Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rules of Change

Three things/thoughts I'm (re)learning:
  1. change comes from connections, from interactions and interconnections, not interventions; change happens when we interact differently with the expectations or patterns that govern our relationships; change happens when we rearrange our relationships, when we re-imagine the rules that shape and structure our sense of reality; in short, things change when we change.
  2. change can come from the least expected of places and the least expected of people; change is not certain or predictable; and, if change can come from the most surprising of people and places, then its direction and its impact can be equally surprising; when it comes to change we’re not in a place of certitude or control; we have to learn be open to chaos, emergence, questions and questioning, paradox, and surprise; we have to stay open to learning, stay teachable. The change guru Eric Young jokes: “We (can only) know two things with absolute certainty: (1) that in twenty years, even ten, our world will look very different, and (2) that the decisions and actions we take today will significantly shape our emergent future. However, we can have no certainty about what the future will be. It is not a good time for control freaks.” Similarly, Rusty and Joanna Pritchard, a couple who fled the comfy green lawns and picket fences of suburbia and intentionally moved into the concrete jungle of the inner city to try and change something of the direction of its harshest neighborhoods, say this: “What convinced us to give it a try? Quite simply... we couldn’t do anything else. We’d been involved in social justice ministries in ‘client/provider’ relationships and found it very unsatisfying. We wanted to be part of a community and learn from people who were trying to live out the gospel of Christ with their whole lives, even if it didn’t make a difference on the ground. Nobody in our group thinks we’ve arrived at answers, just that we’ve joined a community that keeps us asking the right questions.” change happens when we ask the right questions... what or who says it always has to be like this? what or who says this in the only possible reality?
  3. change comes from the imagination and practice of newness.
These comments and insights into the nature of change come from Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Quinn Patton, 2006, Getting to Maybe. It's a good read.

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