Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Open Source Spirituality
In his most recent book, "Finding Our Way Again", Brian Mclaren writes about our spiritual lives as being "open sources." Here's what he has to say:

"The term 'open source' draws from the world of technology where in 1998, some software developers in Palo Alto, California, instead of keeping their codes secret as propietary information under their control, offered them to the general public and invited willing volunteers to participate in their ongoing development and adaptation. A similiar process (using the term 'request for comments' instead of 'open source' ) was used to develop the Internet in the late 1960's, and open-source methodology has played an expanding role in the development of the Internet in the years since, especially in projects like Wikipedia and YouTube."

Then, Mclaren makes this connection with our spiritual journeys:

"As more and more of us open our lives to be sources of inspiration and examples for one another, we being to seize the unfulfilled promises of the Reformation with it's open-source concept of 'the priesthood of all believers'....It's true that not everyone can go to seminary. Not everyone can go live in a monastery. But all of us can wake up to the people around us, whose lives embody - not perfectly but authentically - practices of the spiritual life. And each of us can aspire to become an open source of embodied spiritual practices for the benefit of others."I like this idea - of being an "open source" of inspiration. It puts a nice, contemporary spin on the whole idea of the "priesthood of all believers." I think most people can connect with the terminology of being an "open source" rather then the "priesthood of all believers."

Going into my day with the vision of being an "open source" of inspiration invites me to think about how I have sometimes been a "closed source" - how I have cut off myself from being an open source of inspiration.For Quakers, it also becomes important that we see others as "open sources" of inspiration - ones that can embody to us the presence of God. We may not even agree completely with their theology but they can still be those "open sources" of light and love to us.