This presentation - 2 levels Local congregation and minister/ ministry teams Church as an organisation/ theological education
Local church Exilic period one of great change and clash of cultures. Things are DIRE. Prophetic message: Accept it, settle down, live as normal people, contribute to the society and needs around you. NO instant solutions. No strategies to make it other than it is. Humble/ modest. Grandiosity is over. Take the long term view. Future generations will benefit from your fruit. This clash of worldviews is ours for now. Hinge generation.
Relief! Shrink. Give up notions of outward ‘success’ So, as a leader, what is important to you? What is your story? Your core values? What do you have at the centre of your being that you would like to share with others? (this is NOT about church growth, success or any kind of return to grandiosity) How can you listen and relate to others to include them? Will your story grow to allow them in? Can they bring their story too? AUTHENTICITY and LOVE
Love is the accurate estimation and supply of another’s need. That means we see others without imposing our agenda upon them (which can often defensive and about putting ourselves in the ’saviour’ position.) Is the gospel able to defend itself? This is an invitation to LIVE as the ‘hidden person of the heart’ – your true self, not a clergy persona. Not easy to do as ministers live in forest of expectations and projections. So, brazen it out!
Oh and… Make your services as rich as possible. Allow silence. Preaching. Provide teaching but don’t feel you always have to give the ‘right answer’. State your own position and why (back it up). Provide an array of other positions, provide the analytic tools for people to make their own assessments.
Church as an organisation Theological education Continuing ministerial education Change how we think (not so much a focus on what we think or what we do). Start to dissolve our side of the false binary of worldview clash ££ How to find the money for augmenting education? PRIORITISE.
Clash of worldviews Christian worldview vs Post-Christian worldview Results from various “over-claimings” The inflated claims of physicalism-(“nothing but” …. Genes, matter, neuron, secularism … inflated claims of New Atheists Versus “ONLY WE HAVE THE TRUTH” The way we come across is to deny any shadow in ourselves and any good in the other/ secular world
We have a theology of Church but this is not at all integrated with a theology of the secular world (finding God and the influence of the gospel in the world ‘out there’) We are loathe to publically accept the Church’s ‘shadow’. Good/bad insufficient– an emergent property – the social-psychological- spiritual collective POWER- for good and for ill. We don’t ‘ring true’ to non-Christians
Clash of theological orientations Conservative and liberal moral reasoning (Savage 2008)
Crisis of knowledge Only one text is true This text can talk to and with other texts
Integrative Complexity (Suedfeld et al 2003, 2006) Low IC sees the world in black and white, ‘us and them’, right vs. wrong categories Low IC predicts violent conflict between groups, worldviews
Proposed neurological underpinnings: Limbic response to perceived threat --> Low IC, cognitive constriction (Limbic system has only basic categories such as ingroup and outgroup). Neo cortex– able to process complex information – potential for higher IC. Both R and L hemispheres needed for wider attention to the social world needed for higher IC.
A clash between two worldviews or group identities is underpinned by values in tension. Both parties’ thinking becomes simplified around one value, screening out the other’s point of view
Value complexity enables thinking to become more complex; opposing viewpoints can be Integrated, trade-offs negotiated, without losing key values = higher IC. (integrative complexity)
We need to build in the potential for religious development into everyday ministry. The journey of IC is similar to religious development (Ricoeur, St Paul) Religious development means we see things in new ways as we progress through life
High IC sees the big picture, multiple viewpoints (Step 1 - differentiation) 22
Step 2 of IC - integration finding links, wider framework, without dissolving difference
Some fruitful dialogue partners Science and religion (McGrath, Polkinghorne, Watts) Psychology, pastoral theology, spirituality (Watts, Savage) Social psychology and church as ‘system’ (Savage) Theological anthropology and neuroscience (Savage)
LEFT Hemisphere: Uses Complex Language Rational thinking Focused attention for a purpose ‘The way I think is correct!’ RIGHT Hemisphere: Gets information from body and senses Thinking linked with feeling and values Broad attention paid to real life as it is ‘Open to new ideas!’
Frontal cortex (esp right pre-frontal cortex) Sense of ‘I’ Sense of ‘You’ Moral responsibility Hind brain: Automatic processing Very powerful!
References Savage, S. (2011) Joseph: insights for the spiritual journey, SPCK, London Savage, S (2011) Four Lessons from the Study of Fundamentalism and Psychology of Religion. Journal of Strategic Security Volume 4 Issue 4 2011, pp. 131-150. Savage, S & Boyd-MacMillan, E (2010) Conflict in Relationships: understand it, overcome it, Oxford: Lion/ Hudson Publishers.
Savage, S (2008) Towards integrative solutions to moral disputes between conservative and liberal Christians, The Journal of Psychology and Christianity (special edition 2008). Savage, S & Boyd-Macmillan E (2007), The Human Face of Church: a social psychology and pastoral theology resource for pioneer and traditional ministry, London: SCM- Canterbury Press. Savage, S, Mayo-Collins, S, & Mayo, B, (2006) Making sense of Generation Y: the world view of 15-26 year olds, London: Church House Publishing
Watts, F, Nye, R & Savage, S (2002) Psychology for Christian Ministry, London: Routledge Savage, S (2006) On the Analyst’s Couch: Psychological perspectives on clergy and congregations'. In Steve Croft (ed.) The Future of the Parish System, London: Church House Publishing. Savage, S (2006) Healing Encounters. In Fraser Watts (ed.) Jesus & Psychology, London: Darton, Longmann & Todd.
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