Yearning to contribute.

Netflix is looking for original content. I suppose this is a reminder that the desire is in all of us – individually, communally, corporately, to do more and other than simply pass on someone else’s stuff.

We all want, desire, thirst to add value. Perhaps this is part of what it means to have been created in the image of God, the Creator.

Remember when MTV showed music videos and HBO ran movies that you once had watched in theaters?  It wasn’t too many years before both networks moved into presenting original content. Since then, of course, numerous other cable channels have followed suit, and this is not just because the market could only support Law & Order reruns for so long.  It is because we are made to contribute.

Once upon a time Christian Education began with catechesis.  Some branches of Christianity still do so, and others are reclaiming the heritage.  Much of catechesis was memorizing questions and answers to questions.  No original content here; everyone began with learning and becoming able to present, transmit, pass on, the content they had received from others.

Somewhere down the line, with this foundation established, Christians were invited, even expected to begin to contribute their own to the tradition, perhaps even to the catechesis.

For the recent past, though, in the interest of stirring creativity and wanting not to discriminate, many of our traditions stopped teaching this way.  We wanted everyone, young and old, initiate and mentor all to feel the freedom to ‘think for themselves.’

Perhaps we could learn a lesson from cable channels, and now Netflix.  It may be best to step into the stream and pass on what others have done before one attempts to contribute something new, fresh, unique.


3 thoughts on “Yearning to contribute.

    • Great question, Audie! Over our history, the church has not always responded well to “original content.” I would assert, though, that the “reformers” throughout our history have been ones who have managed to bring it.

      I never used to think I would be a “pay your dues” kind of guy, but I suppose that’s an angle on what I’ve been saying here. The problem is often who gets to say what the dues are, and for how long ought one have to pay them?

  1. I think that each of our lives constitutes “original content.” Nobody has ever confronted our unique challenges (in terms of person, place, time, events) with our unique resources (physical, mental, spiritual, social, cultural). I notice that (at least online) the theological discussions are always rehashing old issues … it may be new to the people discussing them, but not to me. The only real originality we have to contribute is in the interplay inside our own lives.

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