Douglas Rushkoff has a new piece up on Pacific Standard today. Here’s the money quote:
Looked at in terms of human value creation, the industrial economy appears to have been programmed to remove human beings from the value chain.
Once we’re no longer conflating the idea of “work” with that of “employment,” we are free to create value in ways unrecognized by the current growth-based market economy. We can teach, farm, feed, care for, and even entertain one another.
“Work” is more than “employment.” “Value” is a much better ideal to pursue than “growth.” That is as true for churches as it is for economies.
What if the question guiding our work, both as people and as congregations, is, “How do we add value to the community?” and not, “How do we get bigger and add more?”
Churches add value to their communities in some concrete ways and some abstract ways. They have public space for gatherings, which is valuable. They have leadership that, often, is among the most educated folks in town. Churches make things, like gardens and crafts and meals. All of these add value.
But so does time, which feels more abstract. Our neighbors are starved for time, not in the sense that they need more of it, but in the sense that they hunger to get more value–more connection, more joy, more impact–out of it. Churches create spaces where time is experienced differently. If our communities are not identifying our congregations as places that will give them time, we are missing an opportunity.