Healthy expressions of any values set will tend to both transcend the limitations and naïve expressions of previous values sets, and include, encourage, and facilitate the healthy expressions of previous values sets as appropriate. Last week we left off with examples of Green [FS] ‘justice‘ values finding common ground with Orange [ER] ‘merit‘ values—some call this ER/FS expression: Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR].
Acknowledgment, respect, and honor for each values stage is not just a nice idea to tack-on-if-convenient. Aspects of each stage, and their healthy expression, are indispensable to holistic health (below we’ll find a potent quote on this from Don Beck). Unfortunately, naïve Green [FS] has proven especially prone to transcend and dissociate.
Our present life conditions demonstrate the intrinsic necessity of healthy expressions of Beige, Purple, Red, Blue, and Orange values. As each new level of values emerges it has an innate proclivity to believe itself to be the answer—that’s a big piece of the naiveté. However, fueled by the ill-appropriated power of extreme-postmodernism, through it’s ‘deconstruction’ move, naïve Green [FS] ‘justice‘ values seemingly declared: “Green values have it all covered!” This has been a very destructive overreach—e.g., extreme-postmodernism’s no hierarchies and no truth claims are naïve Red [CP] (ego) ‘power‘ grabs. Reconciliation and rebuilding healthy relationships with each values stage defines our marching orders [2 Corinthians 5.19]. Respecting each level of values development and working to invite, encourage, and assist the healthy expression of the various level’s energies is job one for peace makers [Matthew 5.9].
I wrote the following words a couple of blog posts back, in a piece entitled: “Greed and naïve Orange [ER], et al.”
The practical intersection of different values constellations concerning any particular issue reveals some really fascinating things about human beings and the interdependent nature of the systems they inhabit, and that inhabit them.
‘Third-wins,’ ‘mesh-works,’ and ‘synergy’ are all ways of noting/describing inter-stage, systemic harmonies. When different value sets find common ground for collaborative purpose, great potentials are freed to possibility. Each level of values constellations has crucial contributions to make in creating holistic health in human persons and systems. In the same way Saint Paul sees all the members of the body as integral to the healthy function of the whole [church universal], each step in human development is integral to the holistically healthy expression of human society.
I read some enlightening books this week: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo; Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving; and White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White, by Daniel Hill. Obviously, I’m doing some reading around the issues of white culture and racism in the U.S.A. I’ll write more about my reflections on the information in these books in a future blog. Today, I’m just going to borrow one small piece from the writing of Daniel Hill and his reading of the parable of the generous father (you may know the story as the prodigal son). Daniel Hill’s “competing with pigs for their food” phrasing in his commentary on the Lukan story inspired me to create this meme:
The parable in Luke [15.11-32] makes a great vehicle to help continue our consideration of visibility, and our inability, sometimes, to ‘see’ the value of another’s perspective. Hill recounts Jesus’ parable in order to appropriate the story of the older son to expose the ‘self-righteous’ approach that many of us take given G-d’s gift of human life. Hill writes:
Like the older brother, we all have moments along the way when we rediscover that just because our identity can be rooted in the love of the Father doesn’t mean it always is. Every time we base our identity on anything else—such as our own accomplishments, achievements, and/or good behaviors—we begin to go down a path strikingly similar to that of the older brother. Even one degree of self-righteousness is enough to knock us off course which can send us far off course in the long run. This is true in many arenas of the spiritual life, and it’s especially true in the course of cultural identity development.
Jesus’ parables are multi-perspectival
The story of the older brother reflects a naïve Blue [DQ] relationship with G-d. The older son exhibited a blind faith. Yes, he did do his best to be the good son, to stay home in the tradition, follow the rules, to live what he perceived as being in faithful relationship with his father [G-d]. Yet, sadly, the point of the parable is that his legalistic, self-righteous way of thinking about reality ultimately prevented him from being able to perceive, let alone receive G-d’s grace. G-d does not love us because/if we’re good, G-d loves us because G-d is good. Self-righteousness blocks G-d’s grace and love. Being unable to see/receive G-d’s grace prevents the elder son from being G-d’s grace for others.
The story of the younger son reflects a naïve Orange [ER] relationship with G-d. The young son overreaches individualism and pulls away from the grace of his father’s love and care to do things his way, to do things for himself. The naïve piece is in receiving the fullness of G-d’s grace and love and ‘squandering’ it on oneself. Using all G-d’s grace on himself prevents the younger son from being G-d’s grace for others. Using all G-d’s grace on oneself, perhaps that’s the best definition of greed we can find?
Too much Orange = greed. Too much Blue = oppression. Confronting naïve Blue:
Reading a parable… Luke 15.11-32
Judging by the commentaries written on the Gospel According to Luke, Western readers are pretty confident they understand this familiar parable—only found in Luke. However, Mark Allen Powell made a fascinating study of this generous-father/prodigal-son/stay-at-home-brother parable as an extension of his work as a Professor of New Testament Studies. Through his work, Powell had immediate access to seminary students in the U.S., Russia, and Tanzania. His case studies are written up in a delightful little book entitled, What Do They Hear?—insights helpful to this blog as nowhere do we presume the need for ‘decency’ more than when we are reading and interpreting scripture.
Snap, as usual, the space is all too short. Therefore, I’m going to unpack Powell’s case studies to begin next week’s blog post. I think you will find his work offers us some much needed texture to our visibility problem—e.g., our present difficulty seeing each other and the value of our various values systems.
Blue and Orange vie for reality
Humility is prudent and helpful, especially when applying world views to reality. When not taken too far, both the DQ and ER values systems have crucial contributions to make to the holistic health of humans seeking dignified ways of being society. Presently, we have a visibility problem. In a two-minute clip, Don Beck identifies the basic problem we’re facing right now in the U.S.A.:
Three very powerful words: “Someday we will.” Perhaps we may want to pray together that John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival were wrong about one thing (here). Many hope and believe that we are presently in the crucible and that ‘someday’ is in fact upon us (I’ve previously referred to this as the binary vs. plural dichotomy). Clearly, at minimum, many indicators make it appear it’s now past time for this realization to dawn. Depending on one’s station, this change has certainly not been, and is not likely to be, an altogether smooth one. We’ll pick it up next week with a continuation of our look at the advisability of humility and holding one’s explanations loosely.
I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say?