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It's interesting to watch as a number of computer companies discover an economic model the church has used for almost two thousand years.

I don't begrudge these entrepreneurs the discovery. The church certainly never clamored for the rest of the world to adopt its model, and I doubt most of us Christians even imagined the model could be used outside of the church context.

Nevertheless, it is being used outside the church, and it interesting to watch.

Let me set the stage.

For ages the church (or much of the church) has relied upon freely given contributions to finance its services, charities and outreach. Anybody can walk in the door and worship God (or just enjoy the music) without spending a cent. Freeloaders abounded (and still do), but it still works.

How much like shareware this is. For example, anybody can download a copy of TextPad (a superb text editor) and use it for nothing. And no doubt many do. But there are enough people who pay the fee to make the economic model work.

Oops! That reminds me. I need to stop being a freeloader and pay for my copy of TextPad. (And no, I don't have any connection with the company aside from loving its text editor.)


Copyright 2000 Brad Haugaard.