25 February 2010

NEWS - CO2 is spreading like a virus

It's time to mention Church of Two (CO2) again. Influenza virus particlesAs far as I'm aware nobody was doing CO2 in the UK until I brought it here from Dallas in September 2009. I'd like to outline the history of it since then.

Infections follow a pattern that is true for viruses, bacteria, trees, rabbits, and even us humans. The stages of this pattern are...

Infection > Latency > Spread > Symptoms > Impact > Dieback

Lets look at these one by one.

Infection - In this stage an active form spreads to a new home. With a cold virus, you might breathe in virus laden particles after someone with a cold sneezed. Or you might touch a contaminated object and then transfer the virus to your mouth or eyes.

The active form of CO2 is the knowledge of what it is, how to do it, and the value it brings. By the time I returned from Dallas I was already infected.

Latency - This is the time during which nothing much seems to happen. The cold virus has to enter a living cell, a seed takes time to absorb water and germinate. During the latent period something essential has to happen but there is no sign of it yet.

In the case of CO2 I needed to find someone who wanted to hear about it and do it with me. Until I found that person, the CO2 virus was present in the UK - but latent.

Spread - With the cold virus this is the time during which more and more people are becoming infected. It's like a chain reaction. A person is infected, becomes a mobile latent infection, and begins sneezing at home, at work, on the bus, and in the shops.

For CO2 this is the phase we are in right now in the UK. A number of people are using it daily and are starting to pass it on to others. CO2 is spreading!

Symptoms - With a cold, people hardly notice the early signs (the first few sneezes). But as the virus takes hold in a major way there are clear and unpleasant signs that something is going on. Sufferers feel unwell, they might run a slight temperature, breathing is more difficult, they may have a sore throat, a cough, a headache.

In the case of CO2 the symptoms often include a growing desire to read and understand the Bible, more prayer time, a deeper understanding of one another, a greater sense of the Lord's purpose, an increasing desire to grow spiritually, greater peace, joy and love, a new sense of the journey, and a growing drive to reach others with the good news.

I certainly have some of these symptoms and more are appearing all the time. CO2 is beginning to facilitate significant change in me. It's also having a similar impact in my CO2 partners.

Impact - As a cold virus takes hold in the population there's a change in society over and above the symptoms of individuals. People might start to avoid crowds, buy more cough medicine, stay away from work, this in turn might affect the short term profitability of companies, or cause staff shortages in schools, hospitals etc.

For CO2 the longer term impact in the UK is not yet known. The possibilities include wider scale outreach and mission, increased church planting and growth, revival, improved care for the elderly, sick, and disadvantaged in society, and more.

This is a lot to expect from such a simple thing as CO2. But that is exactly the point, a virus is simple. This simplicity makes it hard for doctors to treat. It spreads easily and quickly, very few drugs can interfere with its spread or its impact on patients. The simplicity of CO2 makes it easy to learn, easy to teach, and easy to do.

Dieback - In most cases, a virus peaks and then dies away because people develop immunity. Anything that interferes with transmission or infection will cause a virus to fade away. A cold epidemic fades as more and more people become immune.

Will CO2 die away in the same way? Maybe, and in the longer term it's quite likely. But I hope not because it's a very beneficial virus! There is no known immunity against CO2 so far and that is a good sign. And CO2 doesn't appear to be harmful in any way. Perhaps it will do what some viruses have managed to do, become part of the genome of its host, people who follow Jesus. In that case its long term future would be assured.

Meanwhile, we in the UK are in the very earliest stages of spread. I will do all I can to encourage more infections to spring up.

Here's progress so far...

Chris > Sean
Chris > Paul
..Sean > Hamish (may not have taken)
Chris and Paul > Roger
..Paul > Pete (may not have taken)
../..Roger > Ruth
Chris, Paul and Roger > David
..Paul > Jules
Chris > Tim

Likely further transfer...
Chris > Dave
Chris > Tony
Chris > Rob
..Tim > Tammy

This shows that secondary spread has begun and there are signs of tertiary spread starting. If spread is faster than dieback (and so far it has been), CO2 will spread. If dieback exceeds spread it will fade away. To some degree it's up to us.

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