How do we lead into the uncertain future? That is one of the biggest challenges facing the leader of the church. The following images are the basis for the final project in my class The Hermeneutics of Leading in Mission. We were challenged to articulate our own Theory of Strategic Action. It must be contextually-situated, communicatively-discerned, theoretically-informed, and biblically-theologically framed. The series of images below is part of my attempt to communicate my theory visually. click here to read the paper.
God is constantly, eternally creating, recreating, and redeeming the world. We must always remember that this is God’s story and we are invited and valued participants in it–not the star of it.
Our inner self is both united with God and separated from the universe by the physicality and linguisticality of body, mind, and spirit. We are finite beings navigating infinite space with a bounded rationality. We are pyscho/pneuma/somatic creatures that must address life and growth holistically.
We are social creatures that exist within concentric spheres of relationships in which we communicatively discern and navigate life. We function simultaneously within spheres of intimate, comfortable, and uncomfortable neighbors. Everyone is our neighbor, whether we like them or not. Notice how this image relates to the Overflow Principle.
We live in a story that is both written for us and that we write ourselves. Most of the story has been written for us by our location in life–genetics, family of origin, language, social class, faith tribe, etc. These are things that we did not choose, yet they define who we are and dictate most of the choices we make in life. However, we do have control over some choices that we make–friends, hobbies, etc. As we grow and mature we can begin to differentiate from our family of origin and make personal choices regarding faith tribe. However, we can never alter the initial imprint that our place of origin has on our lives.
Our individual story is only one story in a world of stories. Each of these narratives frame the larger story in which we find ourselves and contribute to the larger movements of culture and history. Our story must find its place within the dialogue with these other stories.
Those who claim to follow Jesus must interact with the Judeo-Christian narrative. This is the primary story that informs our Christian identity and provides the incarnational articulation of God’s interaction with humanity. Our present story must find its inertia from this story in order to be propelled into the unfolding Kingdom of God.
It is important to recognize the reality of spiritual powers that are at work in the world. The collective will of humanity coalesces to create the spirits of the age that bring oppressive systems bent on power and control.
In each moment of our lives we are faced with choices. The combination of our stories dictate much of our decision-making process, however we are still left with some free agency. This requires discernment. Each moment brings both a beckoning from the Holy Spirit to lean into the Kingdom of God and a temptation to feed the Kingdom of Self.
We make a choice and that choice has consequences. A choice to obey the Spirit’s call will feed into the Kingdom of God, produce the fruit of the Spirit, and bring healing and reconciliation. A choice to feed the self will bring consequences of further isolation, greed, fear, and pain. Each of these consequences creates a feedback loop that informs the story we tell ourselves and perpetuates the cycle of our life story.