Cut and paste discipleship
I can remember roaming the hall of the third floor of the Daniel South men’s dorm at Ouachita Baptist University, asking to borrow a typewriter to write a paper for class. That was my junior year, and fortunately, my roommate was gifted with a fancy-schmancy typewriter/word processing wonder that would autocorrect and backspace, typing white ribbon over mistakes.
Those were the days.
I had begun using a Mac Plus for yearbook and the newspaper, but I didn’t always have access to them. Very few students actually owned personal computers. So you still heard the clackety-clack echoing down dorm halls on late nights.
The advent of the ability to “copy” a word, line or paragraph and then “paste” that same text wherever you wanted was truly… amazing. We take it for granted today.
The history of copy and paste
Larry Kesler is credited with being one of the chief architects of “copy and paste” as we know it today.It later became known simply as “cut and paste.”
It may seem obvious now, but the right way to move text around was highly debatable back then. While some designers favored the cut/copy/paste method we have now, others wanted a move/copy/delete/transpose. This is more akin to how some older systems like WordStar did things. The commands operated on a block of text on the screen with no intermediate step. Even the ideas of putting the cursor between letters, the shape of the cursor was not obvious at the time… The official story is that C was for copy, X looks like a crossout or a pair of scissors, and V looks like an insertion mark.
Cut and paste on steroids
I use an app on my Mac that’s indispensable. It’s called Jumpcut.You can copy, copy, copy, and it will record what you’ve copied and display it in a list. You can then select from the list what you want to paste in your document. I use it every day.
The function of cut and paste
Cut and paste has one simple function. It copies the text (or picture) that is original to your document, and it pastes the exact same thing that it copied. Of course it does, you say. Cut and paste. Simple-schmimple. That’s the beauty of the functionality of the process.
We would not tolerate originality in our cut and paste function.
Imagine hitting control-C and control-V and getting something different from what you expected. It would be frustrating. It would ruin the entire thing. Cut and paste is not designed for creativity or originality. It’s designed to simple reproduce the original.
I’m occasionally asked what the “vision” for our church is. I understand the question, and we do have strategic initiatives. However, I often use the question as an opportunity to respond in a very simple way.
We do what the church has always done. We preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. We seek to follow Him in our personal lives of joyful obedience. We simply “copy and paste” what has been taught and modeled ever since Jesus came.
Our goal is not to be creative with the content of the gospel. We must be faithful to reproduce it in all its glorious, saving originality.
The apostle Paul spoke strongly against those who sought to create a new, or different gospel:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all.” (Galatians 1:6-7)
It was a problem in the early church when people began changing the original message of the gospel, making it say what Jesus and His apostles did not say. It’s a problem today.
Our responsibility is simple - cut and paste. There’s an indescribable joy about just simply reproducing the content of the gospel in our lives and communications and discipleship today. We can be creative with methodologies and explanations, but we must not be creative with the content of the gospel. It’s God’s gospel. Not ours. We cut and paste.
In Jude’s letter (a half-brother of Jesus), he revealed that he wanted to write about something else, but due to some who were misrepresenting the gospel, he felt it necessary to zero in on the importance of cut and paste:
“I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”
The message of the gospel was entrusted to the church. We must faithfully, humbly, joyfully and simply reproduce it in every single generation and to every single person.
That’s cut and paste discipleship.
That’s cut and paste discipleship. That’s cut and paste discipleship. That’s cut and paste discipleship. That’s cut and paste discipleship.
Larry Tesler: Computer scientist behind cut, copy and paste dies aged 74, BBC, February 20, 2020
The Origin of Cut, Copy, and Paste, by Al Williams, Hackaday, January 20, 2021
You can download Jumpcut for free here. It’s user-maintained and not on the app store.
Jude 1:3, NIV