Tag: Paradigms (home)

Everything you've learned in school as "obvious" becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.

permalink source: R. Buckminster Fuller
tags: Paradigms, Physics, Universe

While crossing the US-Mexican border on his bicycle, the man was stopped by a guard who pointed to two sacks he had on his shoulders. "What's in the bags?" "Sand," said the cyclist. "If you don't mind sir, we'll just take a look at those." The cyclist did as he was told. The guards searched the bags but could find nothing but sand. He continued across the border. Next week the same thing happened. Again the guards demanded to see the two bags, which contained nothing but sand. This went on every week for six months until it stopped suddenly. Some time later one of the guards happened to meet the cyclist on the street. "Say, you sure drove us crazy. We knew you were smuggling something across the border. I promise I won't rat--I just gotta know: what were you smuggling?" "Bicycles."

permalink source: Unknown
tags: Humor, Paradigms, Perception, Creativity

During a service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the Shema prayer was said, half the congregants stood up and half remained sitting. The half that was seated started yelling at those standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up. The rabbi,learned as he was in the Law and commentaries, didn't know what to do. His congregation suggested that he consult a housebound 98 year old man, who was one of the original founders of their temple. The rabbi hoped the elderly man would be able to tell him what the actual temple tradition was, so he went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction of the congregation. The one whose followers stood during Shema said to the old man, "Isn't the tradition to stand during this prayer?" The old man answered, "No, that is not the tradition." The one whose followers sat said, "Then the tradition is to sit during Shema!" The old man answered, "No, that is not the tradition." Then the rabbi said to the old man, "But the congregants fight all the time, yelling at each other about whether they should sit or stand..." The old man interrupted, exclaiming, "THAT is the tradition!"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Habit, Humor, Paradigms, Tradition

TICONDEROGA, N.Y. (AP) -- A company is trying to erase an embarrassing mistake it made on pencils bearing an anti-drug message. The pencils carry the slogan: "Too Cool to Do Drugs." But a sharp-eyed fourth-grader in northern New York noticed when the pencils are sharpened, the message turns into "Cool to Do Drugs" then simply "Do Drugs." As a result of the discovery by 10-year-old Kodi Mosier of Ticonderoga Elementary School, the company, called The Bureau For At-Risk Youth of Plainview, recalled the pencils. "We're actually a little embarrassed that we didn't notice that sooner," spokeswoman Darlene Clair told today's Press-Republican of Plattsburgh. A new batch of pencils will have the message written in the opposite direction, so when they are sharpened, they read "Too Cool To Do" and finally "Too Cool." For pointing out the botched message, Moiser earned his class a letter of apology from the company and box full of T-shirts. Why does Kodi think the company didn't catch the mistake themselves? "I guess they didn't sharpen their pencils," he said.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Paradigms, Perception

If people would have been asked in 1968 which nation would dominate the world in watch making during the 1990s and into the twenty-first century the answer would have been uniform: Switzerland. Why? Because Switzerland had dominated the world of watch making for the previous sixty years. The Swiss made the best watches in the world and were committed to constant refinement of their expertise. It was the Swiss who came forward with the minute hand and the second hand. They led the world in discovering better ways to manufacture the gears, hearings, and mainsprings of watches. They even led the way in waterproofing techniques and self-winding models. By 1968, the Swiss made 65 percent of all watches sold in the world and laid claim to as much as 90 percent of the profits. By 1980, however, they had laid off thousands of watch-makers and controlled less than 10 percent of the world market. Their profit domination dropped to less than 20 percent. Between 1979 and 1981, fifty thousand of the sixty-two thou-sand Swiss watchmakers lost their jobs. Why? The Swiss had refused to consider a new development—-the Quartz movement-—ironically, invented by a Swiss. Because it had no main-spring or knob, it was rejected. It was too much of a paradigm shift for them to embrace. Seiko, on the other hand, accepted it and, along with a few other companies, became the leader in the watch industry. The lesson of the Swiss watchmakers Is profound. A past that was so secure, so profitable, so dominant was destroyed by an unwillingness to consider the future. It was more than not being able to make predictions—it was an inability to re-think how they did business. Past success had blinded them to the importance of seeing the implications of the changing world and to admit that past accomplishment was no guarantee of future success.

permalink source: James Enery White, Rethinking The Church, Baker Books, 1998, p. 20
tags: Paradigms

When the Montgolfier brothers flew the first hot air balloon, word of this exciting event reached the king in Paris, who could immediately see the military potential. So he called for his chief scientific officer, M. Charles, and commanded him to produce a balloon. This considerable scientist racked his brains: "how could they have flown this contraption?" After a while he jumped up with the French equivalent of "Eureka." "They must be using this new gas called hydrogen, which is lighter than air!" he declared. So he proceeded to invent the hydrogen balloon, which is a totally different type of balloon.

permalink source: Edward DeBono, Serious Creativity, p 43
tags: Paradigms, Creativity

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

permalink source: Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography
tags: Paradigms, Change

Our friend Don Zimmer is back with his monthly installment on books. As you may remember, Don is a member of our Church Champions Editors Board and a long time friend. Unlike your truly, he reads deeply and remembers what he reads. He is my number one expert in finding a book for the topic to be addressed. This month he follows up his previous columns on leadership with a discussion on thinking styles and how they affect our conception of work and the church. "Some years ago, Bob Dale and George Bullard introduced me to a relatively new instrument called the Success Style Profile (SSP). The SSP provides an assessment of how we have learned to think. Over the next year I gave the instrument to several hundred leaders in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at the congregation and judicatory levels. Everywhere a clear, consistent pattern of thinking was present. I accepted the pattern as normal, after all, every organization has its culture and people are shaped by it. Later, as I gave the instrument to more people in more diverse settings other patterns emerged. Variations tended to cluster around organization forms and cultures, some were slight, some significant. I found myself asking what do these patterns mean for the processes that must occur within an organization for it to be responsive to changing environments? Heifetz spoke of "technical work" and "adaptive work", the former, work done to accomplish known tasks, the latter, work done toward the unknown. The observed patterns suggested each organization had a style that had evolved over time that enabled them to do the known "technical work." While each was successful in varying degrees, I found myself asking how can they do the "adaptive work" necessary to respond to rapid and profound change when some styles of thinking are clearly under-represented? It was a short intuitive step to the question, "How does thinking style relate to our spirituality, prayer forms, worship preferences, and theology?" I do not purpose to offer an answer, but I believe that there is clearly a link. Dr. Corinne Ware's book, Discover Your Spiritual Type and Kent Groff's, Active Spirituality (Alban Institute) together with my training as a Spiritual Director have helped organize and further shape my thinking around this question. The spiritual typology Dr. Ware's book contains offered me a way of relating spirituality, prayer form, worship preferences and theology to thinking style. The instruments provided a way of opening up a dialogue around the possible relationships. Methodologically, I walk folks through the SSP experience where I spend some time on brain body research then I invite them to take Dr. Ware's instrument. We post the results and talk about our observations. Several things have emerged from these sessions. First, people perceive how they express their spirituality as different from how they perceive their church body expressing its spirituality. Second, people are mixed in how they view that difference. For some their church provides a base from which they can explore while others see their church as unable to support the full range of their spiritual needs. Third, thinking style is potentially a major factor in much of what divides us as a the church and if we can name that perhaps we can reshape the dialogue among diverse church bodies and help further unbind the latent gifts present within the church. Over the years as our organizations have evolved, certain thinking styles, talents, and behaviors have dictated what goes on in churches and how it gets done. The "business model" is everywhere present. But what is good for business is not necessarily good for the church. If God intended us to be a "body" why is so much of the body excluded from the processes that shape much of the direction and focus of churches and judicatories? The answer lies in how we shape those processes and how we shape those processes is determined by the prevailing thinking style. In the early 1990s, I encountered Chuck Olsen's work that eventually became Transforming Church Boards and later Discerning God's Will Together (Both published by Alban Institute and the latter co authored with Danny Morris). Chuck offered a different model for church boards and committees. It is a model focused on consensus versus majority rule, on discernment rather than decision, on story more than data, on listening more than speaking. It was a model that values the "wholeness" of the body and the process of inclusion more than "efficiency". The people who tend to do well in contemporary church organization shape it, and as they do, others who do not do well self exclude themselves. The result is a process in which the body of Christ is disproportionately represented by certain thinking styles. Clearly there are many roles to be played within church organizations, and not everyone can do everything, but by defining our church organizational and governance practices as we have we have, we have systematically excluded the voices and gifts of many. If we sought to carry out church differently, could we involve more people from the body in discerning God's will, seeking to follow it, and in being better stewards of the enormous diversity of gifts that people have to offer? Part of the challenge we face in governing churches and judicatories is how we conceptualize church. When we conceptualize the church as an organization we tend to emphasize the structure and roles that define that organization. During the course of planning the program for a mid-level judicatory pastor's conference, I had the privilege of spending time with Loren Mead. He was just finishing Transforming Congregations for the Future (Alban Institute). When I read the book Chapters 2 and 3 really spoke to me. A short time later I was looking at a map of the German forces deployed across France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg just prior to the Normandy invasion. It hit me. The relevant issue is where forces are deployed not where they are based. The military commander focuses on the troops in the field not just the headquarters and bases that support them. What if we saw our church-selves as people rather than organizations and roles, scattered as well as gathered? What if we paid attention to enlisting, equipping, empowering, and enabling people to serve where they live their daily lives versus through congregation activities? Perhaps the most effective point for communicating the authentic gospel is in the contact that occurs in everyday life as people connect around pain, needs, and shared interests, activities and experiences. Is our often-myopic view of church yet another product of the thinking styles that define our organizational structure and practices?" You can send Don some direct feedback at DonaldZ7@aol.com. He will appreciate your comments and dialog. Don has agreed to be a moderator at one of our November Team Forums focused on lay persons.

permalink source: Church Champions Update, Mar 10 2001
tags: Paradigms, Self-awareness

Our friend Russ Bredholt is back with a new entry for us to ponder. I always appreciate his musings and comments. Russ managed to have a household accident a few weeks back and dropped me a line to explain. I was real worried until he told me he was back playing golf, but only with a nine finger grip. He's back thinking too. Here are his thoughts on the Mindset of a New Generation "At a recent meeting of college presidents a presentation was given by Dr. Diana Oblinger, professor of business at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Oblinger's subject was changing technology and its implication for higher education. The more she talked, the more I realized just how much her material would also relate to the church. To underscore her point about a shift in priorities and values among younger adults, Dr. Oblinger listed the following as characteristics of the "Information Age Mindset:"* -Computers aren't technology -The Internet is better than TV -Reality is no longer real -Doing is more important than knowing -Nintendo over logic -Multitasking is a way of life -Typing is preferred to handwriting -Staying connected is essential -Zero tolerance for delays -Consumer and creator are blurring Each item listed above was commented on for clarification. Space does not allow us to go into that kind of detail. Most reading this column will be able to interpret these points. They make for interesting discussion. What I want to do is highlight Dr. Oblinger's response...offering advice to leaders of educational institutions and speaking to the issue of how, if at all, to respond. Her counsel comes in the form of questions (good advisors do this). The emphasis, you will note, focuses on internal values first. Dr. Oblinger raised four questions. I modified each and added a comment in order to fit the context of the church: 1. Why are we doing church? Before trying to get into the details of overhauling how we do church, can we simply ask ourselves the simple question: What causes us to be here in the first place? 2. What kind of experience do we want our people (members/attenders) to have as a result of being connected to our church? I believe in mystery and serendipity, but there is something about leaders working to intentionally shape and influence relationships and experiences so they are more positive than negative. 3. Does information technology change our traditional mission? Maybe it does not change as much as we think. Perhaps it is the context of mission where adaptations are to be considered. 4. What is distinctive about our church? We have written on this subject before. It is our observation that most congregations don't know what sets them apart from other faith groups. (A good way to find this out is to interview the newer members of the church.) Those that enjoy some measure of results do so in part because they are not the same as everyone else. Effectiveness is often related to the degree of difference. Churches can be long on vision and short on follow-up. Attention to detail is the most overlooked aspect of congregational life, other than time with the spiritual disciplines. Before we get too wrapped up in technological advances, it is still worthwhile to come back to a few basic questions that help us clarify what is important to us. It is becoming clearer what is of interest to young adults. The question is whose values will prevail?" Give feedback directly to our friend Russ Bredholt, Jr. by emailing him at rbredholt@aol.com. His source for the comments come from an article by Jason L. Frand in Educause Review (S/O 2000)

permalink source: Church Champions Update Mar 13, 2001
tags: Church, Paradigms

Tom Bandy is one of the principals of Easum/Bandy and Associates and a great author and consultant too. He and Bill Easum facilitate regular learning forums for change leaders, church planters as well as denominational officials. I am a participant in several of their email forums. A few weeks back now, Tom addressed a concern in the forum about a positive role of denominational officials in helping churches in change. He was gracious to allow me to share it with you. If you are now apart of a denominational system, I think the same thing could be said for other interventionists that assist churches. ASSISTING SYSTEMIC CHANGE I agree that the terminology of "bottom up" and "top down" are probably no longer adequate to interpret how systemic change happens in the church. However, I disagree with the view that "bottom up transformation is a myth". It has happened ... and is happening ... all the time, and in all of the spheres of culture named. The initiative or motivating power for systemic change almost always emerges from below ... and also from the fringes. This is not because regional and national leaders are indifferent or insensitive to innovation, but because organizationally denominations (and other institutions) are designed for programmatic change ... not systemic change. We are caught up in portfolios and divisions and job descriptions ...and politics, and heritage protection, and preservation of denominational ethos. Recently I had the same experience re-enacted in another denominational meeting (I won't mention which). Judicatory leaders are most helpful, however, in maintaining MOMENTUM for transformation. While it may be initiated from below, strong leadership must accelerate the momentum. This leadership CAN be from the national or regional judicatories, but it does not HAVE to be. My experience is that if national or middle judicatory leaders cannot give systemic change leadership, then congregations will go around roadblocks to form their own networks (within or beyond the denomination), their own partnerships (within or beyond the traditional religious sectors, and even among business and non-profit sectors), and their own leadership development (with resources and mentors of their own choosing). In short, the water of change is rising, and it will find its new watercourse one way or another. Denominational leaders can be incredibly be helpful ... but do not in themselves initiate, channel, or control the rising tide of change. Let me test several ideas with all of you regarding the potential positive role of denominational leadership for systemic change in churches. 1) I like the comment from one of our participants that denominational leaders have the most impact by addressing ATTITUDE change, rather than TACTICS. They can teach, or better yet behaviorally model, a "new way of thinking" for congregations and congregational leaders stuck in old paradigms. 2) Denominational leaders can help channel change by offering help in synthesizing seeming opposites, breaking down old polarizations between "liberal" and "conservative", and helping congregational leaders (enthusiastic initiators that they are) to see a larger and more intricate picture when it comes to local and global mission. 3) The emerging configuration of leadership is the team. These teams may be formal, but are most often informal, partnerships between national and local leaders. As the micro/macro nature of change accelerates, middle or regional leadership may find itself marginalized unless they are very proactive and desire to participate. (I digress here to note that although I find middle judicatory leaders such as those in this forum who are "on board" with systemic change, they always express to me their own sense of isolation among their middle judicatory colleagues. Ten years ago I would have said that national leadership were among the most defensive and reactionary voices among denominations ... but I am not sure I would think that today.) 4) The most effective leadership teams not only model the macro/micro world, but they are often ad hoc or informal. They do not emerge through the institutionalized and politicized nominations processes of the denomination. They are formed at the initiative of a national or local leader "providentially", and may often contradict and alarm the actual official infrastructure. I think I have a different perspective from (another person), who suggests that denominational leaders can best lead systemic change through their own portfolios or spheres of influence. My personal experience, and that of colleagues, and my observation of others, is that denominational leaders best lead change when the STEP OUTSIDE their traditional job descriptions and begin to think and live holistically. Systemic change cannot be achieved programmatically, in the sense that various tasks can be divided among several offices. It happens when denominational leaders learn to shed their job descriptions and work in true post-modern teams of equals who individually and together share a holistic vision of congregational mission. A last comment about stress: If all of the above is true, denominational leaders who really do LEAD transformation (not just programmatic change) will be under tremendous stress from every direction. I am not sure that this is the place for me to tell my own story, and so I will refrain. I will only say that it is a very hard road to follow for denominational leaders, but that at least in my case it ended well. Attitudes and priorities in my national office did change ... people who formerly hated my mission became trusted friends and colleagues ... the division shifted toward team-based leadership. None of that came easily, and the colleagues who continue also experience enormous stress ... and joy ... as well. Thanks to Tom for his contribution. By the way the Easum/Bandy group has email forums as well as some new advanced learning options available this year. They have a brand new web-based seminar through the EBA Community as of January 1. There is a new topic in this EBA Community Coaching Seminar every month (except July). In addition, they are the featured presenters at The Easum, Bandy Convergence (Convergence - "The occurrence of two or more things coming together") EBA will hold two events in 2001 that involve all of the EBA team (eight). Dates and Places: April 24 -- Columbus, Ohio -- September 18 -- Baltimore, Maryland 8:30am to 9:00 pm. To get more information, check out their very cool web site at www.easumbandy.com. Warning though, Bill Easum's picture is on there so close one eye.:)

permalink source: Church Champions Update Feb 12, 2001
tags: Church, Paradigms, Change

Celestial navigation is based on the premise that the Earth is the center of the universe. The premise is wrong, but the navigation works. An incorrect model can be a useful tool.

permalink source: Kelvin Throop III
tags: Paradigms, Systems, Assumptions

A man sat down in a restaurant and asked the waitress what the daily special was. She replied, "Boiled tongue." "Boiled tongue!" responded the horrified customer, "That's disgusting! There's no way that I'd ever eat anything that's been in a cows mouth. Ummm, just give me two eggs over easy, some link sausage, and a glass of milk instead!"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Paradigms, Perception, Perspective

You heard about the man who asked a mail-order company to send plans for a birdhouse. Instead of sending him the plans for a birdhouse, they sent him plans for a sailboat. He tried to put it together, but it just wouldn't work. He couldn't figure what kind of bird was going to live in this dumb birdhouse. So he wrote a letter and sent the parts back to the people. They wrote a letter of apology and added this post script: "If you think it was difficult for you, you should have seen the man who got your plans trying to sail a birdhouse." What plan are you using to follow Christ? One copied from society?

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Paradigms, Success, Discipleship, Planning

People don't just hear what you say, they hear what you're saying plus what they already believe.

permalink source: Jeff Rostocil
tags: Communication, Paradigms

Just a caveat...what if the people "who don't want to change" don't want to change not because they are entrenched in a static enviorment without the freedom to dialogue...but are resistant to changing core belifs because they've thought them through, weighed them in the filter of personal experience and good bible study and have come to the realization -- they don't want to change? Does that just make them stupid because they don't want to change?

permalink source: Randy Jumper
tags: Paradigms, Change