New Tutorial on Critical Thinking Skills and Transformation Tools Posted

It has been a long time since I posted anything here. But that doesn’t mean I’ve been inactive! Over the past few months, I’ve been writing and editing a huge amount, actually. I am nearing completion of an introduction to bringing together “Opal Design Teams” for transformational, intercultural ministry. My deadline to get that short book to the editor is coming up soon, and it should be available in January. I’ll post details once everything gets finalized. Once it’s done, I plan on launching into the final edits on my curriculum series that expands out this introduction with more detail, illustrations, images, case studies from films, etc.

Meanwhile, I did produce a new futuristguy tutorial on Transformation while in the process of writing on critical thinking skills and tools for transformation, for the Opal Design Teams book. (This also appeared as a two-part guest post on my friend Julie Anne Smith’s blog.)  This tutorial is futures-oriented. It covers some basics of how to detail events and discern the times. For my main illustrations, I’ve drawn on case studies from secular and Christian organizations that are dealing with allegations or proven situations involving abuse of power, failure to report crimes, cover-ups, and the like. Sadly, this represents a significant layer of bullying in contemporary culture. But there is hope for that situation to change …

So, check out the tutorial – and I hope you find it of help in seeing new ways of perceiving an individual’s or organization’s past, present, and future!

More Thoughts on Culturologists versus Philosophists

SUMMARY. This post picks up a relevant quote on the inherent paradigm clash between culturologists and philosophists. It expands on other issues of church structures and functions that definitely seem to suggest a manifestation of this conflict, such as attempts at church “paradigm shifts,” and the problematic church-within-a-church phenomenon of the past 10 years. The questions in the Do-It-Yourself Section imply other areas where this issue may be at work.

Continue reading

Culturologists versus Philosophists? Culturology versus Philosophy?

SUMMARY. A culturologist perspective is that cultural change drives the production of new philosophies. This is based on finding systems patterns in a dataset of concrete experiences. A philosophist perspective is that philosophical changes drive the production of new cultures or cultural changes. This is based on assuming the primacy of the abstract world of thought over the concrete world of experience. The culturologist’s approach to cultural interpretation and social transformation is more in tune with the ascending world culture and global Christianity. The philosophist’s approach is more in tune with the declining Western culture and Christendom. This critical difference helps explain some of the conflict between the missional-incarnational-contextual paradigm and the conventional-attractional-universal pardigm as to what constitutes appropriate strategies and structures for churches in our era.

Continue reading

Willow Creek REVEAL Part 2-Externalizing My Probable Willow Creek Reveal Study Plan

SUMMARY. This post represents a stream-of-consciousness approach to trying to “externalize” my thinking process on why I see certain things as of critical importance in what I examine during my own REVEAL study. It includes a list of issues that a thorough analysis should include, from my perspective as a paradigm/cultural systems analyst and futurist:

  • Content analysis and concrete analysis.
  • Concepts
  • Context
  • Consequences
  • Consistencies
  • Conduct

Continue reading

Willow Creek REVEAL Part 1-Preparing My Own Self-Study on Willow Creek and Reveal

SUMMARY. This post offers my extensive series of questions for preparing to examine Willow Creek’s REVEAL self-study. For me, the key issue is not consumeristic Christian culture, it’s the clash of paradigm systems that underlying various methodological models of “being/doing church.” So, my analysis will be based on evaluating the paradigm and cultural systems that are both assumed and explicit in the REVEAL report. Because of radical changes globally in the dominant paradigm/cultural systems, we as Christians need to understand the times so we can contextualize our methodological model – without giving in (syncretizing) to anti-biblical principles and values in local cultures and while being countercultural without becoming isolated from local cultures. In these endeavors, we cannot leave the task of critical thinking to others; if we are leaders of churches, we are responsible to observe, analyze, and interpret our own cultural context and respond with appropriate contextualization. Leaving all the critical analysis to others and simply importing a model that apparently worked elsewhere is not just inappropriate, it may prove toxic. And so, the REVEAL study warrants a careful look, while acknowledging the courage of Willow Creek leaders to engage in a self-study in an attempt to evaluate the results of their strategies, structures, and methodological model.

Continue reading