Just like I did with the Cluetrain Manifesto 14 years ago, I continue to do today with Doc Searls and Dave Weinberger as they continue to write and be active proponents of “Small Pieces Loosely Joined”, “Everything is Miscellaneous”, and “Too Big to Know” (Weinbeger’s subsequent books) and “The Intention Economy” (Doc’s latest). Each of these got my Church-Tech-Truth-Communication-Theological wheels turning. I want to treat each of these separately. Doc’s book, “The Intention Economy” and DW’s latest “Too Big to Know” in particular.
The Intention Economy is about a customer facing CRM (thus , VRM) relationship management perspective. This is SOUND THEOLOGY as well. The Church is first and foremost a BODY. The Church is not designed to be driven from the top or from “above” or from the “money keepers”, but from the body; the unique blend of individuals with various interests, passions, and “gifts” that make those individuals conduits of energies that are NOT held by others. It falls within a type of “curation” function, where certain aspects and realities of “doing good” or “advancing the Kingdom of God” are shared in a pool of human resources. The variety of gifts we bring to the table are a unique and effective blend of energies and skills aligned together to effectively minister; meet needs; fight oppression; bring the community to the context of the confrontation between an oppressed population and those forces that conspire to ignore the effects of the expression of interests of the oppressors. There is much that happens under the banner of “capitalism” that creates these zones of oppression. The concept of “Vendor Relationship Management” attempts to return more of the “market” sense (the “market” being the “people”; like Cluetrain so famously put it: “Markets are Conversations”. ) To move toward a “Vendor Relationship Management” is to begin to shape a “marketplace” that hears the conversations more effectively; so effectively that it cannot help but reshape itself to respond to the conversations instead of the prefabbed , outside the market creations made for advertising that seeks to convince us that we need this product; to even try and shape what we think we are looking for.
I find this relationship to these pioneering folks like Doc and David Weinberger in the field of Web and population and Social Psychology and people and community a fascinatingly close kin to my own theology of the Internet. The idea of Church as Body and as Community, and the unlimited possibilities for finding new ways to be community fit both the Judeo-Christian mission and a “Cluetrain Manifesto” as well as VRM. In this case, the Church as an institution needs to find ways, if it is to be an effective institution (IOW, to “institute” or “achieve” the mission) , to respond to the demands of the various VENDOR RELATIONSHIPS we develop as communities of people and as individuals with needs, and develop their own “API” to respond to the seekings of the community of followers. Does this make any sense?