Remixing In Rainbows (and the church)

Radiohead/ Remix/ Nude

In the spirit of creativity and utilizing the web to foster fan-based participation, Radiohead has launched the website and are inviting everyone to remix their latest single “Nude.” They’ve split the song up into five separate tracks and have made each available for sale so that you can remix the song however you’d like. I was a little surprised and disappointed to see that they are selling the tracks, but otherwise I think it’s a pretty cool thing they’re doing. Despite the name of the band the number one remix right now is really good and worth listening too. Let me know if any of you decide to go ahead and make your own remix, I’d like to check it out and vote for it.

Remixing in the Church?

This move of radiohead’s is a great example of how the culture of the web is influencing more and more a high level of participation similar to what we see with sites like Wikipedia, Youtube and Participation is the name of the game in today’s culture, even if (and it usually does) it comes with some kind of cost. People everywhere are given the space to join in and add their input, even if that input is bad, weird, or potentially harmful or unhelpful. But the uncertainty that comes with this high level of participation is far more appealing (and often more exciting) than the alternatives.

I think a lot of church going people (at least those heavily influenced by this web-culture) desire, hope to see, and eventually become disillusioned by the lack of participation in church. Church for many is still consumption based; come, be “fed,” pay your tithe, consume the words given through sermon and song, take advantage of all the services these buildings offer and head out until next Sunday. We often think of participation solely in terms of consumption — I can only participate when I consume.  So, why is there so little participation when it comes to creative output, fostering key ideas, and in the actual leadership of many of our churches? Isn’t the old “joke” that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Strangely, this joke makes no sense when it comes to the level of participation we see in web culture. Would more people be willing do these kinds of “remixes” within the church, even at some kind of cost (say, personal time), if they were given the open door and freedom to do it in the way they wanted? What keeps the church from enacting this Radiohead model, where they give away albums for (basically) donation, and then invite people to remake their music however they wish, no matter how good or bad it turns out (of course, this illustration can be stretched to the breaking point).