Law of Requisite Variety  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

I was reading a brilliant blog site's recent article, which mentioned something in the world of cybernetics known as "The Law of Requisite Variety," which is: the survival of any living system depends upon its capacity to cultivate (not just tolerate) adaptability and diversity in its internal structure...failure results in the inability to cope successfully with variety that is introduced by external sources.

The sparked a moment of convergence with another string of thoughts/observations...

  • Parker Palmer wrote a little book addressing leadership, and in it he challenged readers to take the Ortberg "Shadow Mission" principle a little further and vulnerable ask what fears or ills may be driving (and limiting) the way in which you lead. One striking example, was when the "fear of death" in a leader that drives us to keep and demand programs, projects, ideas and ways of doings things kept alive well beyond their shelf life...afraid that in turning the page of history and letting something once great die, in some way we die with it. It's a very human feeling, but it hurts our leadership - it's flesh constricting Spirit with a well-justified package.

  • I heard a leader of a very successful organization, when invited to a leadership development opportunity, retort, "Why would I look outside of my own team of people for ideas on how to lead better?"

  • A stud of the faith, Oswald Chambers, once advised, "Don't make a fetish of your own convictions." Ouch. Os just says so many wise things...

  • I saw a church whose aim was to be a "refuge" against the world...far cry from prevailing upon the world around it!

  • I've sensed that in the spirit of "taking a stand" for or against things, often times what we as Christ-followers settle for is a game of "cultural isotonic recovery" - trying to "hold the line" of a culture war in tension, instead of radically, pervasively, relevantly bursting the membrane of tolerable cease-fire in a way that transforms the landscape from the soul level

  • Spoke with a retired youth pastor who shared how back in the day he'd tell large groups of youth that listening to Keith Green and his "wild rock and roll" was terrible and something to be opposed to protect our culture. Ten years later he changed his mind and began fighting against the next change the represented unknown.

  • Chrysalis is a great picture of the stages, seasons of God's work both in a person on the journey in Christ as well as communities

As a community we're about to blaze into a year of faith as we seek to know what it means to be ONE in a fully alive way. So ONE with the Father God that that ONEness testifies to the love of the Father for all people and draws them into a new identity and wholeness with Christ. The grass withers, flowers fade...but the Word of our Lord lasts forever...

What changes will we have to be open to in our sold-out pursuit of ONEness? What things that we've "always done this way" might need to adapt/morph or even "die" to free us up to be fully alive in Christ tomorrow and fully available for His initiatives through us?

This entry was posted at Monday, December 22, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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