morphogenesis of church life, 2.0

Cellular Mitosis is cell division in which one somatic cell divides to produce two cells each of which has the identical genetic content (same number of chromosomes) as the original somatic cell.


An interesting question to reflect on is when a cell divides which cell is the original?  Does the original still exist?  Is there truly a parent cell?  How is it that the parent cell becomes a daughter cell?  What implications might that hold for church multiplication?


With the diploid human cell mitosis results in two new diploid cells containing the 23 chromosome pairs (46 total chromosomes) Cells undergo division after receiving a communication (chemical message) instructing them to divide. For body cells (somatic cells) cell division is for growth, repair, and replacement. There are a great number of cells making up the human body – approximately 60 trillion.


Not all cells are the same: intestinal cells divide every 3 days and are broken down by digestion, while blood cells last 3 months and are replaced by new cell division, while nerve cells usually don’t divide but last for life. 


Below is a brief description of the phases of cellular mitoses:


Interphase . . . is the cell growth phase in which a cell increases in size and carries out activities that support the organism.  It is technically not a part of mitosis.  Near the end of this phase, the chromosomes of the cell duplicate in preparation for cell division.  By the time a cell is ready to divide, there are two copies of each chromosome (the sister chromatids.) 

Prophase . . . The chromosomes coil, becoming short and thick. The nuclear membrane appears to dissolve and the chromosomes float in the cytoplasm.  The spindle, a football-shaped, cage like structure consisting of thin fibers forms in the cytoplasm.  The spindle fibers attach to the centromeres of the chromosomes and to both ends of the cell.

Metaphase . . . All of the chromosomes line up across the center of the cell.

Anaphase . . . The chromosomes separate.  One copy of each chromosome is pulled to each end of the cell by the spindle fibers.

Telophase . . . The cell membrane begins to pinch the cell in two to divide the cytoplasm.  A new nuclear membrane forms in each daughter cell.  The “daughter cells” contain the same genetic information as was found in the original cell and as each other because the chromosomes in each cell are the same.   

Cytokinesis . . . In humans, daughter cells are separated by the division of the cytoplasm by the formation of a ‘cleavage furrow’ which ultimately pinches apart the cells. It is caused by a contractile ring of microfilaments (actin) and the protein “myosin”.  Cytokinesis also results in the (random) distribution of organelles such as the mitochondria, chloroplasts, etc. The end result of mitosis and cytokinesis is two cells with 46 chromosomes.


Peace, dwight

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  1. Along the ideas of cellular mitosis – one thing (Protestant) churches are good at is splitting! 🙂 Two kinds of splits happen. One is a healthy split, where a few leave to start a new church (usually in a different geography). This usually involves a small fraction of the main church, but those leaving are usually more active, on average, than those remaining. And the split is friendly, with a link back to the main.

    The second split is usually even-sized, caused by a rift, usually unfriendly, and rarely linked back. Unfortunately, these are more common than the first kind.

    Another type of mitosis is called a "mole". Not a beauty mark on the skin, but a zygote that initially splits, with all the chromosomes coming from solely the egg, or solely the sperm. Egg (female) moles can result in a full term pregnancy, but the birth product is a mass of hair and fingernails and other protein structures. Male (sperm) moles rarely go full term, and lack structure, often looking like an early miscarriage. Any church analogies here?

    There seems to be something in the DNA of the church that lacks a "connection gene". Rarely do Christians identify with an "alumni" network of a particular church, and the vast majority of Christians leave a church after 2 years. The largest denomination is ex-churched. It has been said that "The history of Protestantism is the history of Prussia", maybe you Mennonites can soften that military heritage? And, it‘s also said, "The history of Evangelicalism is the history of Suburbia." Outer, sprawl-type suburbia has a rootlessness, everyone moves every 2 years. But the inner ring of suburbs – the Fremont (Seattle) or Norwood (Cincinnati) character – has the potential to fight this? Maybe you and Chad canipe can explore this?