Five Directions


In his book, Thank God for Evolution:  How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World, Michael Dowd suggest that the Universe has moved in five general directions since the beginning of time. His thesis is offered here as "food for thought" to consider whether there are implications for the direction of human society and the church:

  1. Greater diversity.  As life has developed, for example, the various forms of life have expanded.  Our mobile, interactive society is experiencing a growing number of "special interest" groups and a growing diversity within groups.  This is true for religious groups such as the church.  Perhaps this means we must provide a greater variety of ways people can exercise generosity and stewardship.

  2. Greater complexity.  For example:  "from atoms to molecules to cells to organisms to multicellular organisms ... to democracies, satellite telecommunications, and the Internet."  We experience growing complexity in the workplace, in family relationships, and certainly in the church.  It is increasingly more challenging to be a pastor, a leader of worship, an administrator of church facilities or finance, etc.  Today's world demands of the church financial accountability and proficiency.

  3. Greater awareness.  "Humans living today are collectively aware of more than what humans living a few hundred years ago could have possibly known, before the advent of orbiting telescopes and electron microscopes."  People are exposed to excellence in communications, so we expect church communications to be excellent.  We are more aware of great things that other churches are doing, and this raises our level of expectation.  There is an increasing expectation of transparency and integrity.  The church has many communication tools at our disposal.  Is our message true, accurate, clear, consistent, relevant, timely and timeless?

  4. Greater speed of change.  Says Dowd, "Each advance happens faster and opens the way for the next breakthrough to happen even faster.  Don't expect things to slow down.  Greater speed of change is intrinsic to this evolving Universe.  That doesn't mean, of course, that we can't lead peaceful, centered lives.  It is possible to have peace of mind in the midst of enormous and fast-paced change."  Sometimes the church has been a catalyst of change.  Sometimes the church has resisted change. 

  5. Greater intimacy with itself.  "It is now through the human that the Universe awakens to its wholeness and to the wonder of existence."  This may be a dimension of #3, a greater self-awareness.  The church is a community that celebrates wonder, majesty, awe, and mystery. 

- Ted Leach