Tuesday, September 6, 2005

The Edge of Discipleship

I am such a book nerd. I read all kinds of theology, church history, and practical theology books for my own understanding and research, and when I want to relax, one of my favourite things is... reading a book (often from my Bloom County collection).

One of my favourite diversionary writers is Michael Crichton, and I found a great quote in The Lost World (the sequel to Jurrasic Park) regarding chaos theory that I thought would fit into our larger discussion of discipleship, the shepherding movement, etc. (Yes, even when reading a science fiction novel for recreation, ideas surrounding leadership surface.)

Here's the quote:
"Complex systems tend to locate themselves at a place we call 'the edge of chaos'. We imagine the edge of chaos as a place where there is enough innovation to keep a living system vibrant, and enough stability to keep it from collapsing into anarchy.

"It is a zone of conflict and upheaval, where the old and the new are constantly at war.

"Finding the balance point must be delicate -- if a living system drifts too close, it risks falling over into incoherence and dissolution; but if the system moves too far away from the edge, it becomes rigid, frozen, totalitarian. Both conditions lead to extinction.

"Too much change is as destructive as too little. Only at the edge of chaos can complex systems flourish." (emphasis added)