Not Very Many

August 29th, 2011

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Scientists have discovered that when 10 percent of a network is committed to an idea, it spreads throughout the entire network. Any 10 percent can do it. Social media enthusiasts say this explains Facebook and Twitter’s effectiveness. They are effective—at spreading ideas. If however the aim is to change institutions, it still requires only 10 percent of a network—but not just any 10 percent.

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Not Very Sexy

August 22nd, 2011

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Starbucks doesn’t have a sexy mission—which is why it’s successful.

Successful companies make a distinction between mission and purpose. Mission is what an organization does. Starbucks sells coffee. Not very sexy. Purpose is why a company exists. For Starbucks, it’s experiencing the third place. Sexy. Faith communities often conflate the two, however, creating a mish-mash that makes it hard to measure success.

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If it’s sauce for the goose, it’s sauce for the gander.

Michael Shermer intuits a pattern. Our brains are “belief engines” that naturally “look for and find patterns” and then “infuse” them with meaning. This debunks the idea of a deity. What’s ironic is Shermer intuits a universal pattern that everyone infuses patterns with meaning. He can’t have it both ways. If it’s sauce for the goose, it’s sauce for the gander.

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Guess who speaks in tongues?

In his soon to be released book, You Lost Me, Barrna Group president David Kinnman describes a growing percentage of Christians who have checked out of church. He calls them exiles, calculating there are between eight to twenty million of them. Exiles think culture, then Christianity. When you approach faith from this direction, the modern church sounds as if it is speaking in tongues—which explains why exiles are leaving.

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To win the culture wars, study the war against cancer.

In the 1940s, finding a cure for cancer was likened to fighting a war. The new symbol overhauled the fight against cancer strategy. Today, many writers liken America’s values debates to culture wars. If they’re right, the faith community’s strategy is also overdue for an overhaul.

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