Thursday, February 4, 2010

Roman Roads and the Internet - Platforms for Religion

In my New Testament class we learned that the development of Roman Roads were instrumental to the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. These roads were constructed primarily for the military, to expand and maintain the empire through force. Yet in times of peace they allowed a marketplace to emerge. This marketplace included commercial and intellectual aspects. Certain business and commerce flourished. Philosophers and would be religions leaders too set out to spread their messages. The apostle Paul would be one such person. This is an example of a platform, that is read and heard about from people who think about new technologies.

A platform is something that allows for innovation, and for people and groups to build upon. The obvious platform of today is the Internet. Yet the Internet is so huge that platforms are being created on that platform. Google is an example of this. Google provides services, and yes has very powerful ways that it makes money, but it allows for creativity and innovation within itself. For this reason it can be considered a platform.

What can the church learn from this? In my view, the church as at least two major places to grow in light of new platforms.

One - To play a role in new platforms that develop. What is the niche that the church can occupy on the Internet platform?

Two - How is the church developing platforms of its own? That is, how is the church allowing for innovation and the development of an ecosystem in which people and groups occupy niches? I think it has done this in various ways throughout history, but now the challenge is to do this in light of new connectivity with one another through the Internet.

What do you think? Does the church act as a platform allowing for innovation? How can it do this better?

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