Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Worldview & Vision: Part 2: A Volatile Combination

The popular "visioning" process that churches are going through these days is actually a way to transform the "worldview" of the people in the pews.

Herescope noted in yesterday's post that "Worldview" is a tool by which the Church can be put through a Transition process -- with the ultimate goal of attaining total Transformation. Today's post is very important for understanding precisely how this process works. If you happen to believe that "worldview" is simply a benign word that has to do with a person's viewpoint on the Bible, politics, Republicans and the religious Right in America -- read on. . . .

Yesterday's Herescope examined Part 1 of an article by T.M. Moore of the Wilberforce Forum division of Chuck Colson's ministries. Today's post begins a review of Part 2 [;].

Part 2 of Moore's article begins by examining the Worldview present in modern American education and the fine arts. This section of the article few evangelicals would disagree with, in that a "crisis" with these two areas of society is stated in fairly factual terms from a Christian Right perspective. The solution to these crises, however, is that church leaders must develop a comprehensive and unified "vision" for the future. This "vision" encompasses not only the Church but all of Society.

How "Vision" is used to facilitate Transition

Moore acknowledges that the "concept of vision" has a "role in personal and institutional development. . . in shaping the future." Moore believes that it is necessary to define this term for "maximum benefit among evangelical churches." His definition of Vision is:

"By vision we may understand a view of reality as it is and as we believe it will be. A vision is normally described in a vision statement, which becomes the basis for establishing the mission, practices, and operating systems that are necessary for vision realization within an organization." [emphasis added]

Note that this definition of Vision hinges upon what people believe to be reality. This in itself automatically throws the entire Worldview formation process into Transition. "What is reality" is up for grabs. This isn't a biblical question; one has just left the position of Absolute Truth. What is "real" to you may not be "real" to me. This is subjective.

Moore continues:

". . . [V]ision provides a view of reality as it is. It seeks to give an account of the way things are, to provide “insight into the way the world works.” [16] Statements of vision should be regarded as attempts to describe a model of reality. [17] Visions can thus be disruptive, as they tend to challenge people’s cherished assumptions about the way things are to help them see reality more clearly and according to a different framework." [emphasis added]

This is another Transitional statement. Moore states that these "Visions" are going to "challenge people's cherished assumptions." "Vision" statements are usually concocted in orchestrated consensus meetings, in which foregone conclusions move people from Tradition towards Transition. During the Transition process, people normally are challenged to leave Tradition. Their "cherished assumptions" are supposed to be abandoned in order to acquire new ideas, beliefs, opinions, attitudes and values. The footnotes in the paragraph quoted above have been left in because footnote 17 is a reference to Thomas Kuhn's book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions which was explained yesterday (and in previous Herescope posts).

It isn't just Thomas Kuhn that Moore cites authoritatively, without any qualifying statements, in his article and his footnotes. A quick run-down of the footnotes in this article, outside of the expected neoconservative and evangelical Right sources, includes a few names of note:

1. Peter Senge, the New Age business guru who wrote The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization;

2. Michio Kaku (who was quoted in yesterday's Herescope excerpt), a New Age physicist with theories so wacky that he has appeared on Art Bell's radio show and shown up at conferences that included Barbara Marx Hubbard;

3. Jim Collins, another business guru who is very popular in evangelical leadership circles, who has authored Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

Moore continues to assert that this Vision must be grounded "in ardent passion, present need or opportunity, a sense of urgency or necessity, or the good intentions of a charismatic leader is not likely to persuade people to alter their own perceptions about the way things are." [emphasis added] Again, it is quite clear that this Worldview "Vision" process relies upon the social scientists' formula for creating a crisis (need) and then proposing a solution that requires a change in perception (viewing, vision).

Stop and ask the obvious ethical questions: Why is it necessary for a charismatic leader to persuade people to alter their perceptions? Why must passion, need, opportunity, necessity or urgency be invoked in order for a Christian to determine his or her Worldview? Obviously these things are designed to evoke emotive responses, which then shifts people into a Transition mode. Elsewhere Moore indicates that this job belongs to leaders: "leaders begin the work of fashioning or refashioning vision statements."

Moore's Worldview includes a "vision of a renewed social order." Moore says that in a "vision of a renewed social order, the vision must seek to encompass everything from the nature of humankind and the way knowledge is acquired and disseminated, to the social processes, traditions, and institutions by which a society defines itself, to the symbols used to reinforce and transmit that self-understanding to other societies and to future generations." [emphasis added]

This is obviously all-encompassing. It isn't just about church. This "vision" is about re-shaping Society.

Moore also indicates that this Worldview must be futuristic. Earlier Herescopes have focused on the role of futurists in influencing key evangelical leaders. The futurists believe that they can envision "alternative" future scenarios for the planet, and thereby create them. Likewise, evangelical futurists believe that they can create (envision) alternative biblical scenarios by creating new eschatologies that bypass end-time prophecies. This next quotation indicates how pervasive this futurist mindset (worldview!) has now become in evangelical leadership circles today:

"Visions are necessarily focused on the future. A vision “is a clear mental image of a preferable future.” It seeks to tell “stories about the way the world might turn out,” to describe “the way things could or should be in the days ahead”, or to create “an emerging consensus” concerning the future state of things. As Peter Schwartz puts it, using the language of “scenarios,” “The purpose of scenarios is to help yourself change your view of reality—to match it more and more closely with reality as it is, and reality as it is going to be.” [emphasis added, footnotes deleted]

What startling admissions can be found in this paragraph just quoted! Once again, it is clear that this "Worldview Vision" is based upon orchestrating "scenarios." The futurists are big on using this technique. These scenarios are designed to shift one from the Biblical foundation to a Transformational Worldview.

The Truth:

The following verse is a favorite of the "vision" leaders. You've heard the first part quoted often, but seldom is the second part tacked on. Below is the full verse:

"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." (Prov. 29:18)