The Disruptive Gospel

As the 20th century drew to a close, a German scientist named Karlheinz Brandenburg was working on a logarithm that would help reduce the size of certain types of computer files; specifically music files. Eventually, he landed on a formula that helped him shrink the size of a standard music composition by about a factor of 10.

Because the file format was designed for a group of scientists known as the Moving Picture Experts Group, it took on an abbreviated version of their name, “mp3.” Aided by the explosion of Napster and websites like mp3.com, the phenomenon of music-as-digital-files exploded.

Music would never be the same.

“Disruptive technology” is technology that enters a given market and, because of its price and or innovation, not only competes in that market, it actually redefines the market entirely. To be concise, it renders “competition” irrelevant, and redefines consumer behavior – it becomes the new standard, the new paradigm.

Whether you officially consider mp3 file compression disruptive technology or not, it’s difficult to argue that the innovation significantly changed the entire paradigm of music consumption. It changed forever our thinking about music (music should be portable, free, and easily shared), as well as our behavior (we either download our music illegally, or pay .99 for a single through iTunes, rather than buying a physical disc or tape from a store).

Mp3 technology had a major part in rendering irrelevant everything else in the “market” of music – CDs, cassette tapes, etc. – and eventually contributed to the entire dismantling of the record industry as we know it.

Now here’s the deal: The Gospel is disruptive technology.

Allow the Gospel to enter into your life, and it has the potential — if we let it — to  realign and redefine our values, thoughts, and behaviors. It renders our old ways of behaving — of our need to control, dominate, and/or manipulate — irrelevant. Hang around long enough, submit to it, and it becomes the new standard of our life, not just something that is an “add on” or a part.

Morning Pages: Mark 5 and “Ho-Hum Jesus”

I need to write more I need to write more I need to write more.

What can happen in ten minutes? What can transfer from soul to screen? From brain to keyboard?

Let’s see.

I’m teaching in 5 days. Forty minutes on the 5th chapter of Mark’s gospel. (I write it this way, because I think language should shock us out or our spiritual sleep — all language; “Mark 5” just sets us up to blow by what is really going on — what is “Mark’s gospel”? What is “gospel”? Who was Mark? … but I digress).

Here’s where I want to start: Jesus exorcises a demon. Jesus heals a woman. Jesus raises a child from the dead. Our first instinct is take a step back and say, “Woah!” and then point to these scriptures (to ourselves and the rest of the world), saying, “You see?!!? You see?!!? You see how awesome this guy is? He wants to heal folks! He wants to set us free! He wants to make you ‘all better’!” And he does, mostly (see the parts about “taking up your cross”)…

But guess what?

<whisper> Other folks healed, exorcised, even raised people…

Peter did it, Paul did it, Elijah and Elisha did it, and that’s just the beginning. Ancient histories are pretty full of people — Jewish, Christian, and pagans — who could heal, exorcise demons and even occasionally resurrect people.

So what do we do with this? Is Jesus actually not that special? Is he just “Ho-Hum Jesus”? “Been-There-Done-That-Blogged-About-It Jesus?”

… Or maybe the healings aren’t the point?

Maybe Jesus’ healings (and by implications, Mark’s stories of the healings) aren’t meant to be just spiritual hocus-pocus (or the plural hocii-pocii?). Maybe Mark wants us to understand something deeper.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I think there is an under-current to the story, something that may be simultaneously more revolutionary and insidious than we ever imagined, and more normal and “every day” than we could ever have dreamed of…

… Because isn’t that who YHWH is, after all? And isn’t that what life with Him is, as well? More revolutionary + subversive, but also more gritty, and “Monday-morning-I-need-my-coffee?” (yes, I’m inventing new words, but it’s my blog, so deal with it lol.)

I’m still processing through, so you’ll have to check the tape in order to hear how deep the rabbit hole goes, but the invitation is there. Stay tuned, and “listen, if you have ears to hear…”