Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Church Services

Someone asked me whether church services could be understood in service-oriented terms. Not exactly business services are they?

From a secular point of view, a Church service is a service provided by the Church to the church-goers, who put some money into the collection plate and get some spiritual value or psychological comfort in return. But the original meaning is surely that the churchgoers are serving God. (The German word is Gottesdienst.)

The point here is that you get an entirely different structural model depending whether you regard God as the provider of the service or as the recipient of the service, and how you understand the relationship between God and His representatives.

This illustrates a more general point - that there is often more than one way to understand the structure of a service relationship, and the obvious structure might not be the correct one.

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