old words (but still good ones) about work

A few weeks ago I posted this about what work really is in which I wrote:

From personal experience back in my advertising days, and even more so since entering ministry, my most productive moments almost uniformly occur when I am doing something that probably would not be perceived as actual work: when I was in the middle of reading (maybe your blog, maybe a novel), writing (not a sermon--perhaps a blog entry or a letter), cooking a meal, or even doing 'nothing.' It is at those times that the insight into the problem the parishoner is having, the ideal question for that survey project that I was stuck on, the perfect sermon illustration simply presents itself.

Not too long after that, Lifehacker (H/T) offered up a link to an article entitled What Business Can Learn from Open Source by Paul Graham. It wasn't until this morning that I finally got around to reading Graham's article; been working too hard ;-)

It's a well writtena and fascinating essay, one that has application not only for business (take this for example which jibes with my own quote above)...

The other problem with pretend work* is that it often looks better than real work. When I'm writing or hacking I spend as much time just thinking as I do actually typing. Half the time I'm sitting drinking a cup of tea, or walking around the neighborhood. This is a critical phase-- this is where ideas come from-- and yet I'd feel guilty doing this in most offices, with everyone else looking busy.

...but also for the Church, and for ministry generally. As Graham writes,

The third big lesson we can learn from open source and blogging is that ideas can bubble up from the bottom, instead of flowing down from the top. Open source and blogging both work bottom-up: people make what they want, and the best stuff prevails.
I worked for a pastor once who was trying desperately to begin a homegroup ministry by fiat. At the same time, three or four homegroups (whic weren't led by pastors but by schmoes from the congregation) were starting up without the pastor's knowledge or 'permission.' They each looked quite a bit different than what this pastor had in mind, but those groups still exist and one has even spawned other groups.

The article is worth thinking about whether you're a cog like me (that's not entirely true, I actually do get to work from home most of the time since there is no internet availability at our church office, though I'm not sure how the board feels about me doing that), or an employer, or self employed. Read it. If you have thoughts, feel free to slap that raindrops button below.

*('pretend work' refers to the 'facetime model' in which employees must be in the office 8 hours a day in a sterile looking office appearing to work. In Graham's words... "The sterility of offices is supposed to suggest efficiency. But suggesting efficiency is a different thing from actually being efficient."

Jannotti tag: community, theology
Posted to: community | theology

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