Archive for June, 2015

Making a U Turn

Posted: June 28, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

vq-U-layersThere are many metaphors for change and many theories about change, but I particularly like Otto Scharmer’s Theory U. Here’s my interpretation: Change can be recognised in a U shape. The top left of the U we can call “now”, while the top right of the U is our preferred destination. Here’s a diagram of it, showing that change requires an open mind, an open heart and an open will.

In order for us to get from “now” to our preferred destination it’s necessary for us to go down the left hand side of the U to that silent, deep place at the bottom where we know that change has occurred, before moving up the right hand side. You see, change is a process that requires many steps, and they often take a very long time.

At the top left of the U where where we begin the process of change, our normal approach is to download from the past. We make decisions based on habits or experiences from the past. That’s why it’s not uncommon when we talk about change in an organisational setting to hear the phrase: “We’ve done that before; it’ll never work.”

The journey down the left hand side of the U is the process of “letting go” while the journey up the right hand side is “letting come.” But the process of letting go involves three significant stages: Letting go of the voice of judgement; letting go of the voice of fear; and letting go of the voice of cynicism.

The voice of judgement calls on us to control people; we make decisions about people based on our experiences and our expectations. Letting go of the voice of judgement also means letting go of these people; accepting that we don’t need to control people by our standards and expectations. The voice of judgement hinders our ability to love and prevents us from opening our hearts to the people who we need the most.

The voice of cynicism is that dark place where trust is stifled. We’ve been hurt by people, by organisations, or processes and we cynically refuse to be hurt again, sensing that those people, organisations or processes will never change and there is no chance that change can occur while they are a part of our situation. Letting go of the voice of cynicism allows us to trust again and thus release the process of change.

The voice of fear paralyses us. Often it’s fear of change. Sometimes fear of the unknown. Whatever that fear is, it can stop change dead in its tracks. As we let go of fear we allow our hearts, minds and will to be opened up to the possibilities of change.

CS Lewis once said: It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

For us to grow, change is necessary, but we can stifle change and hold it back if we are not prepared to let go of the voice of judgement, the voice of cynicism and the voice of fear.

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I just love it when a plan comes together … and you haven’t even planned it.

Last Sunday night, channel 7’s Sunday Night programme featured the world record attempt by Internet sensations, How Ridiculous, in sinking a basketball a distance of 126.5m from the top of the Gordon Dam in Tasmania. I particularly loved it because Brett, who got the record shot, will be a guest at our Fun Factory in a couple of weeks’ time.

Heroes is the theme of Fun Factory which is Maida Vale Baptist Church’s annual school holiday event for kids from four-year-old kindy right through to year 6. We’re going to have a few guests who will help us with our heroes theme. How Ridiculous have used their ridiculous fame to support Compassion Australia, and that’s part of what we are hoping to get across to kids at Fun Factory.  We can all be heroes when we use what God has given us to help others.

Thanks Brett and the How Ridiculous team.

Check out the video of the Guinness World Record shot:

milky-way_karijini_western-australia_kellie-netherwoodI’ve done my fair share of camping in my time.

I remember laying on my back somewhere in the north west of Western Australia, gazing up at the night sky. Without the distraction of city lights the Milky Way becomes a living thing. It’s no longer a dark place, but a place where myriad lights fill every corner.

Then there are memories of camping on the banks of the Mary River in the Kimberley, shining a torch along the opposite bank to catch the glint of crocodile eyes. The worst part of camping is arriving at your camping place late after a long drive and having to put up the tent in the near-dark.

Isaiah 54 has nothing to do with camping, but it takes the readers thoughts back to the patriarchs like Abraham who lived in tents permanently – not just on holidays. Abraham was called to leave his home and move to a new country that God had planned for him. Similarly, Isaiah calls on the church to reach beyond the familiar:

“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

This morning in church I shared this as a call to the 21st century church. At a time when many people are expressing fear about the future of the church, I don’t believe it’s time to circle the wagons. Rather, I believe we need to hear the word of the Lord to Abraham and to Isaiah, to enlarge the place of our tent.

As a local church, we are calling on God to show us what that may mean. For me it certainly means we need to stop looking for the glint of crocodile eyes. Instead we need to look at the Milky Way and be reminded again of the majesty of God.

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.  When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?  You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands;  you put everything under their feet:  all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.  Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8