Cache on dudes…

In splendid isolation. Can we let Silverton be the shape of things to come?

Two of the things that have caused me the most trouble in life are idealism and the tendency to try to push the envelope.  So I’ll admit to a high level of trepidation at suggesting something that combines both, but anyway …..

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Geo-caching and how it’s parallel universe very closely ties in with the sentiment of the Kingdom of God being a here and now reality amidst the morass of the present evil age.

Since then I’ve developed the geo-cache twitch, pulling out the iPhone whenever I’m on the road and seeing if there’s caches around to inspire a hunt.  Last week at a ministers’ fraternal meeting I noticed there was one 200m down the road so on the way home I was able to introduce my pastor to the joys of the cache hunt.

The next day I was on my way to Brisbane, filling up with fuel, and Geo-cache told me there was one in the car park.  Frustratingly I couldn’t get at it because there was a muggle salesman in the car space in front of it, windows down, engine running but not going anywhere and wondering why I looked like I was about to push his car out of a near-deserted car park.

I digress except to say that my hunting has given me time to think about the possibilities of Geo-cache, particularly against some of the background comment of the emergent church movement and it’s re-thinking of ways people might connect to church in a post-Christian era.

Here’s my pitch.  One of the greatest catch cries in church circles is “how do we get people to know about us or connect with us?”.  I don’t think it’s too controversial to suggest that, regardless of the state of their soul, society is not at a stage where the 85% of Australian un-churched are out there on the beach on a Sunday morning feeling they’re being ripped off because they didn’t find a way to sit in a church service.

Rare would be the time where the doors of a church are beaten down by a horde of people desperate to get in.  There may not be anything wrong with what’s going on inside, it may be as relevant and life-changing as it’s always been, but there’s a growing invisibility of Christendom that is going to take some arresting.  And it won’t be arrested by gimmicks like burning the Koran to gain attention – WWJD?

My observation is that the step into any kind of association with Christendom comes first from recognition and then relationship.  This is not going to happen via billboards on busy, advertising-strewn highways.

So here’s the idealism, mainly to address the recognition bit, and who knows what relationship it might lead to.  Let’s imagine a world where a large number of churches jumped on the geo-cache bandwagon, and conspired to plant a geo-cache or two on or around their properties.  And what if these geo-caches started out with a large and relatively valuable FTF (first to find) prize and every now and again had inserted into them a gift of such staggering generosity that it becomes the very object lesson of the generosity of God in extending mercy and redemption to us.

Geocache Pfalz Werla in Deutschland.

A typical geo-cache stash. What lies within? (Image via Wikipedia)

Let them be known as the ARK (Act of Random Kindness) caches, and imagine a city like Brisbane where ARK caches become the most sought after because they’re known for the most important of the Christlike attributes?  And imagine the fun churches could have with random giving where the only control on the recipient is prayer that whoever finds the ARK is the person God wanted to find it?

Collectively this could reverse invisibility, and in one cohesive fell-swoop put the broad scope of churches on the map for the entire geo-cache underworld.  Geo-cachers will start to know where the churches are and they will know them for their generosity – which can only reflect well on the attributes we would want the body of Christ to be known for?

Which brings me to the pushing the envelope part.  If this strategy is anything more than an organic embrace from individual churches it runs the risk of falling foul of geo-caching sensitivities about commercialization of the geo-cache concept.

My counter to this is that it’s the kind of vision that would deliver up a raft of new caches known for remarkable generosity.  It’s a positive talking point and an example of the kind of winsomeness that saw the first century church become so vibrant and influential.   Those guys weren’t out to protect a holy huddle (or where they were, persecution or Paul’s blistering invective seemed to inevitably follow).  They engaged with their culture in practical and surprising ways.

Cache on dudes!

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One Response to Cache on dudes…

  1. Pingback: Tapping Into A Hidden Network | Crossover Online

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