plag

so plagiarism has been on the menu of late, in christian circles anyways…

first up it was Mark Driscoll and various questions relating to work he copied or used from other sources… starting with a radio interview and then exploding into all sorts of articles and even some friendly tweets from ‘I kissed Rob Bell farewell’ tweetster, John Piper.

then David Rudd wrote this piece ‘In Defence of Plagiarism’ which referenced a recent occurrence of Rachel Held Evans work being plagiarised [the person later apologised] and Rachel jumped into the comments section of that to make it quite clear that she was not okay with people ‘stealing her work.’

various other celebrities and non celebrities jumped into the fray in different ways and forms and probably the best comment i have read in the whole conversation slash waging war was the one that said ‘the problem here is not plagiarism, it’s idolatry’ which resonates so closely with me – to me ‘christian celebrity’ is an oxymoron, or should be – any time we put anyone else on a pedestal that is not Jesus, we are bound for trouble soon. so maybe the problem here is not plagiarism, it’s celebrity? [runs and hides]

at the risk of being accused of plagiarising David Rudd, i should say that this will likely sound a lot like his, simply because i think to some extent i think the same thing, but i would love to air my two cents largely because i am just so bored and frustrated and ridiculoused out by all this online conversation and hopefully you have been able to miss the whole thing and so excuse my little rant.

i know this is not a popular opinion rant. especially among those who benefit off being the people able to call “Plagiarism.”

[and let me disclaim with the fact that i do feel that using someone else’s words and pretending they are your own is bad and silly and wrong and illegal for sure]

HOWEVER, my stance on this whole thing as far as i am concerned, is and always has been – if you want to use any of my stuff, go for it.

If it is Godly and worth using then i want as many people as possible to be reading what i write.

If it is all me and not worthwhile then i want as few people as possible to be reading it.

Problem solved.

And i have heard all the arguments and questions of ‘Oh yes, would you like someone to come and steal your car?’ and posturing and logic and so on, or it feels like i’ve heard them all – feel free to prove me wrong – but for me i have to ask what the heart of the writing is about?

If it is for the kingdom, then let go of the pride and the glory and the fame and the need for your name to be on the bottom of it and just celebrate that the kingdom is being preached.

And if it’s about making you look good, then at least be honest about it. Own the pride. Own the good feelings and identity and worthfulness you get from saving the world or transforming lives or whatever it is you are building up or breaking down. But just be honest.

My favourite book is a book called ‘No Compromise’ – the life story of a guy called Keith Green who i completely believe would be with me on this stuff – he used to infuriate ‘good, christian, musicians’ and worship leaders by giving his music away because, i don’t know, he believed [like i strongly, strongly do] that worship should be free. silly man.

i have written a book, which i do hope to somehow get published someday [called ‘I kissed hating [the church] goodbye’] and in the intro i pretty much disclaimed the likelihood of unintentional plagiarism in its covers simply because when i hear a good idea i often grab it and use it in a preach… and then after a while i have used it to often it suddenly starts to feel like it’s mine and i have no idea where it came from. can you imagine Jesus overhearing Paul referencing one of His parables and whispering down from heaven, ‘Hey Paul, don’t forget to mention you got that from Me?’ Nah, didn’t think so.

i love the notion of what Derek Webb has been able to do with Noisetrade in terms of music, where bands offer their music for free or a donation or even just a shout out – and so everyone has easy access to some great and often new music and there is the opportunity to pay-what-you-can or even to enjoy it for free but be telling others about it.

so, in summary:

taking someone’s stuff and pretending it is your own is bad [because i am such a not big fan of lying and that’s what that is, really]

writing stuff or creating art or music or poetry – be open-handed with it and let it get out there – why should just the rich and money-laden and privileged be able to get hold of your stuff

stop putting people on pedestals and christians, stop following the example and pattern of the world – we were called away from that. we can do so much better.

best worship song of the year? don’t get me started…

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