Sunday, July 8, 2012
The National Convention has gathered, and we are probing into the future of the Episcopal Church. It appears that there is the growing realization that the Episcopal community is in a state of chaos. Yes, it is in chaos , but it has from concepton been on the edge of chaos.
Indeed, the modern science of complexity and chaos theory teaches that any interconnected process always exists in a state of chaos seeking stability. People educated in western theology find it difficult to observe reality in terms of the science of chaos. The theological culture believes that God gives us a proper view of reality based on an all knowing, powerful and loving Being. The church, therefore, is designed to bring the God message of stability to a fallen world. It is a typical western Platonic metaphysics. Whereas, chaos theory is another expression of a process metaphysics.
Chaos refers to an underlying interconnectdness that exists in apparently random events. Chaos science focuses on hidden patterns, nuance, the sensitivity of things and the rules for how the unpredictable leads to the new.
If there is one thing, we can predict it is that randomnicty is the fundamental driving force of the universe. God has created a world of chance events, where we must live in a constant state of adjusting and moving with the chaos of randomnicity. Consequently, every material, social and individual phenomena always exists in a state of chaos seeking constantly throughout the evolutionary process to maintain stability. Chaos theory holds that chaotic systems lie beyond all our attempts to predict, manipulate and control. Instead of resisting life's uncertainties, we must embrace them, go with the flow and become creative.
The Episcopal church cannot escape the laws of choas. We are presetly in a state of high chaos that will lead to implosion. Unless we engage in a creative deconstruction and reconstruction of the organization. It is the high state of chaos and possible implosion of the Episcopal institution that is causing a current of anxiety at our National convention and thoughout every diocese and parish in the country.
In terms of chaos science, I suggest that the Episcopal Church led by the House of Bishops has become a Limit-Cycle system. A system, when faced with high chaos, cuts itself off from the flux of the external world because it targets its internal energy to resisting change and maintaining relatively rigid and mechanical behaviors. When we attempt to control or overpower limit cycle dominated systems, we end up reinforcing the cycle of increasing chaos. The result is the system becomes power obsessed and implodes.
There is one way out of this cycle, and it is creativity. However, creativity can never come from the top of a system that is locked into limit-cycle management. It must come from the Trickster figures who show how creativity can overcome over whelming odds. Tricksters see beyond the limits of the system and bend the rules. The Tricksters make rigid organizations and hierarchial churches uneasy. However, it is such limit-cycle organizations that need them most.
I think I have defined an important new role dedicated to the realistic survival of the Episcopal community; it is the Celtic Trickster. I wonder if there where any really dedicated Tricksters at the convention. We have a House of Deputies. Why not have a House of Trickters?