We seem to be attracted to communicating these days with lists of a certain number of memorable, single-word tenets. If you’re active on social media you’re exposed daily, to 7 reasons …, 8 ways …, 22 best …, etc. Sir Ken Robinson, educationalist, is known for his suggestions of how we develop new skill-sets to meet the challenges of this 21st century. Robinson recently suggested four C-words that might deserve our attention in our endeavors to be a church for a broken world: creativity, compassion, composure, and collaboration. The four might even be a simple tool to audit our effectiveness in carrying out Christ’s commission.
As the fruit of imagination, creativity is the capacity for new thinking. This culture looks to the church for the preservation of immutable ideas but they beg us to find ways to apply those ideas in ways that relate to their daily concerns for living in the 21st century. The world is crying for fresh thinking.
It’s certainly “our word” as we follow our Lord. Compassion is rooted in empathy. It’s our ability to see from another’s point of view, to “walk in their shoes” in order to see the world as others see it. Compassion will temper the interchange between persons of disparate views.
In this very complex world many people find themselves off balance in a variety of ways. While not endorsing a particular spiritual perspective, Robinson points to a spiritual deficit in the lives of many. A recent report by the World Health Organization asserts that “by the year 2020 depression will be the second largest cause of disability in human populations.” It’s reassuring to see the church responding in this area of opportunity to support healing of the mind.
Collaboration – We live in systems that have become based more and more on competition, win-win, and individualism. If we are not careful, even within the church we can be unwittingly drawn into a competitive mode: to attract the most, sign up the most, raise the most, and so on. There can be a place for appropriate competition but there’s a much more important place for collaboration. When we face common challenges we’re more likely to solve them if we work together. We’ve been saying lately, “We’re better together.”