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.jp soc and org structures for the church

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  Recent movie: Godzilla: King of the Monsters*****; Godzilla 1985***; Beijing Bicycle*****; Godzilla vs. Destoroyah*****
  Recent books: Numbers; Ephesians; Sources of Japanese Civilization vol.1; C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce; Schlatter, The Theology of the Apostles; A Hundred Things Japanese; I John 1:2 (trans.); Thomas Alan Harvey, Acquainted with Grief: Wang Mingdao's Stand for the Persecuted Church in China; H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, Design of my World; Steven Brust and Emma Bull, Freedom & Necessity; John R. E. Bliese, The Greening of Conservative America; Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol. 1); Chie Nakane, Japanese Society;

Don't ask about work.

Instead, thinking about some of what Chie Nakane's Japanese Society is saying about group structures for Japanese, and how conflict and growth play out in those patterns. One of the major themes is the verticality of things: older/younger, senior/junior, sempai / kohai. (This is all from chapter two.) What it means in terms of factions and the problem of fission. Nakane says that the core of a group is almost always just between a dozen and two dozen members, due to the personal connections from the group's leader to the next most senior leaders, and no more than a layer or two of important figures. Beyond that, he says, ties begin to weaken significantly.

That's all a vague paraphrase from a tired guy. More interestingly, how does this help us understand the traditionally very small size (relative to... yes, 'Murkins Krauts and Brits) of Japanese congregations (average size about 30 members, iirc)? For one thing, it might just be a function of the stylings above: the personal ties and coherence of the group only extend so far naturally (by which I mean socially). How does this compare to the mukyokai pattern? I don't know, but from my reading, I understand that the study groups tend to have limited sizes, and are nearly hand-picked discipleship bands in some cases; examples seem to me to run from 20 to 50 in a Bible class under a mukyokai teacher. Note that the phenomenon is considered "uniquely" Japanese, although this pattern in Japan seems vaguely similar to catechesis in the early church, a la Justin Martyr who had a rented room in which he taught 'the true philosophy' and prepared believers for baptism.

Which bounced me down the next chain of thought: how does the structure and clergy/laity structure compare between Japan now and the early church, esp. 3rd century and before? How many bishops for how many -- dozens? scores? hundreds? thousands? Or in cities of what size? Or, how far apart for travel and visitation? Anglican .jp has 11 dioceses for 60,000 members; diocese of Pittsburgh has 22k (southern Ohio has26k). How many did Irenaeus have? How much was delegated, and to whom? I think this is a point for research into methods and group styles in the ancient church. I'm pretty sure it'll tell me something, but don't know what in advance...

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