Spiritual Research Network

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Emerging: from Tradition to Transition to Transformation

Emerging: from Tradition to Transition to Transformation
by Herescope, January 31, 2006

In order to understand the Leadership Network's involvement with the formation of an Emergent Church movement, it is necessary to take a few posts to explain the bigger picture. There is a much broader historical and philosophical context in which to view this "paradigm shift" to an "emerging" church.

Last week Herescope examined the use of the term "paradigm shift." Today's post will look at the words "transformation" and "change." Both of these terms are integral to understanding the formation of the Emergent church.

There is a 3-step process that leads to "transformation." It begins with "tradition" and then enters through a phase of "transition" before finally reaching "transformation." This process is facilitated by the use of "change agents." The 1/25/06 Herescope post examined the three types of "innovator" described by Brad Smith of Leadership Network in his report. These three types of "innovator" -- Adapters, Revolutionaries and Groundbreakers -- fit the transformative model:

Tradition -- Adapters
Transition -- Revolutionaries
Transformation -- Groundbreakers

The word "transformation" is one of those words that has a double meaning. To the hearer it may call to mind Romans 12:1-2. To the speaker, it may mean something different altogether. Marilyn Ferguson introduced the new meaning of this word to the American public in her 1980 book that brought New Age Theosophy out of the closet and into the mainstream. In The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (J.P. Tarcher, Inc.), Ferguson explains that the new meaning of this word is rooted in the heretical doctrines of human evolution:

"The term transformation has interesting parallel meanings in mathematics, in the physical sciences, and in human change. A transformation is, literally, a forming over, a restructuring. . . .

"And, of course, we speak of the transformation of people -- specifically the transformation of consciousness. In this context consciousness does not mean simple waking awareness. Here it refers to the state of being conscious of one's own consciousness. . . .

"Significantly, ancient traditions describe transformation as new seeing. Their metaphors are of light and clarify. They speak of insight, vision. Teilhard said that the aim of evolution is 'ever more perfect eyes in a world in which there is always more to see.'" (p. 68) [emphases added]
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