I was doing some major blog catch up the other day (major as in I haven’t caught up on them since before I left on May 22nd) and ran across Seth Godin’s Organization vs. Movement vs. Philosophy post, which got me thinking.

It’s worth taking 2 minutes to read his definitions of each, but I especially liked the definition of philosophy. “A philosophy can survive things that might wipe out a movement and that would decimate an organization. A philosophy can skip a generation or two. It is often interpreted, and is more likely to break into autonomous groups, to morph and split and then reunite.”

The post left me wondering if our focus is misdirected. If too often we are focused on building better organizations or igniting stronger movements when really we should be focusing on better sharing and living our philosophies…our beliefs and convictions about life and the world.

The beauty of philosophies is that they last. They are bigger than us. Yes, we will need to create organizations to carry out the work our philosophies inspire us to do. And our philosophies will inspire us to ignite movements of change. But I think we miss the point when we think that our organizations or our movements are the end. They are not. I think they are simply vehicles that allow us to live out & to share our philosophies.

Churches today are heavily focused on being organizations & starting movements. Yes, churches are organizations. But let’s not make that the end. Let’s not direct our focus on simply building a better organization with better programs. Instead, let’s strive to have churches that are united by a philosophy. A philosophy that is lived out together in community. One that ebbs & flows. Morphs. Maybe even splits & reunites. Because that can survive the ever changing landscape of culture. That can have an impact far greater than our lifetimes will see.

With courage, Katie


  1. Cool insight, I like it. :)

    I think you are basically calling for more abstract thinking. And unfortunately, most people do not think particularly abstractly. That's why Hollywood movies are the way they are.

    So then the challenge becomes this:
    How do we help people to think more abstractly and live a more philosophical life?

  2. thanks josh!

    i think you probably right about the abstract thinking piece. and i think the problem is that we are a people who want answers. we want black & white. we want to be able to control the outcomes. mystery & abstract doesn't fit into that so well. and neither does the philosophical.

    how do we get people to be okay with that? your guess is as good as mine :) the best i've got is to continue living out a life of mystery & encouraging others to do the same.

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