The frequency and volume of the accusations suggest that some Christians may have lost a sense of the gravity of the charge of heresy. The time has come to call for a strong dose of humility, restraint, and a clear and informed definition of orthodoxy and heresy.
What is needed is a clear definition of heresy that is capable of distinguishing between those Christians who hold doctrines we disagree with from those who deny central truths of the Christian faith. Such a definition will require wisdom and discernment in how to engage those whose beliefs or teachings are not helpful, but it will avoid a dangerous overuse of the heresy charge, which waters it down and strips it of its usefulness.
One hundred and eight years ago, Theodore Geisel was born--you may know him better by his pseudonym, Dr. Seuss. He wrote the books that helped you (and countless others) learn to count, recognize letters, pronounce silly words and imagine a world where cats wear hats and Sam-I-Am relentlessly petitions for the deliciousness of green eggs and ham.
However, Dr. Seuss' 60 books (which have sold more than 200 million copies) are more of a mental exercise in disguise. Seuss' books not only made reading fun for kids, but also elevated the act of learning itself. Consider this line from I Can Read with My Eyes Shut(1978): "The more that you read, the more things you'll know. The more that you learn the more places you'll go." Prescribing reading as a launching pad for a bright future is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the social, political and moral messaging the good doctor expressed in his stories. Although he claimed to not begin books with a moral in mind, the creator of Thing 1 and Thing 2, with their hair colored blue, had more than just wacky words up his sleeve ... he had an agenda, too.
In the midst of a worldwide debate about Internet piracy, Swedish authorities have granted official religious status to the Church of Kopimism, which claims it considers CTRL+C and CTRL+V (shortcuts for copy and paste) to be sacred symbols, and that information is holy and copying is a sacrament.
The church was founded by philosophy student Isak Gerson, who is also the self-appointed spiritual leader of the movement. In a statement on the church's website, he says its religious roots stem back to 2010 and that it formalized a community of file sharers that already has been "well spread" for a long time.
"The community of kopimi requires no formal membership," he writes. "You just have to feel a calling to worship what is the holiest of the holiest, information and copy."(For those who are unaware, kopimi is pronounced "copy me.") According to the Church of Kopimism website, church services consist of "kopyactings," whereby the "kopimists" share information with each other through copying and remixing.
Bertil Kallner of Sweden's Financial and Administrative Services told the Swedish newspaper Gagens Nyheter that a religious community could "basically be anything. What's important is that it is a community for religious activities."
Informational tells the learner about principles they need to know. Transformational teaches people to behave in new ways, by resourcing and challenging them to integrate the principles into their lives.
Informational is about giving people more knowledge. Transformational develops wisdom to enhance their competencies to go about their task with excellence.
Informational is one-way communication. Transformational is a conversation that engages the head, heart, and hands.
Informational uses the science of teaching. Transformational uses the art of facilitation.
Informational follows a linear pathway. Transformational customizes learning based on the learner's present context and needs.
Informational requires a structured, highly controlled lesson plan. Transformational allows freedom and flexibility in the lesson plan.
Informational puts a priority on content. Transformational puts priority on behavioral change by changing a person's heart.
Want to know the easiest way to build a platform these days? Set yourself up as the antithesis to a person or position of influence. Be the contrarian or critic who rides the coattails. It's easier to be known for what you're against than what you are for.
Many of the most prominent bloggers sell advertising and more subtly, and I think more influentially, are not just "bloggers" but also speakers and authors. (Even more, those decrying evangelical celebrities have un-ironic speaking request links on their front page.) Their ability to make a living is based on site traffic and conference invitations, and they build their reputations--and traffic--by walking over others. The problem is, those people we're against? They are usually people who are near to us--not close, but near.