November 26, 2007 -Discussing Frederick Hudson: The Adult Years

05:24pm Nov 26, 2007 EST - So much to say, so little space. Here's the short version: The book finds its basic worldview in the philosophy found in the I Ching and is overtly Buddhist in its approach to change management; but the themes have found their way into much of the late 20th century Leadership Literature and pop psychology (You'll hear these themes in Wayne Dyer as readily as Stephen Covey, for instance, or voices as diverse as John Cage and Phillip Pullman in the arts.) I expect I'll have much more to say on this later, but I'll wait for some others to give their take...

It's true that Eastern thought has no corner on change or transcendence, but the issue is for what purpose and for whose sake? I do hear as many echoes of Heraclitus in these pages as I do Lao Tzu. As always, the Christian who wants to integrate any truths from these pages needs to be wary of heavily filtering the underlying worldview.
It is also a parachute book, pointing the way to revitalizing one's interaction with vocation and life in general. A key theme is chaos (the 23rd hexagram of the i ching, by the way, hexagrams are used in divination).Chaos theory offers metaphors for change management that deny any requirement for any external master designer of the cosmos.
(For an intro to chaos theory, read James Gleick). Chaos as a construct fits rather nicely with the postmodern ethos of anti authoritarianism. Makes me think of Marduk, who conquered the lord of primeval chaos, Tiamat. These themes speak to man from antiquity.

Yet God's Truth has a pattern, and some of what Hudson offers can be seen as compatible with a Christian worldview. The primary way in which it can be appropriated by Christians is in its holistic focus on vocation and life, which has biblical precedents. The Bible does not know anything of retirement to the golf course. Again, to be sure, the idea of developmental and transformational forms of adult learning owes something to Aristotelian praxis as much or more that it does to Eastern thought. Reminds me somewhat of Mezirow's perspective transformation processes. In my view human development is was and always shall be linear and cyclical, as the spiral of human life moves both through space and time. By the time Hudson arrives at diagram 7 of the life cycle, it looks like he agrees with this. One cannot separate the life cycle from change. I'll be interested in what else others see as viable, as the Bible is not a Western document, and an exercise in divorcing oneself from western presuppositions can be beneficial.

Question from a friend: "Anthony, I have read a little about quantum physics, and order discovered in fractals. There is an emerging organizational theory based on discoveries in quantum physics - an interesting way to look to the natural for metaphysical understanding. My sense is (like many of the personality theorists) that scientists and philosophers are observing elements of truth, and it is the biblical worldview that provides more complete explanation of natural phenomena... thoughts?"

10:15pm Nov 26, 2007 EST - Chaos basically says that patterns arise out of nature, not because of a designer, but because they are self actualizing. Fractals are seen to be a mathematical instance of this. There are voices being raised in some evolutionist quarters that ‘chaos physics’ will somehow allow the universe to be seen as ‘creative’ of its own complexity in spite of the nasty old Second Law of Thermodynamics (the law of entropy).

A few years ago, director/writer Darren Aronofsky released the film Pi: Faith In Chaos that took Sundance by storm. The notion is hitting the popular culture regularly. Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy is hitting the big screen this month (The Golden Compass) and the science he pulls from includes drawing on string theory and spacetime, quantum physics and chaos theory.

Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy is hitting the big screen this month (The Golden Compass) and the science he pulls from includes drawing on string theory and spacetime, quantum physics and chaos theory.

Remember The Butterfly Effect?There was also a second movie. Disambiguation is a cutting edge notion in organizational theory (well maybe not so cutting edge anymore), and it is proliferating elsewhere.

There are a couple of ways of looking at Genesis 1- the initial chaos and the precreation chaos theories- but however you read it, the Biblical world view holds that God brought cosmos out of chaos, and that God is a God of order (I Cor 14:40). That order is being subjected to decay in this fallen world, but it will be restored ultimately and permanently with the new heaven and new earth. We are new creation, since the process began with the resurrection.

So yes, in answer to your question, I think observations are being made, but wrong conclusions are proliferating for the simple reason that it is presupposed that the supernatural is impossible- there is no God. So we end up with another lofty argument that must be taken down. 2 Cor 10.

11-28-07 Another side of Order from chaos: Beliefs beget policies

It's a cliché, but if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Beliefs beget policies in practical terms. It has been observed that most policy arises reactively from the rubble of failure to plan for contingencies. That's understandable since human beings can find unbelieveably creative ways to break things, and nobody is prescient.. The intial source of much needed policy can be extracted directly from the New Testament epistles addressing policy issues in the ancient church, but contexts need to be considered. That's at the macro level, but following the beliefs to their logical conclusions can aid in anticipating problems at the micro level and solving them in advance.

Finally, policies must be followed and enforced to make any difference. while they should not be a straightjacket for quenching ministry, they should impose order on chaos that comes when one fails to plan. I have been told that one of my gifts is in anticipating problems before they happen based on observation of the situation. It takes time and discernment to do this. Leaders have to study the nuances of how to order their stewardship of the environment God places them in. God is a God of order- 1 Corinthians 14:40 speaks in a context of the administration of Spiritual Gifts, but I think by inference it attains in this discussion as well.

Recent posts on Educational theory

07:53pm Nov 29, 2007 EST -

On Destiny informing Education and Hudson's The Adult Years- Mastering the Art of Self Renewal

I do believe there can be joy in the journey, to quote Frederick Buechner. But the destination is primary, not the wandering in the wilderness or even the pressing toward the mark, finishing the race, whatever metaphor you choose. We who are the parapedemoi (1 Peter 1:2) have a city with foundations as our destiny, and destiny is completely missing from this book.

Like so many people that I find myself ministering to, my life bears very little resemblance to Hudson's categories, which seem to typify a certain bourgeois view of successful living. I had a five year stint in my Midian where God reshaped my concept of trust and success and failure along the way that turned the predictable cycles into so much clay that could be reformed at the potter's wheel of life. No way to plan for falling headlong onto grace. If we know we cannot put God in a box, why should we expect to so relegate the imago Dei?

I collect old hymnals and camp meeting songbooks from the 19th century. Perhaps the focus on the life to come in those old songs may have lapsed into pie in the sky, bye and bye, when I die or when I fly at some points, but it is more to the biblical point than what neat definitions and convenient categories Hudson offers can afford. I believe there is a developmental aspect to life, but not so predictable as we might want in our fallen state. We crave to be satiated in our own desire for nice neat categories. Reminds me of Lewis's metaphor of preferring making mudpies to a day at the beach.

Our hope is viable in the present tense but it is eschatological as well, and it is the ending that gives the journey meaning. I was especially interested to see Hudson's (non) resolution of human destiny into mystery. He wants his cake and eat it too. We proclaim the mystery of faith, indeed, but Hudson's faith in mystery is a non sequitur.As Rich Mullins sang, when I leave I wanna go out like Elijah...but of and through and to the Glory of God.

DISCUSSIONS - 07:26pm Nov 29, 2007 EST - Planning for a Long Life? I know we cannot be presumptuous about how long our years on this Earth might be. By God's grace , if I linger, I want to be viable and productive as long as I am here. That is why Earnie and I started this journey as I was closing in on the half century mark. It is a question of stewardship like none other- stewardship of oneself and the image of God the individual bears, but of our viability for service as a family unit as well. Reading Piper's Don't Waste Your Life" and Os Guinness's the Call cemented our resolve to do something about it.

Re.: Old teaching young: I have had the privilege of having pastors come to me in search of a mentor-figure. I do not buy into what passes for mentoring in much of the literature in the subject ( I think the bibllical concept of discipleship covers the bases in a more biblical fashion) as the concept is fraught with complications imposed by a worldly perspective.

Re.: Stratification and individuation in the Body

The stratification of the Body of Christ is indeed disturbing to me- it is hard to find a non-age or interest group specific small group, for instance. But beyond stratification- the contemporary evangelical focus on the individual is more disturbing. Mark is right- the biblical focus is on the corporate body and community, and the contemporary church, with Baptists leading the way, has turned the corporate concept of the priesthood of all believers into an interior and individual construct to the detriment of the corporate nature of the Body.

News from the Cutting Edge of Education- Technologies and Pedagogies :I monitor several newsleters on ducation and these were culled from them this month- particularly from Online Learnin Update.Here are some highlights for my cohort in paticular:

80% Of Young Adults Say They Would Choose to Go Back to School Online - Finance Visor

Traditional Objections Subside as Knowledge of Benefits Increase: Six out of ten Americans say that if they had to go back to school at some point, they'd be interested in doing it online, according to new research released by 80% of young adults ages 18 - 24 indicating they would be interested.

When Wikipedia Is the Assignment - Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed

Wikipedia: time-saver for students, bane of professors everywhere. Or is it?


USC Unveils YouTube Channel - California Chronicle

The University of Southern California has established an institutional online learning Channel on YouTube as part of an ambitious program to expand its capabilities in technology-enhanced learning and distance learning.

Online degrees surging: Nationwide: 1 in 5 students are enrolled in an online course - Brian Morelli, Iowa City Press-Citizen

Online enrollment is up 800 percent since 2003 and up 25 percent since 2007.

Online Learning Grows More Popular - Tom Regan, Axcess News

The use of Skype, an Internet-based phone service, for example has enhanced the teaching of foreign languages online.

Web Site Offers Global Collaboration on Educational Resources - Jeffrey Thoma, USINFO

A Web site that provides free access to school curricula developed through collaboration by a community of educators has won a prestigious international award. Curriki: The Global Education and Learning Community

Students tell universities: Get out of MySpace! - Stephen Hoare, the Guardian

Teaching Collaborative Revision with Google Docs-The sharing features of Google Docs enable students to decide exactly who can access and edit documents.

Online Learning Goes the Distance - Megan Potte, Cornell Daily Sun

Over 3.5 million students at universities across the country took an online course last fall, according to a recent survey by the Babson Survey Research Group.

Studywiz for iPhone - Jonny Evans, MacWorld

Commons 2.0: Library Spaces Designed for Collaborative Learning - Bryan Sinclair, Educause Quarterly

National Survey of Student Engagement

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) documents dimensions of quality in undergraduate education.

Now on Web, Yale classroom open to public - Ruth Kim, Yale Daily News

Second Life was a big topic at the SLOAN-C Conference. Here are three articles.
Explore the new frontier of virtual worlds in Second Life - Penn State

Making Second Life More Like Real Life - Hiroko Tabuchi, Top Tech News Students Look To Second Life - New Zeland Petone Herald

Places to Go: Facebook - Stephen Downes, Innovate

Facebook is distinctive because of its stronger roots in the academic community.

IBM/University Collaboration To Develop Open-Source Accessibility Tools - David Nagel, Campus Technology

How to take a course at MIT free -- at home - Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Census of Institutional Repositories in the U.S. - Soo Young Rieh,et al; D-Lib Magazine

Podcasting on a Shoestring - Linda L Briggs, Campus Technology

Virtual Eve: first in human computer interaction - Massey University



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