Helpful Tidbits for Organic Church Life                                               June 9, 2008
The Downside of Mass Production
My Reflections
The Banqueting Table does not necessarily endorse all contents of videos or the organizations that produced them
: Do you have info that would benefit the church of Jesus Christ in your region? Submit your request at

We all know what it feels like to be a "number." We are not only familiar with, but are familiar with being identified by social security numbers, credit card numbers, credit score numbers, and so on.
And although we number-givers often refer to Jesus's Disciples as the "Twelve," Jesus didn't. To Jesus, people aren't numbers, they're people.
The church of Jesus Christ, I contend, should follow suit.

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION/TOPIC: Treating people like Subjects, not objects
The Downside of Mass Production 
Excerpt from Education for Critical Consciousness by Paulo Freire
In our highly technical world, mass production as an organization of human labor is possibly one of the most potent instruments of man's massification [i.e. institutionalization]. By requiring a man to behave mechanically, mass production domesticates him. By separating his activity from the total project, requiring no total critical attitude toward production, it dehumanizes him. By excessively narrowing a man's specialization, it constricts his horizons, making of him a passive, fearful, naive being. And therein lies the chief contradiction of mass production: while amplifying man's sphere of participation it simultaneously distorts this amplification by reducing man's critical capacity through exaggerated specialization (Freire 2007:31).
My Reflections

The story of how Brazil developed as a country isn't a pretty one. Like many countries, Brazil didn't start a democracy, but was, rather, a land valued only for what could be extracted, both natural and human resources. Space won't allow for the whole story, but this little part is important: over time, the non-elite of Brazil were treated like objects, not Subjects.
Along comes Paulo Freire, an educator who not only diagnosed the problems associated with massification, but proposed and implemented an educational paradigm that humanized people instead of dehumanized them.
When making disciples, as Jesus commanded us, I think it's important to remember that people are people. As such, they are made in the image of God and are to be valued. Although I know most understand this intuitively, many don't take stock of their discipleship "methods" (not to mention how we do church, worship, and so on). For example, how often do we, given a "division of labor" mind-set, dehumanize people by mechanically assigning them a "spiritual gift" to be performed thereby constricting their "horizons"? This, of course, was not Paul's intention.
As far as it depends on us, let's do everything we can to "make disciples" in a way that profoundly humanizes people, for Jesus did not come to seek and save bar codes and social security numbers, but Bob and Sue and Charles and Megan and Ty and Karen and David and Alan...
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty
The Banqueting Table