We live in anxious times. I don’t think I can state this with much more clarity.
Rabbi Edwin Friedman in his book A Failure of Nerve described a highly anxious system (society) as having five characteristics. Friedman wrote this in 1996. Murray Bowen, the pioneer of family systems theory, wrote about societal regression in the 1970’s.
The characteristics are:
2. Herding ( to ‘reverse the direction of adaption toward strength, and it winds up organizing its existence around the least mature, the most dependent, or the most dysfunctional members of the system—see article cited)
3. Blame Displacement.
4. The Quick Fix Mentality.
5 . Poorly Defined Leadership (In the chronically anxious society, the leaders chosen will tend to be immature, without the capacity to resist sabotage, reactivity, and dysfunction.)
We live in anxious times. Friedman writes about the difference between a chronically anxious system and acute anxiety. Acute anxiety happens everyday—short term events that trigger reactivity. However, as more acute anxiety events happen, they become more and more difficult to navigate. The inability to navigate and be resilient can be a result of or lead to a chronically anxious system—it is anxiety that has been passed along from generation to generation.
I write this not because Christ Episcopal Church is a chronically anxious system—it is not. However, in the past several months there have been events that might have caused acute anxiety. The hiring of a new Christian Formation person after the long tenured person. The launching of visioning sessions as we talk about 10 years in the future. Hiring a site planning architect as we talk about how we might change. There have been major illnesses in the congregation. These are just a few examples. I am sure there are more, and each could be very personal. My guess is that many feel it without being able to put a finger on what it is. Naming it is important!
What will be called for in the next year is resilience. What will be called for in the next year will be prayer. What will be called for will be remembering why we are the church--The mission of Christ Episcopal Church is to restore [creation] to unity with God and each other in Christ.
What will be called for is hope that our vision is in line with God’s vision. What will be called for in the next year will be leadership that is working from core values. What will be called for is leadership that avoids being pulled into homeostasis (herding), and yet stays connected. What will be called for will be--hmmm? Sounds like the kind of leadership that Jesus of Nazareth displayed. As the body of Christ, we are all called to be a light to the world—that light that shines through the darkness of fear and anxiety. That light that shows the love of God in all we do. Let Your Light Shine!
For a more thorough synopsis of this thinking please look at the article found at this website. https://alastairadversaria.com/2012/01/10/summary-of-edwin-friedmans-a-failure-of-nerve-part-2/
If you have questions or concerns, we want to hear your voice. Please contact me—make an appointment to come and talk. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.