During a recent layover, I was wandering the airport bookstore and spotted Yuval Noah Harari’s bestseller Sapiens. “Everyone’s reading this,” I thought. “Maybe I should, too.” But then I saw his follow-up book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, which I had never heard of but the title of which sold me immediately. … Harari makes some frustratingly sweeping and aggressive statements about religion that seem unnecessary to make his point. But behind them is a truth that institutions of faith need to confront: We’re becoming irrelevant because we’re not in the game. Our traditions may serve a purpose for a while - as sources of comfort in a chaotic world that we don’t really understand, where people like Harari are talking about the imminence of unfathomable things like superhumans and cyborgs. But if that’s the only purpose we’re serving, then we’ve already lost the long game.
We are living through a tectonic shift in power dynamics. With the evolution of digital technology and globalization, people all over the world have access to information and opportunity at an unprecedented scale. The promise and potential of a world where power can no longer be monopolized by an elite few is thrilling for the possibilities it creates for greater equality. But what might be lost in the process? In the era of networks, do institutions still have a role to play? Greg Jones at Duke Divinity School has been exploring the potential of Christian social innovation and the questions it surfaces.
Understanding available assets is the first step to opening up new opportunities for innovation. Technology continually makes mapping of such assets easier at scale, putting critical data at our fingertips. And speaking of scale, the Catholic Church is one of the largest private landowners in the world. Recognizing the latent potential in this massive resource, Molly Burhans is leveraging new technology to map the land assets of the Catholic Church and create new ways to channel them for social good. Read more about her bold work in this article from The Boston Globe.