Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

10/14/2008

No Way to Run a Group

In a satire that won't be for everyone, there is a blog post going around with a plan to wipe out Al Qaeda by getting the terrorist organization to do things the same way churches do them. Here's the post that originated with Brant Hansen's Letters from Kamp Krusty blog:
Alan, in his book, points out that Al-Qaeda is almost impossible to stop. This is, in large part, due to the way its message works, and the way the work gets carried out. And he's absolutely right.

So, in the service of national defense, I propose the following, in order to effectively neutralize the movement. Let's get Al-Qaeda to...

1) Complexify the message
Right now, it's so simple, it can pass from one to the next, and be easily grasped by the uneducated, the young—everyone. This is dangerous, because it's highly contagious, and people on the street feel capable of enlisting others in the cause.

2) Construct a less "flat", more hierarchical structure
Currently, small, underground groups can move nimbly and autonomously, complicating efforts to thwart them. A more regimented, stratified approach, where some members are left thinking, "I can't know enough to do anything" would bring the movement to a halt.

3) Foster "expert" culture, and barriers to entry to the expert class
Promote the idea that the message is not only highly complex, but only some can truly understand it. Construct extensive barriers to entry to the presumed expert class. Promote idea that cells lacking a certified member of expert class, it is not equipped to be activated.

4) Focus on knowledge, rather than doing
Complexification and expert-class development will make cells spend immense amounts of time studying the work, even debating theories of the work, rather than doing it. Better yet...

5) Equate STUDYING the work with the work itself
The cells are called to ACT, of course. But if we can convince operatives that the work, itself, is in trying to understand the complexity of the work? They'll be effectively neutered. We need to get them to spend large amounts of time in study, gathering to study, believing they don't know enough, hiring new experts to teach them again and again, and attending teaching events.

They'll actually believe they're doing their work when they attend events held by experts. This will render the cell, and the whole movement, harmless! Convince them that the most radicalized, militant among them are merely called to bring other non-activated members to the cell events.

6) Sabotage cell multiplication
VERY important! Cells that operate under simple principles, with motivated operatives, devoted to multiplication? Very, very dangerous, fast-growing, and pop-culture endangering. We must stop this in its tracks, and this is done in multiple ways:

A) Foster egos and small-time celebrity. By convincing operatives to set up individual fiefdoms, fewer autonomous cells will be activated. Rather, the emphasis will be on building larger individual cells with numerous unactivated members.

B) Make the basic structure highly difficult to replicate. Al-Qaeda cells currently are, by necessity, simply-structured and easily replicated. Propagate idea that for cells to begin, planning, experts and capital must be simultaneously accumulated. Expert motivational speakers will be necessary, plus paid staff with highly specific training and talents. Operatives will see massively "successful" large cells, and attempt to duplicate them, with very limited success because of the huge inputs required. This will greatly inhibit growth.

C) Convince philosophically-aligned, but non-active, members to choose from among most entertaining, high quality, cells that offer services for them. Not only will this engender a harmless, internal focus, it will require IMMENSE amounts of resources and energy.

7) Make operatives really, really busy.
Replace simple, animating mission with lengthy lists, charts, and programs for cell maintanance. Convince them that this institutional maintenance is, actually, the mission, itself.

This will leave them will no actual time for conducting actual mission.

8) Get Al-Qaeda to seek governmental approval.
Offer tax incentives if necessary. The larger cells, requiring large edifices, will also require tremendous amounts of capital. This will also allow a measure of control, to threaten the cell's tax status, thereby threatening funds for internal programs, when necessary.

Better: They'll consider actual operational cells that exist without this governmental approval to be, themselves, invalid!

9) Co-opt Al-Qaeda with the larger culture.
Once members are convinced that cell maintenance and study are actually their "mission", the rest of their lives can be harmlessly integrated with the culture at large. They'll be indistinguishable from non-members, and, because of their new understanding of "mission", effectively equivalent to non-members.

10) Convince members to wear Al-Qaeda t-shirts with funny sayings and stuff.
Mission accomplished.

It'll work to thwart an evil message. It even works with the good ones.

1 Comments:

  • At 10/14/2008 6:34 AM, Anonymous kelly said…

    Big LOL! And, I feel guilty for laughing, but, how true is it that our churches are so consumed and complex that we lose sight of our own one true mission? :)

     

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