Your Journey Starts Here

Whether you have already read the book "Through the River" or are interested in the topic of truth and how it impacts your faith and relationships, we welcome you and look forward to interacting with you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Update From River Town

This post refers to an analogy explained in the book, Through the River; Understanding Your Assumptions About Truth. For a brief explanation of the analogy, read the blog post

The Valley Dwellers have lived on the far side of the river for some time now. The newness is beginning to fade and they are settling into their role in the community. They act as peacemakers and bridges between people. When a Rock Dweller meets an Island Dweller, there is often misunderstanding and frustration. That is where the Valley Dweller is most useful; to guide the conversation in ways that affirm both people’s beliefs about truth, but challenge them to think differently.

It is a liminal time for River Town, but very exciting as well. People are moving from one place to another trying to adjust to what their new way of thinking means for their everyday lives. Sometimes they may move from one place to another while having a storage unit somewhere else. I have heard one person comment that they brought a suitcase along with them. It’s difficult to change your thinking all at once, but over time and with patience it can be done to some degree.

The changes on the rocky shore and sandy islands are significant. The people living on the rocky shore are becoming more polarized with some people holding more strongly to their convictions and others deciding that things are changing and there isn’t much they can do to stop it. In the sense of the latter, there is more tolerance toward the island dwellers. The former are hoping that holding strong will delay the changes that seem inevitable. The rocky shore is still well-populated, but a great many people are moving into the islands.

As time goes on, many more people are leaving the rocky shore to live on the beaches. The rock dwellers know more and more people who are living on the islands and they are even beginning to have the ability to see the world through their lens at times. There is a growing confidence among the island dwellers that they have found the answer to the dilemma they had on the rocky shore, but some are beginning to have questions.

The valley community is growing as some people are coming from the islands to settle in the valley. There is a lot of room to grow with the land spreading out and rising into the mountains. It’s not a perfect life. Problems arise when an unknown gets in the way of immediate decision-making or when an old way of thinking creeps into what they are doing. The silos of the rocky shore make it difficult for the settlers from there to see life as a whole. For those who came from the islands, allowing logic into the discussion is an obstacle as they have for so long been opposed to that way of thinking. Still, the humble approach to learning helps them to work through these challenges with each other.

In this time of great transition, people’s truth lenses are changing. Maybe you have experienced a change in the way you view truth. If so, take a minute to share your story. We would love to hear it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Is this the big one?

Modern culture is going through the river of relativism in a dramatic way in this new century. It takes many forms. Sometimes it is a passionate appeal by another to live and let live. Other times it is a reasoned argument from a different perspective that calls into question what we believe. Whatever the source, many believers are surrounded by uncharted waters. While most believers grew up with a strong sense of certainty about their core beliefs, these times can rock any ones understanding of truth. In our book we called these moments Great Disturbances. They are the moments that can change how you view truth. You might go from a person who believes that all truth is knowable to a person who decides that there is no truth or that truth is a personal reality. You might also move, as we did, to the other side of the river where there is truth we know and truth we are learning. But how do you know when you are entering a Great Disturbance in your life? Let us share with you a few indicators: 1. You come up against something in your life that your current truth lens cannot explain or deal with. 2. You loose the ability to control your world and how you view truth and you are forced rethink your world. 3. You realize that the assumptions you based your life on are not as solid as you realized and you reconsider those assumptions given your situation. 4. You find that the answers that used to satisfy you no longer do and you invest in seeking clarity amidst the uncertainty. Does this describe you? If so you are probably going through a great disturbance and you have the opportunity to reconsider your assumptions about truth and ask God to give you clarity about how He wants you to know His character, His world and His plan for your life.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Telling Worldview from Personality

When we talk about your truth lens (see previous posts) many times people assume that someone has a particular view of truth based on how they interact. But many times I have found that our social skills do not necessarily define our truth lens.

For instance, if someone is dynamic and excitable, you might think that they are a Rock Dweller (a person who believes they can understand truth completely and usually defends that position strongly). But people who live on the Islands or in the Valley can also have this personality.

So how do you distinguish personality from worldview? You have to get down to motive. A Rock Dweller is always sizing up what you are saying and deciding if it is true or untrue. An Island Dweller is not interested in whether it is true because truth is personal. A Valley Dweller believes in objective truth but views it as a learning process with those around them.

No matter what their personality, you have to find out the motives that drive their truth search and through those motives you will get a sense for where they are coming from.

An Island Dweller's greatest motive is harmony without dealing with the deeper issues. So they will always strive to equalize their surroundings and allow things to be "true enough." The Rock Dweller will affirm and praise what they agree with and try to dismantle what they disagree with. The Valley Dweller will define whether the idea being presented is part of the truth they know or if it is something they have to investigate and learn from.

Look below personality to get a sense for these ways of viewing truth.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What Can you Learn About Truth From Star Wars?

Well, I'm sure someone has come up with many lessons from the Star Wars movies, but this blog is not one of them. However, I am going to use Star Wars images in order to make my point.

In our book we share about three truth lenses (glasses that manage our assumptions about truth) that are most common in the the Western world today. One of the examples that our mentor Dr. Paul Hiebert gave us was that of a picture.

The first truth lens is Positivism. A Positivist believes that all truth is knowable and can be objectively defined. They view the world like a photograph. This means that they spend their days trying to fill in the photo and get it as clear and crisp as possible.

The second truth lens is Instrumentalism. This lens rejects the idea that all truth is objective and says that emotion, story, and personal experience are key to understanding truth. They also say that truth is defined by such personal things that it cannot be shared with others because they do not have the same experiences as you have. Instrumentalists view their world as a collage. No two collages are the same. They each take on the perspective and approach of the artist and become unique representations of how they view the world.
The third truth lens is Critical Realism. This truth lens believes that there is objective truth but that it is understood and acted upon subjectively. That means that there is truth that we know and truth that we are learning together. This lens is best described using a montage. A montage is many small pictures that add up to one large picture. The unique parts look different, but they all make sense when seen in the larger context. A montage has a common view of reality but each piece of that picture approaches it in a different way.

So with this example in front of you, how do you view truth? What lens is defining how you approach your faith, relationships and outreach? We would love to hear your input.

Seeing Clearly is Dangerous!

I am excited to be speaking at an event called Dangerous Man Day this weekend. It is a one day conference designed to help men live dangerously for God. As I have been working on the materials for the event, I have realized yet again how dangerous it is for us to see ourselves clearly.

The Evil One uses self deception as a key tool to keep us from obedience to Christ. We see it all the time don't we? We misunderstand who we are in Christ, what He has made us to be and how He is shaping us in His image.

That is why our truth lenses are so important. If Satan can mess with our these glasses that provide our assumptions of truth, then He can keep us from growing closer to God. But if we understand our assumptions of truth and seek to learn more about God through those glasses, then we can be powerful instruments in His hands.

Do you have the courage to understand your assumptions and to hold them up to the light of God's presence in your life?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Leading Through Disagreement

If you are a leader then you have had to negotiate between people on your team who disagree. When there are two people together in a room there will always be moments of disagreement. Very few leaders handle these situations well. In fact, over the years some of the biggest complaints I have heard about leaders is their handling of conflict.

Well, conflict has a lot to do with your Truth Lens (the concept from our book Through the River). The way you understand truth defines how you will negotiate between two people who claim they have the truth on their side. In our book we have three communities along a river. The Rock Dwellers believe that all truth is knowable and that there is one way to view everything. The Island Dwellers believe that truth is personal and they do not try to impose their understanding on people from other islands because their are no bridges. The Valley Dwellers live in community and believe there is truth we can know and truth we are learning. That learning requires humble dialogue.

As you can imagine leaders from these three communities will approach conflict in very different ways:
  • Rock Dwellers will assess the two warring factions, weigh the information, side with the one they think is right and negotiate a surrender from the other side. This always leaves the other group defeated and disempowered.
  • Island Dwellers will look for a pragmatic solution that gets people working together again without being too concerned about trying to get to the bottom of the situation - since they don't believe that one answer is attainable.
  • Valley Dwellers will look for the piece of truth that is known and affirmed in Scripture and then build from there to have those in disagreement process their struggles and learn together. They will sacrificially stand in the middle and create an environment of humble learning because the process is just as important as the resolution.
We believe that Leading from the Valley represents a way forward for leaders who have been beat up and torn down by conflict in their organizations. What do you think of the way your Truth Lens might impact your ability to lead in conflict?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Understanding Leadership in Light of Truth

I had a very interesting lunch with a believer who had read our book and wanted to chat about applying it in their local church. As we talked, I began to frame a new idea that I am very excited about. Our book focuses on helping the broadest group of people understand their truth lens and then figure out how to engage their world with this new-found understanding.

What we didn't spend much time on was "leadership." But as I talked to this reader about the book, I found myself talking about what leadership looks like from the Rocky Shore, the Islands and the Valley. As many of you know these three geographies in the town represent three different truth lenses.

If we have already talked about what it means to live understanding your truth lens, why is it important to think about leadership? Well, the simple answer is that leadership is about guiding people on God's mission (via Blackaby). These people all have a truth lens that defines how they view the world. Our leadership style is impacted greatly by how we view truth.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting some thoughts on what it means to Lead from the Rocky Shore, the Islands and the Valley. I hope you will join me for this discussion.