Sunday, April 01, 2007

Naked Companies...Naked Churches?

The magazine has a filmy overlay cover of the receptionist on "The Office" and when you flip it open, there she is covered with post-it notes, as if she is naked underneath. What magazine am I getting? Wired. No, it has not done one of those sleazy shifts like "Esquire" into soft-soft porn. But the pink cover and the word "Naked" does get attention. The Article inside is an across-the-bow call for total transparency from CEO's to the world.
The Wired article sites the case of Southwest Airlines recent faux paux when a grossly overweight man was charged for two seats, humiliating him as he was flying for medical treatment for the condition that caused his weight problems. The CEO of Southwest got in front of the issue on his own blog and apologized personally to the man and others who are overweight. He spoke of how the entire corporation is going to learn from this experience and pledged a new attitude to those with weight issues. He did not hide behind corporate PR or the legal team.
The Wired article states that organizational transparency is a new reality that leading organizations must embrace or die. Google, the author said, is not so much a search engine as it is a "reputation engine". It ruthlessly lists all mistakes and hunts down all lies and cover-ups. It's not so much about legitimate secrets being found out as about lies being exposed.
As I read the article I began to wonder about the church, my local church, the regional conference and the denominational headquarters in Chicago. How committed are we to transparency, even talking opening about our mistakes and learning curves? I recently looked up "lifechurchtv.org" in Oklahoma. They post their budget and all their information for the whole world to see. That is attractive.
Why do none of our denominational leaders have blogs of their own? What would happen if President Palmberg would regularly reflect what he sees in a blog? How about Church Growth and Evangelism or World Mission? I know I sound like a crank. I know the excuse of "I'm too busy" or "I'm just not into blogging" or "That's something I have others do for me." Take a look at the article. It's time for the Covenant to get naked!


At 5:49 AM , Blogger kent said...

You are not being a crank, you asking for authenticity or being open with us from they ask for millions of dollars every year. Why not take 30 minutes for your schedule daily as a denominational or conference leader and share your thougths and ideas with those who "serve"?

At 7:41 AM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Seems reasonable to me too

At 12:56 PM , Blogger Andrew Stonina said...

I wish it were as easy as the article in the "Wired" magazine states! It seems that the transparency is brought on by laws and other forms of legislation. These CEOs are required to do make so much public. Having a blog is a whole other issue. Don't get me wrong. I like the idea, but I think that it would just become another outlet. In my limited time blogging and from what I have observed of blogs it is something that somebody does because they want to not because they have to. I think to some of our leaders it would become another task and not a way of expressing ideas. Along with that, just coming out of the seminary, there seems to be a dislike of these kinds of technology mixing with church life because in their opinion, professors and students alike, instead see church as coming together in a physical space and not cyberspace. While, I too, to a degree, follow such thinking, for me bloging allows my words to be spread over a greater distance then just my parish.

At 3:00 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Andy, I think you hit the nail on the head in that some leaders feel like they "have to" communicate with their community in ways the community is comfortable with. What's with that? I "want" to communicate with my younger and more technologically advance members and friends, with tutorial help of course. How Luddite is the church? I think there is a resistance to change and new ways of communicating. How many church leaders do not have cell phones or remote control TV's?

At 7:20 PM , Blogger Andrew Stonina said...

I agree with the point because some of those at the seminary, students and profs. a like, who speak against technology in church do have tv(s), and cell phones. They talk about bloging and technology in the church as being more individualistic then a chance to participate with or in. One cannot become more individualistic then talking on a cell phone walking down the street and not paying attention to the world around them or interupting a meeting to get a phone call! Any time anyone uses that kind of technology it becomes individualistic, but there is no reason to not influence what they listen to, such as i-pod sermons or church services.

At 1:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not being a crank asking for transparency. Asking for Palmberg and company to blog may be a bit much though. And, the point about blogging coming from passion rather than prescription is a good one.

However, based on what I've seen, I suspect that even in the Covenant there would be hesitation at the highest political levels to risk prestige and power for the sake of authenticity and transparency. But then again, perhaps I'm just wearing my cynical glasses today.

Perhaps you could submit an article on the subject of the transparency of leaders to the Companion.

At 3:57 PM , Blogger Chris Brooks said...

Awesome Blog Donny Johnny. You nailed it (figuratively).

Much love from the Chi,


At 6:41 AM , Blogger Ruth Kelley said...

Great topic Pastor Don - no you're not being cranky or lemony! There are lots of ways to be transparent though. I do agree blogging should come from a desire to share and have discussion. Which creates a natural transparency. There is potential in the church to not be transparent, for too many things to happen behind closed doors. Open them up! Let the fresh air, and ideas in! Thanks for your thinking and challenge here.


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