Tuesday, April 25, 2006

St. Margaret

There is no way to describe Margaret Wheatley. Tiy can trt terms like "leadership futurist," and "organizational theorist." But the one who introduced me to the power of fractals can only be "St. Margaret" in my book (No matter what she does or doesn't believe..she consults with, and speaks at, churches). Ever since her seminal "secular" book,
"Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World,"
it has become fairly obviou she is a gift to the church. Anyone with articles like
"Consumed by Either Fire or Fire: Journeying with T.S. Eliott," and "Goodbye, Command and Control," ...how could they not be?

Len at NextReformation.com has long drawn on her wisom and applied it to church and Kingdom.

Roger has been commenting on this book at the House Church Blog. He comments at one point:
The author, Margaret Wheatley, describes the inability of our ancient
"Newtonian" science concepts to properly describe our universe. The "old"
science views creation as a machine that can be understood by taking apart each
piece and examining it. This view of life has caused us, for centuries, to
put together control-systems that will organize mechanical systems for the
desired result. She suggests that our understanding of organizational and
leadership models is a direct result of our old way of studying the
universe. The new science, on the other hand, describes a universe that is
not so easily defined or controlled. At the core of the universe is not
some basic "building block" but rather unseen connections between "entities"
that change and are, themselves, fluid. Thus, Wheatley sees our new
understanding of the universe pointing us toward "living sytems" that use "fluid
and organic structures" that possess the "same capacity to adapt and grow that
is common to all of life."

On to the Wheatley book itself:

We seem hypnotized by structures, and we build them strong and complex
because... this is a universe, we feel, that cannot be trusted with its own
process for growth and rejuvenation... By sheer force of will, because we are
the planet's intelligence, we will make the world work...
If people are
machines, seeking to control us makes sense. But if we live with the same
forces intrinsic to all other life, then seeking to impose control through rigid
structures is suicide....

...I want to trust in this universe so much that I give up playing
God. I want to stop struggling to hold things together. I want to
experience such security that the concept of "allowing"--trusting that the
appropriate forms will emerge--ceases to be scary.

Rhonda Servine did a paper at Fuller on Leadership and the New Science, which she donated to the House Church Blog. The entire paper is here; excerpt below:

Organizations have long been structured like a machine, divided into multiple parts
which have varying functions, and ignoring the human beings which compose it.
The church has also followed this form. But now the key determinant in our world
is being recognized by scientists as relationship, and the consequences of this
are influencing our whole society...

In the new science, the structure of processes and potential relationships
is what is central to being. Relationships determine who we are, how we
think, what we become. We are not isolated machines but are interconnected and
influenced by all with whom we come in contact. The Church as ‘friendship’
and ‘relational conversation’ fits well with this concept; deep relationships
are centered in love, which changes the individual and then the world.

What are you waiting for? Get started yourself:


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