Hack the Church

When introducing people to hacking, Ali Llewellyn often brings up Apollo 13. “Remember that scene where they dump everything on the table and say, ‘We have to find a solution, with only these materials?’ And there’s, you know, duct tape? That’s all it is! Hacking is building a way to go from here to there.”

She should know. After studying church planting and social mobilization, Llewellyn went on to spearhead community engagement for NASA’s Open Innovation Program and is now a Senior Program Manager for SecondMuse, equipping hackers and non-hackers alike for the upcoming National Day of Civic Hacking.

Llewellyn’s dappled journey — from biblical scholarship to tech-minded collaboration — reveals a potent lens that Christians across denominations are using to repurpose, mobilize, and reform the church. In hacking, they see a model for the future of Christianity.

The term “hacking” has undergone a recent transformation in the popular lexicon, back to its amorally general origins as a method of discovery and recombination. For every Heartbleed-like scare today, there are innumerable cheery Buzzfeed tips to hack your life; and while the digital bandits of Anonymous capture our imagination, “hackathons” — community-oriented workshops to solve urban challenges — have popped up in many major cities.

With this broadened interpretation, Christian interest in hacking finds context. Just as faith systems give parameters to our spiritual imagination, so technology directs our inquiry into the universe and, increasingly, our connectedness to each other. Early Christianity spearheaded technological innovations with global ramifications, most notably in the invention of the codex. Today’s faithful hackers, armed with code, workshops, and participatory-minded theology, hope to do the same.

Vatican Website Hacked for Church’s ‘Crimes’

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican | Honza Hruby, Shutterstock.com

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican | Honza Hruby, Shutterstock.com

VATICAN CITY — The secretive hackers group Anonymous targeted the Vatican website on Wednesday (March 7), cutting off access from users for several hours and disabling internal mail servers.

In a statement posted on several blogs in Italian, the group said the attack was a response to the Catholic Church's "doctrines," its "absurd and anachronistic precepts," and the "crimes" of the sexual abuse scandal and cover-up.

The Vatican's chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that the attack against the Vatican website came from Anonymous. He said Vatican technicians were "actively working to restore the website's functionality."

SOPA: Why It Was So Dark Around Here Yesterday

Internet. Blackout. Image via Wylio http://bit.ly/wQpju4

Surfing the Internet during the 2011 Blackout, Oceanside, Calif. Image via Wylio http://bit.ly/wQpju4

You’re on the Internet right now.

Maybe you’re on your phone, or your iPad, or even your desktop at work (it's OK, your secret's safe with us). No matter what your choice of access media, if you’re reading this, you’re on the Internet.

Most of us take Internet access for granted. (Who can remember life before Google?) A seemingly endless, free-to-all source of information, knowledge and distraction, the Internet drives and facilitates transactions both inconsequential and global, simple and complex.

Certainly the Internet has a seedy underbelly, from spammers and basement-dwelling sport hackers to illicit businesses and toxic enterprises.

But who polices it? Who’s the Internet Sheriff?

#OccupyWallStreet News: The Latest Headlines from the Weekend and Monday Morning

Protest sign from an Occupy march in New York City on Oct. 30. Image via Wylio.

Protest sign from an Occupy march in New York City on Oct. 30. Image via Wylio.

Police surround Occupy protest in Oakland Monday morning. Hackers threaten to "remove" Vancouver from the Internet if Occupy demonstrators are moved. Violent fringe is a challenge to Occupy movement. Are sexual assaults being under-reported at Occupy encampments? Popular Hawaiian musician occupies Obama event with a song. Occupy protesters set up camp outside a second UK cathedral. Are Occupiers the new Progressives? And much more news from the Occupy Movement worldwide inside.