> I was wondering if their have been any discussions around the
> contrast of ideas in these two realms. If I've missed an archive,
> please help me.
The following comments are offered as part of the conversation.
I've said this once before on this list, and I should say it again before
commenting on the topic of Christianity and "The Fifth Discipline". I
believe that Jesus Christ is God's son and that he has made a way of
salvation available to people. He's God's thought to replace our former
In my 1994 paperback copy of "The Fifth Discipline", the following are the
first things I highlighted (from the 1994 introduction).
"establish systems thinking, mental models, personal mastery, shared
vision, and team learning and dialogue as inescapable elements in building
"I have even received letters from women and men in the clergy saying that
they are using the book in their personal "spiritual studies." As you can
imagine, such comments are deeply humbling."
"I have come to believe that there is an opening today for a new movement
of meaning and change."
"We are learning that there is a deep hunger to rediscover our capacity to
talk with one another."
To begin with the last quote, two "deep" verses from the Bible come to
mind. "Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts". That
acknowledges that there is a depth within a person that can call out.
Also, "As in water face answers to face, so the heart of man to man." That
shows the awareness of perception between people.
The third quote may refer in a way to earlier movements of meaning and
change (possibly even Christianity). It's possibly fair to say that the
statement shows both a relationship and difference.
The second quote is paralleled with Dr. Senge's own practice of
meditation. I only know of it what he himself has said, including the
purpose of preparing the subconscious to solve very involved problems and
the comment that others may think of meditation in terms common to them,
such as prayer.
The first quote, and the disciplines themselves, are not as easily
accounted for in relation to Christianity, in my opinion. The following is
not the last word!
systems thinking - Paul made known a "system" that was "hidden from the
foundations of the world". He said his purpose was "to bring to light all
men". The call was not "to be a systems thinker, too", rather it was to
believe the good news that the God had reconciled the world to himself
through his son, and that a way of escape was available.
mental models - There are mental models shown at work in the Bible. For
example, in Malachi there are some repeated phrases where the prophet says
something like "You have robbed me and yet You say, 'wherein have we
robbed thee?' In tithes and offerings." Another example, though not as
exact, is what is not written in communications between people in the
Bible. It gets my attention that the people knew (it seems) EXACTLY what
was going on in certain cases without anyone having to relate all the
contingencies and rules.
personal mastery - the heroes of David's army could be cited for this!
There are comments like, this warrior did exceed his brothers yet he did
not excel to the first group. I understand that that's a different kind of
shared vision - "Without a vision, the people perish." Also, examples of
multitudes of people praising God in Revelation.
team learning - I've been part of a team learning project in the church,
though I could not say that I've seen commonly shared fruits of the
victory! We allowed great changes in learning; yet may not have functioned
together very well.
dialogue - What if the presentation of thousands of years of religious
writing along with the manner of God (David said, "your gentleness has
made me great") amounts to dialogue? Dialogue allows You to refrain from
saying, "Yes, everything You've spoken is true!"
Here are a couple of images of Christianity that I would like to see. I've
used the "adventure story" tone of voice, so don't take it personal,
unless that's Your choice!
Before You is a pattern of bricks as a threshold and beyond that far in
the distance a temple. Nothing about the temple is particularly desireable
from Your perspective at this time. You look at the bricks, covered with
dust, like any other bricks, and then You notice the glow of fire within
them. You wonder how something so lovely could be overlooked and also why
it does not affect You forcibly.
You hear a sound that reminds You of a two-wheeled cart being pulled where
there is no path, maybe across a field that is to be planted. The actions
are not very constant, unless You count the constancy of devotion to pull
the cart in that direction. The sound is people singing and praising God
as though they really love him, and they do.
Have a nice day
John Paul Fullerton
"John Paul Fullerton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>