Survival of the fittest

Love him or hate him, Charles Darwin had a point. Species that are well adapted to their environment survive. Those who are not, do not. It occurred to me that this theory (the bane of modernist Christians everywhere) might well be applied more broadly. Those of us who refuse to use a computer are maladapted in our environment. With the passing of enough time, there will be no-one left who remembers first hand the pre-digital age. What about the evolution of church? There is no doubt that the church as we know it today is a different animal to the early church of the apostles. The structure, theology and style is perfectly adapted to modern culture. Therein lies the problem. The environment has changed, evolved. We live in a time referred to as post-modern, a slippery term that is as hard to nail down as the sociological construct it describes. It almost seems as though the church is now an endangered species. Parts of the church have responded with “supersize me” methodology. There is an attempt to realign church and culture through pursuing “bigger” and “better”. Other parts of the church are in a state of atrophy. The church must evolve, or it will go the path of all living things that do not adapt to their environment.  This does not mean the church needs to be indistinguishable from its host culture, nor does the message need to change.  The message of Jesus stands for all time, and will always fly in the face of culture.  But our ecclesia, the “how” of church must adapt to survive.

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3 thoughts on “Survival of the fittest

  1. I can see a co-relation…it would probably be more appropriate to say the Church must de-evolve or decline…our biggest problem has been making the church so big and so Glorious that it and all of it’s rituals overshadow God…we have moved from being spiritual to being occupied with spare-rituals

  2. You are right – it is not about becoming more complex etc – the church does need to “de-evolve” in the sense of going back to the church of the apostles – grass roots, decentralised, simple, yet mightily contagious.

  3. I love it!

    Your use of Darwin’s evolution to describe how the church must change to exist is an absolutely perfect example of what must happen for any organization to survive. I wish I had a camera trained on any “orthodox” thinkers reading that post.

    On the technicals, you’ve nailed it on the head. The organization must evolve to survive, even if that evolution is to simplify the structure. I think that is the sentiment that daprofessor had, and it’s a good one, seeing as bigger organizations mean bigger egos. However, while the worldly organization must de-evolve to get egoism out of the picture, evolution of our social constructs must occur. Denominations and thinkers must converge, and argue if they must, but in coexistence, not mutual exclusion. That is the evolution that must occur if the church wishes to survive.

    As a bit of a critic, I support that claim by pointing out that most unsympathetic onlookers are tired of hearing bickering coming from the Christian think-tank. I can only see two options: evolution or revolution. Evolution into something more palatable without violence, or another war to the same end. The Catholic church met the end of it’s superiority by way of revolution. I don’t see why it couldn’t happen that way again.

    Great thoughts, and great insight. Keep it up!

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