Community? Closed or Open Source?

Community? Open Source Paradigms?

What do we have in “common” with others? Or not? Why bother?

Love. Relationships. Productivity. Personal, perhaps shared growth. Moats, drawbridges, armor and weaponry protecting one’s own turf is another way of life, if you call that life and life-giving. But aren’t there times for a right sense of fear and/or anger, times to bunker in and protect?

Whether you’re a Mac, Android, Windows, Linux or other (there are many op. systems) fan, consider community with me please!

If you follow my blog, Twitter or FaceBook posts you likely have noticed I am a full-on convert/fanboy of the Linux computer operating system. I am writing and posting this on a Linux OS fueled pc. Tux (here) is the Linux mascot by the way. Notice penguins also experience community!


Indeed, Linux itself has many (as in MANY) quite varied distributions which each have a similar core (the Linux kernel) but on top of that foundation sits everything from slightly different looking/feeling/production programs (apps) and graphical interface (desktop/s, the look and “feel”) but also many (as in MANY) varied apps that do nearly the exact and at times, THE exact same thing in different ways. WHY? Why all the diversity?

While I will not fully define open source here, and there are plenty of people making a living within such, it has at it’s foundation the concept of sharing, freedom and others gaining as you gain as you all add value to the collaboration.

Let’s admit re. computing some people simply “want it to work” and have zero interest in tweaking, changing, trying something new. Well, maybe we change our desktop/tablet wallpaper, maybe even change the color theme a little every so often.

Some folks generally FREAK at change, others FREAK at same-same.

People are different in what they find comfort, security and meaning in.

But until and unless we learn how to know God and live out His relational commands… yes, “relational commands”… to love Him supremely AAAANNNNDDDD love one another (according to Jesus THE greatest commandments on which all the rest of Scripture rests) we miss the eternal (and in my experience) and best plan of all.

Again, if you have followed me, heard me speak throughout my life I have never called everyone, not even all Christians to “live in community”. Specifically, I have never been the pied piper for the intentional community I live in. If it’s so good and I found it the best way to live out my years on earth (1971 to the present), why not tout it, shout it, promote and maybe even strong-arm others to choose as I have?

Because salvation is all about faith, relationship and entails surrender and sacrifice to someone OTHER than yourself or those whom you always agree with.

None of us fully, completely and always agree with God, not the Father, Son nor Spirit! In fact we take real issue with Him, His commandment and often run like the road runner from Him.

The exact same is true in terms of what we share or do not (or at times, cannot) share in peace with other human beings.

Paul writes “We do not preach ourselves but Christ and Him crucified”. Luke in the Book of Acts wrote “There is salvation in NO OTHER… for there is only one Name given under heaven among people by Whom we must be saved”.

So if it’s not about me… or on a broader scale, if it’s not about my personal vision, desire, fulfillment… what do I share in common with others? What can we AGREE on? What shared interests, motives, goals, spiritual, practical, living conditions, etc., etc.?

I found myself in conversation with two dear friends this past weekend and once again said “At core, all humans share two things in common: what the Bible calls and defines as ‘sin’ and the need for The Savior”. Some reading this post will disagree with either or both of these factors. No surprise to me!

See, YMMV (your mileage may vary) means that, as in most all of life, one person LOVES X style of music, X color scheme in their home or office, X clothing, X church gathering or X food while the next person might have ZERO in common with you or me on any or all of these! There is what we share in common… and do not and perhaps never will.

The “open source” concept in the most simplistic sense means a guy in Finland (Linus Torvalds) took an idea from another guy re. computer coding, engineering. He was a young university kid who came up with a brilliant (in my view) operating system. And shared it. And then came into a revelation based on other people’s work that perhaps there might be a world-wide legal structure that would allow others to share, tweak, change, add to his work.

If you really want to dig in, here’s an article and embedded TED talk clip. But please read on first if you would…

If we are not careful, we become a sort of “closed system”, do not share our code and unwilling to allow others to critique and ultimately bring a maturity and “you perhaps did not think of this aspect” improvement to our life, our band, our church, our local or larger world. Community interacts as opposed to simply opposing fresh ideas. This does not mean “whatever!”, not at all. A group may well hold things in common that ought to be kept static. More on this in a moment.

Linus admits (and admits he is not proud of) not being a “people person”. And yet he realized his own benefit and the benefit of his amazing operating system which whether you know it or not, is daily tweaked and perfected, bugs found and fixed, updated, largely with zero money being paid to most of those helping it to work ever better.

Collaboration on his pet project was a matter of him taking the risks- and there are many- but when ten became one hundred and then thousands of geeks world-wide all got excited and began helping, bringing fresh and imaginative ideas to the system, he, they and you and I benefitted. Really?

You may not know this but Linux servers are core to the bulk of super computers, most of the Internet, the core of Apple/Mac machines and all Android phones. The German government and Brazilian government among others, use Linux. Last time I checked the Germans knew a little about technology! 🙂

Ok, so what about community? You just read it.

Plenty of programmers in the vast, VAST, wide Linux community (as Linus says) are not all the nicest people. They often argue like crazy over all sorts of things, and often really do not like one another. Sound like the rest of the human race? Christians? Churches? How to “do” church?

This alone means there are choices like we’ve never had before, and often freely shared. Collaboration. What common needs, goals, vision DO we (your marriage, family, neighborhood, town, city, rural region, nation, world) actively, actually SHARE?

I have never expected EVERYONE to think as I do, make the same choices I have, live as I live, love the music, food or computer operating system I do. I have no desire nor sense of shame about trying to force someone to love and live life precisely as I do!

Nor am I ashamed of Whom I believe in nor live with nor serve in the large Church and world. My sins, yes -but not 98 percent of the rest.

From this point of view, some freak. It’s DIVISION to NOT think like I (or WE) think. Or live. Or do music. Or etc., etc.. My take on that is I think perhaps your car is in park and therefore you are finished growing or open to noticing the good and beneficial that others may bring to the table. How does one grow when locked inside their own vacuum? For that matter, how can one benefit others by hoarding all the good stuff they might bring to share with others?

Fear, worry and anger kill community. Grace and openness feed it.

I love Open Source.

I’m an artist. I look at big picture. I imagine. I’m an ideas person, not in all things but most of the time.

Linux taught me there is almost always (-not- always) “a workaround”, another way.

Jesus tells us about Himself “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to God the Father but by Me”. This I believe and from this and a number of other passages in The Bible I cannot say I believe there are options or some sort of spiritual “workarounds” to eternal life.

Yet community in whatever space, shape, be it spiritual or practical is at core a matter of personal conviction and I do believe, calling. I have NEVER believed there is only one hard template (and do not see it in The Book) that fits everyone in all times and places. Nada. Community is not salvation… but you will neither mature nor be the gift God intended all by yourself and alone.

There is this matter of the willingness, the excitement, the vision to see what -could- be if only we can find what a zillion coffeehouses/shops are named in the U.S.:

Common Ground.

Not “everything and anything goes” -but in terms of relationships and therefore community, love, the true God, the larger and local Church and indeed those outside of it are worth the cost.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn


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