right-brain reflections
Tuesday November 07th 2006, 12:30 pm
Filed under: church, thinking..., books, emerging church, emergent

a few times now i’ve referenced daniel pink’s book as one of the more significant books i’ve read in the past couple years. the book is about the world-wide shift from a dominant reliance on left-brain thinking and skills (and a dominant valuing of those) to the rise, at least in the states, of an era of right-brain thinking and skills. fascinating stuff. i posted about it a few times:

left-brain apologetics (btw, not sure i agree with everything i wrote in this post — brent kunkle of str has helped shift my thinking a bit)
a fun little right-brain exercise
the world in 10 years

a while back, i’d pulled out two quotes i really enjoyed and typed them into a place-holder post, which has been sitting in my admin area ever since. time to get ‘em out there…

the guy who invented the wheel was an idiot. the guy who invented the other three, he was a genius.
(sid caesar, quoted in ‘a whole new mind’)

i love this semi-absurd quote. and it smacks of mission to me. i have really enjoyed noticing, in the past two or three years, that the definition wars over emerging/emergent seem to be somewhat dying down. i think a primary reason for this is that most of the practitioners in the u.s. emerging church scene are now well past the deconstruction phase of post-evangelicalism and well into figuring out how to be the church in the communities to which they’ve been called. seems like u.k. and n.z. (and maybe aussie) emerging expressions had a jump on this, as there wasn’t as much of a need for deconstruction — the cultures of those countries had already done that work (i’m oversimplifying a bit, of course).

not that good church leadership is all about the practical. in fact, practical only reflects our theology (whether intentionally or not). but a theological commitment to a missional ecclesiology is — wonderfully, i believe — being fleshed out in varied expressions all over the world with much less of a “look how edgy we are; you should book me to speak at your event” mentality. it’s just groups of jesus-followers figuring out to to add three more wheels. it’s praxis-ing wonderful single-wheel theology.

here’s another quote…

sidney harman, the eightysomething multimillionaire ceo of a stereo components company says he doesn’t find it all that valuable to hire mbas. instead, “i say, ‘give me some poets as managers.’ poets are our original systems thinkers. they contemplate the world in which we live and feel obliged to interpret, and give expression to it in the way that makes the reader understand how that world turns. poets, those unheralded systems thinkers, are our true digital thinkers. it is from their midst that i believe we will draw tomorrow’s new business leaders.”

and tomorrow’s church leaders, i say. seems this truth was completely understood in the OT and NT periods (well, moreso in the OT than in the less-than-poetic pauline era that followed jesus). so much to say — so much to extrapolate…

this is why seminaries need to change (and some are). we’ve taught bible and theology (and pastoring) like a spiritual mba program. that wasn’t useless. it just doesn’t produce the best leaders (it produces information repositories, not wise leaders who know how to think systemically and exegete culture).

this is why we in the church need to move beyond our obsessions with
mechanization and control and simple,
and more fully embrace
fluid and complex and messy.

this is why our preaching and teaching and evangelism need to be more about story-telling than argument-building.

this is why i’m trying to read as broadly as possible — fiction, science, history, graphic novels, humor, spiritual memiors, business/leadership/marketing, christitan thought and living, and more. i find that reading widely is akin to soaking in poetry — it helps me think more creatively and begin to see systemic implications and patterns.

3 Comments so far
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I’m with you on A whole New Mind. It has been a significant read for me as well. On one hand, it put words to a lot of what I was always feeling. On another, it has stretched my thinking in that the more I mull the implications of the book the more I find myself influenced by it.

Unfortunately, the few times I’ve tried to talk about the book with others I have drawn blank stares. It seems like the ideas need an audience who is in a position cognitively to accept it. Maybe this is also true of some who are slow to think in terms of a narrative apologetics? Then again, maybe I’m just not good at explaining it.

Comment by clave 11.07.06 @ 6:46 pm

I loved the book as well. I probably appreciated the chapter on Symphony most and also appreciate your comment on leaders needing to do systems thinking.

I think your readers would love to hear how you liked some of the exercises in the Portfolio sections too…

Comment by tony sheng 11.08.06 @ 12:37 am

That ties in with the argument that Brian McLaren (amongst others) puts forward in his book A new kind of Christian referring to the different between modernity and postmodernity and the different approach to mission and ministry that we need to adopt and equip the generation coming up to reach a postmodern generation not as intent on analysis, black and white solutions and debates but into fluidity, experience and grey areas (but not in a dull way!)

Comment by Claire Hailwood 11.08.06 @ 4:08 am

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