Then a miracle occurs

by | Aug 3, 2022 | West District Notes

Order and Chaos sign

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit[b] of God was moving over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2 (NRSV)

At the beginning of creation, we read that there was chaos (tojus babojus in Greek), and God formed this beautiful world out of the chaos.

When we think of chaos, we think of disorganized, unplanned, unstructured, craziness, scary, uncertain, unsafe, lonely, and out of control.

In Quietly Courageous, Gil Rendle talks about chaos as a creative space: to walk willingly into chaos is to accept mystery. He then refers to the Sidney Harris cartoon, where one mathematician justifies his equation to the other by saying, “then a miracle occurs.” (http://www.sciencecartoonsplus.com/gallery/math/index.php#)

Chaos is where imagination and innovation happen, where new ideas are birthed and take form. “Standing at the edge between the known and the unknown.”

Michael Crichton, the author of the Lost World, refers to chaos as the edge of chaos where “complex systems tend to locate themselves at the place we call the edge of chaos. We imagine the edge of chaos as a place where there is enough innovation to keep a living system vibrant and enough stability to keep it from collapsing into anarchy. It is a zone of conflict and upheaval, where the old and the new are constantly at war. Finding the balance must be a delicate matter…only at the edge of chaos can complex systems flourish.”

We live in this liminal time of chaos where our churches and ministries were turned upside down, and we ask ourselves, “now what?” What do we do with this? How do we grow our church again? How do we bring in more money? How do we reach young people? How do we …? Now what?

Chaos is to tap into our God-given creativity to bring transformation, to imagine new ways of not only reaching but engaging with your community, and new ways of not only increasing the pledges but raising funds.

Chaos is to see that “a miracle occurs.” Rendle concludes that “any system (like a congregation or a denomination) held in chaos long enough will self-organize. It will renew itself and transcend beyond its former self to accommodate and relate much more effectively with its environment.”

Do not desist; if you are in chaos, something will happen, and a miracle will happen.


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Author: Javier Olivares

West District Superintendent
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