Fractal Church

November 3, 2010


Yeah, I know.  Most people reading this don’t have a clue (or care) what a fractal is.  And, the fact is, the guy who popularized them (building on the work of others)–Benoît Mandelbrot–recently passed away, so in lieu of the man himself, we’ll just have to settle for Wikipedia (Wow, did Wikipedia just replace a brilliant man?).

According to the freely edited wisdom of the crowd, a fractal is, “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole.”  So, zoom in on a fractal and what will you find?  Basically, another re-presentation of the whole.  Zoom in further.  What do you find?  Another representation of the whole.  Zoom in further…you get the idea.

So, what does this have to do with anything?  Only this: at every layer of the Church, no matter what “zoom”, we should find the in-containable, incomprehensible Christ ubiquitously present (Ephesians3:16-19; Colossians 1:15-20).  And the implications are huge.  Because every part–individual, missional community, Olympia’s churches, and the big “C” Church–carries Christ, every part carries within them the possibility of the whole.  Put another way, “In the seed the whole tree lies coiled, and in the tree, there lies the potential for the production of countless other seeds.  In the tree is the full potential of the forest.” (Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways, 206).

I’m not saying that every follower of Christ is meant to plant a church.  I am saying that the presence of Christ in you and within those of us who are his body, are enough for him to breathe a new movement of life in this world.  Here’s the reality: If we believe any less than that Jesus could repopulate the earth with a people passionate for his name and Kingdom through us, then we are living with a truncated Jesus who is not truly Lord at all.

As much as I may struggle to believe the incomprehensible Christ lives in me, he is calling and leading you and I believe that he can and will do incomprehensible things through us.

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One Response to “Fractal Church”


  1. I’ve recently contemplated the parallels as well between the triune God’s relationality with himself and the church’s own relationality with itself. Or rather how the church should relate to itself much the same way. As the person of Christ is also the triune God, so the individual church is also the church universal. And the church universal is the church, much as the triune God is God. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I think that is what happens when I try to relate anything to the supra-logical triune God.


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