloggers may frighten the gatekeepers, because gatekeepers form their identity around the idea that they, and not these upstart bloggers, speak for God.
Although these new forms of community may not resemble anything like a congregation, is it possible we may be seeing a new form of religious structure emerging?