What’s happening to us?


     If you haven’t noticed, the Western world is in the midst of another paradigm shift. This time from a modern, scientifically verifiable facts, to a  postmodernpostChristian view of reality that is not related to facts or history or consents to “Ultimate Truth.” They say there is no such thing. How can they know that?

     Of course, I truly hope the people who designed this 737, and those that built it, were not so inclined but adhered to the laws of physics and flight…, especially the landing part.

     Most of us live in a world that relies on the dependability of continuous change; that is, new things are usually predicated on earlier ideas or inventions. But in a paradigm shift we experience an occurrence of discontinuous change. The NEW things are not connected to the past in any way. The automobile had as much to do with horse transportation as our smart phones have to do with landlines.

     The expressions of the Christian faith are going through a time of discontinuous change in our society. Although we hear many Christians cry for the old-ways of the liturgical calendar and liturgical worship, the fact remains that the format of faith constructed in the 400s or 1700s is not designed to face the assaults of this postChristian sensibility in which we life.

     Still, other Christians today, decry the loss of our “old-time religion.” They tell us that today’s contemporary worship service, with its culturally affinitive music and come-as-you-are mentality is nearing its end. Really?!? Oddly, Paul in his missionary journeys never considered NOT adapting his style or methodology to each new situation. Read Acts! Read Paul’s Letters! Nor did the earliest missionaries to the Far East, or to the Vikings.

     The Christian message should always couched in the idioms and formats of the host culture. When we try to import 17th century European Christianity to other cultures if always backfires. And that includes the postmodern/postChristian landscape in which we find ourselves today.

     There was nothing particularly sacred about the 100s–400s. Although a lot of Christian beliefs and practices were established in that period. Nor was there anything sacred about the 17th century. Why do we constantly try to return to their expressions of faith as if they had something we do not!?!

     We have the privilege of formulating new, multifaceted expressions of our faith for this time, our peoples, and for a world more closely woven together. Let’s get at it!

Honor God, honor people…, make a difference,

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT disruptions & tenacity—  pass on, not out.


EmPulse for Week of March 8, 2010


Remember the ‘60s with images of flying cars, jet-packs, and Buck Rogers? OK, remember Woodstock? OK, how about Ronald Reagan’s “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”, George H W Bush’s “a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky?” The Doors, Motley Cru, the Beatles, Sting, Cindy Lauper, Madonna? (Forget the Chad Mitchell Trio, Peter, Paul & Mary, the Everly Brothers, & Elvis…, OK, maybe not Elvis.) We might remember “Ask not what your country can do for you: ask what you can do for your country.” (JFK). Although I prefer Reagan’s description of the most terrifying words in the English language— “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” (SEC Speech— Remarks before the Investment Advisor Association.) And there are few who do not recall exactly what they were doing on 09/11/01.

Some of us learn from the past. It is very wise to learn from the past. “If we do not learn from history we are bound to repeat her mistakes.” Obviously, we have not quite learned our lessons; we assume continuous change when what is upon us is discontinuous change. The shape of war has changed: the philosophy of cars, unfortunately, has not. The idea of relationships is changing: for example, we believe that the divorce rate is declining, when, in fact, people just aren’t bothering with marriage. Go figure. We need to learn from the patterns of history in order to prepare the formats of our future.

Sadly though, other people return to the past to be safe. The “good ‘ol days,” “apple pie, mom, & sittin’ on the porch.” The reality is more like a bunch of good ‘ol boys with some really bad memory. If we look at any era of history, ANY era, it wasn’t all that good. Check out Time Tables of History. Look up any era, or year. At any given moment some part of our world was at war with another part, some natural disaster was taking place, or some catastrophe was befalling someone. Seeking safety in the past is not only a bad idea, it is a delusion. It is one thing to decorate your home in an early American motif: it is quite another to re-institute societal mores and institutional traditions & practices merely to project a veneer that things are still the same, that you are still safe in the shelter of a former time. But you are not safe—you are living in a fabricated reality that will come crashing down around you with little mercy.

Thus are we forced to face an uncertain future of discontinuous change, encountering situations that have no previous precedent, with little history to draw upon for discernment or direction in

making a decision. Flying cars never quite made it, speeding mono-rails are just breaking into our main-stream, and, thankfully, jet-packs have yet to burn the feet off of anyone. But we do have cell phones, the WorldWideWeb, with access to information never before imagined, heart replacements, artificial limbs, a Black President, and teenage babysitters instead of nannies (granted, charging $10.50 an hour). With change upon us, do we have any other option but to adapt, attack the difficulties, and advance to claim the ground for the betterment of society?

So let me leave you with some questions—

  • Where do you need to give up some old delusions and adapt to some new realities?
  • What scares you the most about our future? Where can you get help to face the foundations of those fears?
  • What would it take for YOU to make a difference in the world that is upon us?

Don’t you just hate emPulse sometimes!?!

Have a nice week.