The continuing conversation over at Peter Kirk's blog reminded me of something I read a year ago. In a 2003 speech called "A Group is it's own Worst Enemy", Clay Shirky said: "Constitutions are a necessary component of large, long-lived, heterogeneous groups." Judging purely from Shirky's statement, we might suppose Constitutions are NOT necessary in the following types of groups:
1) Large, short-lived, heterogeneous (Big AND different? Boom.)
2) Large, short-lived, homogeneous (This happens during Retreats.)
3) Large, long-lived, homogeneous (Not this side of heaven, I suspect.)
4) Small, short-lived, heterogeneous (Uh, why are we together? Bye.)
5) Small, short-lived, homogeneous (Uh, why did we ever break up?)
6) Small, long-lived, homogeneous (Tiny, happy special interest clubs!)
7) Small, long-lived, heterogeneous (For most people, this is your family.)
By the way, I almost cut #3 because I can't think of anyone that got Large AND Long-lived without creating a great deal of rules and structure for themselves. But I suppose if people were like-minded enough, size and time could grow irrelevant. Still, this just shows how much these terms, "large/small" "long/short-lived" and "hetero/homogeneous" are all very relative.
So, for the sake of argument, go ahead and set your own limits on all this. But here's my question: Which, if any, of these Eight categories do you think sounds most like the church?