As you dive deeper into Leonard Sweet's Viral, it's clear that he begins to trust you with his deeper thoughts. The connections to his acronym of TGiF get looser, but the metaphors get richer. It's as if he's thinking: you stuck with me this far, lets get past the flavor and into the meat.
In these two chapters, Sweet is at his best, interweaving theological understanding, describing cultural change, and giving historical anectdotes to enrich the reader's understanding. In short, I simply cannot do justice to describing these chapters. Who else could manage to make a connection to the technological "cloud" that's all the buzz and the theological cloud of witnesses?
This section is quote hard to cover, because it is solidly built upon having been on an intellectual journey with Len as he's gotten here. In short, the idea here is that we are becoming a fully connected community through social meda, like Facebook. Connections are no longer hierarchal - believers can choose to spread the Gospel together or they can choose to disect theology in order to prove their superior ideology. Connections can lead to real relationships, fostering discipleship and trust, or they can just become stagnant acknowlegement of each other's existense.
And every day, in every way, the world is changing. It's our choice if we utilize these tools to grow closer or build barriers. Of course, that's just my summarization; there is so much more richness here that you truly need to taste for yourself.
Words I underlined from this section:
- Long before The Cloud was even imagined, we were given cloud power. It's called the "great cloud of witnesses," the "communion of saints," the solidarity of souls, the wisdom of ancients.
- How many fires will you kindle today with the flint of faith? How many will you douse with a wet blanket of reluctance and dead doctrine?
- Perhaps we need a mercy default where we cringe when criticizing others, where we get quickly tired of finding fault, and where we focus more on what we can learn from people we disgree with than what divides us.
- It is hard to see how anyone can stir up a spiritual firestorm in the culture without being struck by bolts of Facebook ligtning. Can you imagine doing ministry the last five hundred years and getting with "Sorry, I don't do books"? Can you imagine doing ministry in the next five years and getting away with "Sorry, I don't do Facebook"?
- In a Facebook world full of social friends, maybe we need face-to-face personal friends all the more, not less. Maybe the more we use Facebook, the more we hunger for face time and even in-your-face connections.
- Jesus's life illustrates that the sweet spot is not in the middle, but in holding both extremes together. The goal is not to balance competing opposites, but to make opposites dance with one another.
- Ideas - especially contrasting ones - apper in several places at once. They're in the air and they breed virally. The key is to create a feedback loop that can shape their development.
- The democratic notion that every person is born with common sense that can be trust and put to use is of relatively recent vintage. in fact, the notion of individual common sense is dependent on the acceptance of the concept of "individuals" existing.
- If the unit of the premodern world was the family, and the unit of the Gutenberg world was the individual, the unit of the TGIF world is the network. At ist best, this means a rediscovery of our being-in-common, the sense of the village square or town commons.
- We had a dry well not because the was no water, but beacuse the water had not been drawn.