23 January 2024

How many Christianities?


In "Communications of the ACM" (a periodical for computer industry professionals), in November, 2021, Moshe Y. Vardi commented on the surge in virtual conferences during the height of the COVID pandemic. "Choice is critical to freedom and autonomy," but "we don't seem to be benefitting from it psychologically." Vardi continued: "[the] research publication system conflates research publications with community building."

Trust me, I will get to the Christianity thing. Vardi saw that a lot of thinking was being done while we were all locked up during the pandemic, and then we found conferences could be held online for a fraction of the cost of traditional, in-person conferences. The number of conferences exploded, all competing for attention by splitting research genres into lots of little pieces. Each conference was attempting to "go viral" with some narrowly focused subject matter, hoping to build yet another sub-sub-community.

So then, have we Christians ever wondered if it's good to have a dozen or so big, mainline denominations, and a bazillion small denominations and boutique churches? They're all Christian, and yet, they're all different. The Old Testament presents us with the twelve tribes of Israel, and they couldn't always make that limited number of divisions work peacefully. And then there are the Shiites and Sunnis, let's not even go  there.

Christianity is all about gathering together. We MUST gather together to break bread in remembrance of Jesus. However, most Christians know of Christian places at which they would not be welcomed in the breaking of the bread, and know of Christians with whom they would not want to break bread.

I don't have a solution, but, may God be with you.

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