adrienne maree brown (and yes, her name is spelled with all lowercase letters) is one of my teachers; an author I read and follow on Facebook and Instagram and all the rest. In her book Emergent Strategy, she says:
“Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions.”1 It is another way of speaking about the connective tissue of all that exists—the way, the Tao, the force, change, God/dess, life.
Many of us have been socialized to understand that constant growth, violent competition, and critical mass are the ways to create change. But emergence shows us that adaptation and evolution depend more upon critical, deep, and authentic connections, a thread that can be tugged for support and resilience.
An article in ColorLines offers three takeaways from Emergent Strategy:
- Collaboration is the Cornerstone
- Embracing Change is a Non-Negotiable
- We Must Let Go of the Status Quo
Here’s a little something from the book for us all to try:
I keep returning to these questions, that’s for sure.
Becoming more emergent certainly applies to how we “do church,” and it applies to co-creating a world we dream about. It also applies to theology and how we make meaning of life. In the dynamic collaboration among people with a shared intention of values and justice, something unexpected is possible. Our theologies are not just individual credos, they interact to create more love, more justice, more beauty. And some might just view that as divine!
This month, I’m doing a four-week sermon series on theological questions that face us today. Let’s explore and observe what emerges!
- Nick Obolensky, Complex Adaptive Leadership: Embracing Paradox and Uncertainty (Burlington, VT: Gower, 2014).