Adaptablity is the name of the game, as the world gets back on track.

Lessons from Covid 19 #11

Events such as Covid-19 have had many well-documented effects on day-to-day life and raised both questions and conclusions about what may come next. The Globe and Mail newspaper in the Saturday May 16,2020 edition is mainly devoted to the “46 ways our world is about to change: a definitive guide to the post pandemic future.”

It’s a long way from the dawn of history and the Garden of Eden, through the birth of the Church, to the novel Coronavirus pandemic of 2020. This 1973 song catches the spirit of struggle between what sometimes seems to be the equally feckless sides of the political spectrum. 

“Clowns to the left of me, jokers on the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.” Stealers Wheel, 1973

We are working towards the model that can be utilized by left and right politically orientated people and institutions. In the same way that you utilize it as either Liberal or Conservative, Republican or Democrat, or Conservative or Labour in England, you could belong to a party and still play a musical instrument in the orchestra or be a member of a hospital staff. 

But we are not really stuck in this story. It is more of a taking stock of ground covered and ground still to go.

If you have followed to this point of the journey, we are into the second half and will soon get to #19 for Covid19. If you are just joining us now, we spent the first 10 reports on the story of how things should be in the world, how they have gone wrong, and how they best can be restored, maintained and advanced in the future. 

Using Covid19, we can see an extended event demonstrating that things have gone wrong in many ways. From this vantage point, this series looks back at how we got here, and how we should change going forward.

Each of us are sojourners, beings that can be considered Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). We have expanded on the knowledge that each of the trillions of cells that make up our individual  bodies are CAS, and are in turn combined into our organ systems as even more elaborate CAS’s.

The Body of Christ is described in terms of being a physical body and so by inference, a CAS also.  So, we have taken the leap from considering just the natural world as an amazing interwoven tapestry of CAS’s, into the organizing idea that our organizations, governments, social structures are CAS’s also. 

If the corporate church organizational model is also a prototype for other  CAS’s, including social structures and international organizations, the features of the original church organization may guide us now.   

But, if everything worked smoothly as an adaptive system, we should be all doing very well individually and collectively. Claims that this is possible promise a Utopian world, but Utopian schemes in human affairs have tended to end up as Dystopian. 

We know that since the early days of the Church, right up to the present, there have many distressing ideas leading to evil actions by churches, other religious groups, and also political systems and governments based on an atheistic worldview.

Scripture weighs in on this frustrating tendency. Things started well:

“Let us make man in our image,” and God “saw that it was very good.”  (Genesis 1:26)

Our first collaborative team, Adam and Eve, were deceived, started bickering with God, and blamed each other for what went wrong. A while later:

“The Lord saw ...that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.” (Genesis 6: 9-10)

And long after the resulting great flood, it was noted still that:

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can understand it.” (Jeremiah 17:9)

And :

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”(Proverbs 14:12)

And Paul was not placing Christians above anyone else in the early church when he noted that:

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

So, how can we hope that a Scriptural guide to managing pandemics, the climate, and the economy in 2020, is not just another organizational chart open to abuse and misuse? Won’t it just be another tool that individuals and governments, and various groups can bend to their own personal agendas? 

And as the complexities of life are ever more apparent seen through the lens of Covid-19, how will a redesigned system help replace self-interest with concerns for the other, and begin to reduce the negative unintended results of well-intentioned actions?

Our next step on the journey is looking at how Scripture begins to describe how connections are made within the human body and the church corporate body, giving clues as to why some of our organizational structures fail, while others have a more promising and hopeful application. 

The connections part is key to the quality of adaptability, seen in complex adaptive systems. Adaptability is the name of the game right now as collaboration, compromise, and new ways of doing things during Covid-19 are widespread as the world tries to get back on track again.

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