For too many years beauty has been identified with physical appearance and submission. Watch television or take part in life and you will be bombarded with a particular look or model of what big business has defined as beautiful. We are challenged to identify with fake photoshopped images that create an outward appearance, which for most people is unobtainable. Simply submit to a product or lifestyle that we never desired, probably are unable to afford, and all the pleasures of heaven can be ours.
It is all quite ridiculous, but we still buy it! We feel ugly or ashamed if we do not fit the accepted model of what corporations define as beautiful. We spend so much time looking in the mirror at our outward appearance that we forget about the feelings and emotions that are within us.
It has been this way for years, maybe since the beginning of time. Men and women have been programmed to fill a role; a role that someone in authority defined. Generally, it has been the women who have been suppressed. But the control is buried so deeply in our culture that it is hard to realize how firmly it is there .
It’s not easy for men or women to re-wire their brain when it has been conditioned to think a certain way from childhood. How can they over-come the paternalistic control that corporations and politicians may want to have over their thoughts and choices?
It is only when you start to look at the inside, instead of the outside, that life will become clear. What or who is beautiful? True beauty reflects those inner qualities of a person that are grounded in LOVE and so resonate the soul.
In the 1950’s Canada’s population moved from the center of the cities to the suburbs and so did the churches. As realtors like to say: “Location. Location. Location. Location is everything.” In 2014, the best location is whatever screen is in front of the religious “consumer.”
People are busy and do everything on the internet, from shopping to seeking help with a problem. The church that gets their attention will be the church that gives them something they will find useful. Forget about what you want them to do and think about what they would find interesting… not necessarily your church. If you can give a person something that they will actually want and use, they will follow you forever and they will tell their friends.
It doesn’t have to be sexy, but it has to be useful. It has to simplify a person’s life, or make it less stressful. Put yourself in their place and think about something that you could really use. If you are a parent of young children or a senior citizen, you need to know the location of public was rooms in your town. But what if you were visiting a different town? Someone came up with an app for just such a need. Put “Sit or Squat” on your iPod and you will never be stuck again. There is a map and you even get to add your comments about the condition of the facility. Every time you use it , the first thing you see is a cover page with the name of the App’s creator. You bet people will tell their friends about it. It doesn’t have to say, come to church… they will know what church to turn to if they have a personal or religious need.
If an app is too much for you to consider, 26 % of apps are only downloaded and opened once, you can still make use of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. Take a look at what is trending… what people in your city or neighbourhood talking about or interested in now. Join in the conversation. What can you give them that they will find useful? You probably have a list of what to do or who to call in cases of sickness or family distress. Perhaps a list of organizations concerned about climate change or in getting people out to vote? Maybe you will even have a list of public wash rooms within a 1 km radius of your church or a popular shopping mall?
What would you find simple, useful and stress reducing? Others are looking for the same things. Get it out there on the internet and people will tell their friends where to find it and more.
In order to continue in these time of rapid change organizations, including the church, need to recognize some basic theories about how social and cultural organizations change. One such theory is known as the double loop theory of change . As one institution approaches the end of its time, innovators from within evolve in new ways, eventually replacing the old organization with something new and different. The following illustration shows how it works: (clicking on it may help you see the details.)
Some innovations fail, but others succeed and communities of support form around them. As these new communities evolve they gain supporters from the old organization who help steward the process as it continues on.
There are many organizations and processes in Western society beginning their descent to oblivion. In these rapidly changing times we need innovators willing to risk the leap and, in so doing, keep our culture from decay.