Monday, February 28, 2011

Future I

In 1983 I met Dudley Daniel. At that stage he was the lead pastor at NCF in Bryanston South Africa. And I was a school teacher who was wildly in love with Jesus and yet had just had the trauma of seeing a church planting movement implode. The pain and trauma, from which some have still not recovered, was profound. Dudley became as a father to me. He saved me from the highway of self destruction and set me on a Jesus loving, bible driven whirlwind of apo Christianity.

It was around that time that the Jesus People movement had blurred into many movements. The Charismatic Renewal had began to wane as many young churches were now giving expression to a stronger Holy Spirit journey. We began our new story - wanting to spend the rest of our lives journeying with friends while we set out to disciple the nations. One day I may write these stories but, for now, my new blog series - "Future" I am as breathless with excitement today as I was in those days. There is something fresh, new, unscripted, that lies before us. But it is only for the fragile and the weak. The strong will rely too much on their own ability. The weak will be found in Him - the lover of our souls.

In this series I would like us to explore how we need to do church with the "last of the last days" in view. This I know, the way we did church during the Jesus People movement, the Charismatic Renewal and the Apostolic Restoration of the 80s is not the same as each other, not is it the way of the future.

The Middle East is burning with revolution that is nameless, faceless and facebook driven... but isn't that what we spoke about all those years ago - yet we seemingly cannot help ourselves but create celebrity charismatic speakers, with top down leadership models that are help reproducing the past. What can we explore and discover together, to ready the church for the next 20 years?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Middle East

I am nervous we, the church, are missing a God moment in the Middle East!?

Only those who have lived through the tragedy, trauma and devastation of a civil war can have some notion of what nations like Libya are going through right now. The cost of human suffering is overwhelming. Not just with the number of deaths, but also the refugees, the loss of home, property and the lasting disruption of simple life.

There is some uncertainty at how Christians should respond to an Arab world crisis. With an excessive preoccupation with Israel at times, the church forgets that Jesus died for all. Every man, woman and child. Calvary does not discriminate against the land of our birth, nor the ethnicity of our family tree. The wonder of the cross is that it recognizes all accents.

Will there be ways to offer love, support and basic human services when the dust settles?
Can we mobilize the worldwide many to pray for the Arabic speaking few?
How can we love the Christians who are living in trauma in these nations now?
What is our role in the aftermath?
Are any available to go in soonest?
Are there true God prophets who can empower the next steps?
And Spirit led apostles who can enter this broken world to help rebuild?
With marketplace grace gifts ready to shape a new world?
Or will the followers of Islam simply do a better job?

These are weighty last of the last days.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Home again

My early morning espresso, review of the day's news with my devotions, tells me I am home here in LA. My luggage did not make it. It is still winding its way across the ocean from London, but that is OK.

In an unscripted future, it is easy to be busy - but with what? "What does the Lord require of you?" is the Micah question M and I are visiting daily. To fill our year with 48 sunday preaching slots would be simple, but the kingdom advances intentionally. Questions like:
What is our strategic role here at Southlands and Rock Harbor ongoingly?
How can we best serve Orange County?
How can 'Exploration' be more effective and essential?
Which LA plants are we to priorities during these days?
Love the USA & Canada plants-simply love getting to them-which is the next plant?
The Alan Hirsch / Future Travellers partnership is gaining traction-next step?
Collaboration with other movements & groups is essential - but which ones?
Loving the evolution of the Dubai Dialogue and the ongoing partnership-next?
Investments in Europe, Africa, Australasia... continues to lie before me- but with whom?

It is great to be home.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Europe and the Apo story.

The older one gets, the more reality sets in on one's own contribution to the God journey. Like a great kingdom puzzle, we are so privileged to be part of this uber-picture. Each of us is vital, unique, essential "to getting the job done down the back stretch" [to use basketball language].

I am sitting in London. The early morning cold is sneaking in through the windows of the home we are staying in. M and I feel so honored to be ministering at Thameside Church this morning and evening. The tomorrow I am off to Holland. Why this snippet of personal info?

Europe offers such a wondrous gospel re-ignition. As it moves beyond the post-Christian mindset into a fully fledged 'pagan' worldview, Christianity will move from the central dictating faith story, through the modern dark ages of post-Christendom to the raw rough realities of a faithless continent. No christian can get discouraged by this moment. It is ours! Christianity is generally at her best, purest and truest form, when she is not the flavor of the month, nor the state religion, nor yesterday's news. The soil of Christianity's deepest roots are times of challenge, uncertainty, vulnerability, hardship.

Walking alongside the prayers of revival, reformation and awakening, is the necessity for the readying of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. I know this is one of my life's passions, however, I do believe the Father is calling forth the next generation of these 5 fold gifts for this new tight-rope time. The grass roots Spirit stirring will be matched by the accompanying growing governmental gifts that will give shape and maturing to these new churches as they emerge like a phoenix from the ashes of pagan Europe.

Who will help train these emerging gifts - like Paul did with Timothy and Titus? Who will be part of catalytic gatherings like Acts 13 when the Spirit of God met with these young stud leaders and empowered them with an apo-story? Who will take these young pagans, muslims and hipsters who come to faith - like young Apollos - and teach them this glorious gospel in a better way? My fear is that too many of the 'fathers' are too busy with their own stories that they do not have the time, energy nor priority to fan these young guns too flame. I hope I am wrong. This is a very significant gospel moment.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Reading on this trip

Books I am reading on this trip:

Max De Pree: Leadership is an Art

Robert Fisk: Pity the Nation [Lebanon at War]

DA Carson: Scandalous [The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus]

Francis Chan: Forgotten God

What are you reading?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

God Created

There are some texts in scripture that we keep coming back to. Like an old mine, that shows the signs of years of use, but draws us back to repeated labor, it holds many more treasures. So it is with some personal texts. These may reflect our life message. They may reveal our spiritual passion. Or they may be the matrix that releases faith for our journey of obedience.

"In the beginning God created..." Gen 1:1 is one of those for me. At first glance it is a simple historical fact that announces the author of the ages, the origin of man. That is a wondrous and glorious sanity. We have a story as we have a history. Inadvertently, that is quite a childlike in approach as it reflects us managing the text through the lenses of the meaning of humanity. It is a good conversation but it is only the beginning - a very cool beginning.

Mark Driscoll in his book on 'Doctrine' takes us to the ancient writings of the Jewish Targum to bring another dimension to this text. By the process of 'synonymous parallelism' , the text also allows us to say that 'in the beginning' can be rewritten "by the first born". Therefore we can write it as follows "In the beginning, by the first born" which of course is very empowering for the Christ lover. This places the Trinity there in the beginning. It announces to the reader that we are on a pathway of Trinitarian discovery and foundation. This places the persons of the Trinity as the central underlying weight of the passage which makes God the focus of the text. [If you are uncomfortable with this approach, the Trinity is evident there anyway as 'God created...Spirit hovered... God said-Jesus is the Word]

This piece of sacred writing does not only reveal his person/s. It also reveals his ways. Our human bent is to control the climate of a story. We want to be in charge. We want to manage our world. Some would certainly argue it is the cause of the garden rebellion - 'we would become like god, creating our own reality'. It is therefore difficult for all of us to live with God's ongoing creativity as it takes control out of our hands.

Church history is an account of God repeatedly breaking into human history with acts that surprise, delight, infuriate, frustrate, amaze. God has ways . He does not have methods. To speak in terms of "the model," "the pattern," by implying that there is a 'one size fits all' notion of God, reflects ignorance of theology and church history.

Some may find these comments a little outrageous. Let me explain further. There are river banks. These hold the life of God so that that does not end in a marsh. There are the vertebrae of the church, whereby the church is held together around the revelation of elders, deacons and the priesthood. The life of God then spins uniquely around these non-negotiables. The scripture defines marriage as between a man and a woman — but each relationship is remarkably different and colorful.

"In the beginning God created..." speaks of God the artist. It speaks of him painting his mercies new every morning. It announces his gatherings of the saints are full of surprises and God interruptions. It proclaims marriage that oozes romance and affection. It trumpets uniqueness and diversity. Each person is different. Every marriage is different. Every family is different. Every community is different [no branding please]. Every style is different. Every approach is different. Every set of eyes are different....

I love this God...

Friday, February 11, 2011

From the hill tops X - To die on.

I am envious of men who have extraordinary prayer lives. My friends who are true mystics, find time in his presence so deeply desirable and with such priority. Don't get me wrong. I love praying and have a wonderful "face to face" with my heavenly Father. Hearing his voice and knowing he has spoken, has been some of the sweetest moments of my life. The early mornings remain that for me. This morning I was up at about 4:15 sitting in the quiet of the desert sounds [that is until the Mosques greet you], pondering what the Father will do with us today - firstly at the local Church, then this afternoon when we meet with friends from the different Emirates, as well as South Africa, Europe, the USA, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia, India.

These are hill top times. Living in the deep privilege of friendship, some of which go back 30 years. Added to these wondrous memories, we were given a hill to die on, a reason to lay our lives down, counting for Jesus on many continents around the world. I do sit tenderly sometimes and reflect what it would have been like if we had not bought into "the discipling of the nations".If we had all remained in the countries of our birth, leading the churches that we planted all those years ago. Sitting at the same restaurants, with the same friends, in the same city, leading the same churches. We could have been studs I quess. With large churches, with long local track records, without cultural and contextual challenges. Not facing the hurdles of being misunderstood nor at times feeling like aliens, foreigners in another land.

Those reflection times are brief. Of course I do miss those realities. However, God was so kind to us. We were given a hill to die on, a land to fight for even though it was not the land of our birth. I love Jesus. I love his wonderful presence and the kindness of his calling. I love my wife who has journeyed with me for 30 years, through many celebratory encounters as well as traumatic times of deep pain and travail that no words can describe. I love my kids. The three of them have loved me because of their ability to forgive more than because of my ability to lead. Added to them have been the 'sons and daughters' who have no blood tie to me but have found in me a father who could and would empower them on their journey of faith and obedience - quite extraordinary that they trusted their lives in my hands. I love the 2 churches that we have led. It is truly amazing that folks would follow when there are so many good leaders and outstanding churches to choose from.

I love being born in South Africa. Walking through the boiling pot, the turbulence of the end of the apartheid years leading in such traumatic times taught me more than a seminary or college ever could. Now I live in the USA. It was not love at first sight. In some ways it has been like marriage which is best described as 'a love driven exploration of incompatibility'. God brought our lives together to collide in the great providence of the ages. He broke my heart as I fell in love with his American bride.

For 3 decades now, I have found a hill to die on. The meaning of my life has been found in Genesis 1. From the awe of a creator/artist God to the call to 'increase in number, multiply, fill the earth, subdue... have dominion'. Having sons and daughters, then fashioning them to become fathers and mothers, releasing them to live their own journey of faith - empowering them to 'fill the earth.... with his glory' has been my hill. I love watching them fly. I love watching them overtake me - counting even more for Jesus that I ever did. I love seeing them get the nations in their eyes - living for this Jesus more than for themselves. I love handing on the baton of leadership to them. I love being a boot camp where Jesus sends the raw recruits and them leaving at the end of their training as 'an officer and a gentlemen'. I love seeing them fall in love with his bride and then weep as I see the price tag it carries on their fresh and naive shoulders.

If that is all I do, I would count my life, a life worth living, a gift from my heavenly Father. All he ever asked of me was "Will you be a father in my house?". I hope I have been a good one.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

From the hill tops IX - "Gods"

I sit and write this blog from Dubai - a city that I have grown to love from coming here for many years. The early pictures of this parcel of desert, reflect the vision of a man who realized that Dubai did not have the resources that some of the other city states of the region had. So the decision was made to make "Dubai the Singapore of the Middle East". That is being achieved with visioneering intentionality.

I have so enjoyed the "From the hill tops" series. The Old Testament is such a treasury of truth. It robed some great and glorious truths of the God - journey within the culture of an ancient people. Simply exquisite, so whenever I hear some draw their six shooter and apply the title of 'legalist' to any who preach from the OT, I am deeply saddened. She is sacred scripture of the most beautiful, romantic poetry that reveals the father as he takes us on a narrative of his redemption story.

Exodus 32 is the well worn story called the 'Golden Calf'. It is full of drama, rebellion, false worship, anger and empassioned prayers. While Moses is in the Father's presence on the top of the hill, the people get impatient. Tragedy of tragedies. Impatient in the rhythms of God, is always a key to rebellion. Our human nature wants to control The story of the garden, the fruit and the snake continually reminds us of our default button to want to be in control. It is God who has to bow to our timing. Not we who have to bow to his.

They open their 'God Catalogue' and design a God that will seemingly satisfy their wishes. The problem is that when we design our own God, he cannot transform us for he only has the power we give him! When he then challenges us, we simply redefine him!

These gods are very expensive. They demand our wealth, but rarely give anything in return. Israel surrendered their jewelry for this god of their design. These gods demand feasts, partying, offerings and then the people 'eat and drink and rose up to play.' vs 6 The gods of pleasure, sports, careers, materialism, family... are very costly objects of worship. Whilst they seemingly offer fun and partying, they demand our all. They may require our marriages, our children, our peace, our true worship. They may rip our families apart and leave us empty handed, with an empty soul. Is it really worth it?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dubai Dialogue

I am very amped that we are on our way to Dubai. Gathering with friends to deepen our relationships, explore and empower each other in our spheres of influence and to dream about collaboration into the future is very cool

Delighted also that we will meet with Terry Virgo for one of the days. Such weighty times of unchartered waters. Pray for us. Will keep you posted

Saturday, February 5, 2011

From the hill tops VIII - Glory

I used to run marathons. Sure 42 kms of pure agony. Having recently come out of the army, I was young, fit, strong and believed that everything was possible. The early morning runs overlooking the city of Durban watching the sun rise and beautifully sketched in my mind. The friendships we formed during those long runs are still current today. My one ultra - marathon 50 miler [actually 90 kms] still quietly lives in my heart with deep personal pleasure.

Every few miles there were mist tunnels. The powerful African sun would beat on our naked shoulders as we fought the desire to give up with the will to finish. These mist tunnels were our empowerment. We would stand momentarily in the relief of these mists, knowing that the road beckons and the finish line awaits. The mist tunnels were not the race. They simply rejuvenated us for the race.

"Behold I am coming to you in thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak to you..." Ex 19:9. God wants to meet with us. God wants to speak to us. We were called even then to be "a kingdom of priests". How does all this add up? We were made for his presence. We hunger for his presence. With a collage of awe and amazement, we are deeply longing for his glory -that wondrous mixture of his holiness, his majesty, his healing, his transcendence - just being God!

Over these many years, I have been somewhat perplexed on occasion , by the mismanagement of this most mysterious part of our spiritual journey. In some circles, daily spiritually has no expectation of his glory being tangible, measurable and transforming. I do so wonder which text they read and which history they study. God is not a theological principle nor an academic subject. He wants to meet with his bride - and on occasion it is particularly powerfully.

Others make the mist tunnel the journey. They hop, skip and jump around the tunnel as if that is its purpose. I am so intrigued that these actions have reduced his 'glory' to such low virtues. His glory transformed humanity. His glory lowered men for they could not stand in his presence. His glory exposed sin, inspired worship, drew men to repentance, impacted cities, changed cultures. I cannot hold frivolous actions of shaking, falling, giggling with the weight and power of both history and the text. There are definitely moments when God's power catalyzes such happenings. However they stun us by HIS PRESENCE. They are real, authentic and transforming. We do so need the true and awesome glory. When he comes...

Friday, February 4, 2011

From the hill tops VII - Pattern

I have just finished a very fun skype conversation with Steve Timmis. As author, pastor, trainer, futurist, Acts 29 leader for Western Europe, his book "Total Church" and training material at Porterhouse is inspiring. It was fun to probe him on his assessment of the church in the UK particularly. His perspectives were powerful in their humility. Several things he said were very impacting. Not quoting him exactly, he said : "it is not the size of the lighthouse that matters, rather it is the number of lights at street level" [the size of the church is irrelevant, what matters is whether the disciples are bringing light on the street].

However I loved hearing him frame this chapter of his life with the God journey -coming to faith in a non Christian home, pastoring in the mining community during the strikes of the 80's. How did they get to this place and this form of community life? Why not go the route of the known, favored, well worn paths?

"Then you shall erect the tabernacle according to the plan for it that you were shown on the mountain" Ex 26:30

We cannot be administrators of His presence if we have not first been up the hill top to hear his voice! This may seem so obvious, however let us pause for a moment. In humility we all want to learn. But sometimes in desperation we all want to imitate. So churches are planted, replanted or rebooted, but the "pattern" chosen could be:
  • the base we planted out of,
  • the denom or movement we are in,
  • the success of another,
  • a famous book,
  • born from a big idea,
  • in reaction to all of the above - rebellion.
we are obligated to find our own form! Theology cannot be dabbled with. That remains true, orthodox that has stood the tests of time. To mess with that will end up in heresy and cultism. Where the creativity of the Trintarian God is evident, is in the 'pattern' he calls us to build. There is no one pattern. From house churches to mega churches, they are in the text. From intentional apostolic plants to spontaneous persecution enforced plants they are in the text. From meetings in temples, schools, caves, homes, they are in the text. From apostles leading churches to couples leading to elders, they are all in the text. From very informal dining room table styled communities to endless hours of teaching from apostles, they are in the text.

Our loyalty must never be measured by us modeling our communities around others. Whilst sentimentally appealing, these decisions are void of the mountain top moments. God the ultimate architect, sculpts, scripts and sketches our evolving renovation. He never tires. He never builds track homes - three styles over and over. Each community is beautifully unique, reflecting his majesty and artistry. We can learn from each other, but the shadow of the hill top is where we will find our unique blue prints.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

From the hill tops VI - Conversation

I am loving reading the Google story. In fact the title to the book reads: "Googled-The end of the World as We Know it". There is a most empowering look into how our world has been revolutionized by a new set of lenses and how life has been transformed through this super highway. One of my favorite quoted from the book reads that there is a: shift from the vertical world of hierarchy to the horizontal world of networks-create a vast networked conversation".

"The Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd" Acts 2:14. The new leadership approach is begin to surface to surprise us in the New Testament. Jesus did not hand over his apostolic authority or mantle to one man. There was new model sneaking through the pages of the text that follows two pivotal transitionary moment - both loaded with the Trinity. The first is the Matt 28 impartation where Jesus places his mantle, mandate, message and ways on the eleven.

The second is this Acts 2:14 announcement. It is not one man is the new king. Peter is not the "the man" to be the 'new Christ like leader'. He is simply the "man for the moment". The others see it, respect it and stand with him - very Trinitarian.

This paradigm is a most worthy conversation - and it must be made. The leadership pattern that begins to emerge out of the New Testament is a vastly different world from the Davidic approach of the Old. Whilst the Old is loaded with one man heroes, the New is overshadowed by plurality - "the apostle's teaching", "at the apostle's feet", "the apostles performed many miracles", "The prophets and teachers", the apostles and elders", "the elders"... This is indeed a good conversation to have.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From the hill tops IV - Secular Prophets

This is a cool conversation. In fact, as we roll through this massive community on the move, we are confronted with some more 'from the hill top" moments.

"Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses...What you are doing is not good. " This great and intimate moment between the prophet of God and the priest of Midian, Moses and Jethro, is a rather pivotal one. We who have used this text so often to speak of biblical architecture, can be guilty of forgetting the framework of this conversation. Jethro does not enter the story as a God lover. He is priest of another journey. Yet his love for the family allows him to be captivated by the God story to the place where he honors Abraham's God.

I think we should give more airtime to secular prophets. Moses transformed the way Israel was led by the voice of the priest of Midian. We can tend to get stuck in our rendition of the bible story and, especially on leading in these trying times, that we simply and inadvertantly repeat the past. The challenges that lie before us, are in many ways not unlike those that the rest of the world are facing. The difference is that, to the:
  • Humanists, they look to man for their answers,
  • Scientists, they look to logic, facts and explanations for their solutions,
  • Philosophers, they look to ideas to forge their way forward,
  • Spirtualists, they look to supernatural encounters of some kind to make some sense of the temporal,
  • Economists, they look to financial empowerment to cure all evils,
  • Traditionalists, they look to the past for the meaning.
However, I suspect that God, who will readily use a father-in-law, a donkey, or a king to be his spokesman, could require us to heed the voice of the secular prophets as we shape our future, with impact, relevance and gospel centeredness. Reading the voice of futurists may prepare the church far more than we know. They see with different lenses but could open our eyes to ways of doing this journey as we walk into the unchartered waters of tomorrow. Of course we do it with discernment and wisdom...

Here are some quotes from a book that the media highly recommend: "The Age of the Unthinkable" by Joshua Cooper Ramo - a secular prophet-

Destabilization of the existing order is inevitable. We are entering a revolutionary age with a mindset suited for centuries past. Revolutions produce a whole new cast of historical champions. Our world requires radical rethinking. “In a revolutionary era of surprise and innovation, you need to learn to think and act like a revolutionary.” (11)

“What we need now, both for our world and in each of our lives, is a way of living that resembles nothing so much as a global immune system: always ready, capable of dealing with the unexpected, as dynamic as the world itself.” (18)

Today’s ideal political candidates need the essential skill of crisis management. (36)

“Many of the most dynamic forces in society come from outside elite circles, from geeks who in the past might have been thought of as ‘losers,’….” (37)

“For hundreds of years now we have lived in our minds as builders: constructing everything from nations to bridges…. This mode of existence, which delivered amazing progress, is no longer suitable. The world is too complex, its resources too limited, and its internal dynamics too unstable to accommodate much more of this mania. It is now delivering the opposite of what we intend even as it presents us with new and insoluble problems.” (40)

“The story of the sciences in the twentieth century is one of a steady loss of certainty. …once you made the leap to a new model—if it was the right model—then accepting uncertainty and indeterminacy allowed you to make sense of parts of the world you had never understood before.” (46)

The world is like a little pile of sand. If you piled the sand, gain by grain in a cone, how would you know when that tiny pyramid would have a little avalanche? (48) Sandpiles (and our world systems) are constantly poised on the edge of unpredictable change. (49)

Just because something is too terrible to contemplate doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. As solid as the market foundations appear, they are made of sand. “One of the lessons of international finance is that from time to time large economic storms come along and wipe out huge pieces of the global economy.” (37) As the global economy becomes more interlinked and everything moves faster, the crashes become far worse. Our world is organized into instability, basic unpredictability.

No one foresaw the collapse of the Soviet Union – which demonstrates that the wrong way of seeing can hide the real dynamics of the world. It was a case of internal implosion due to faults, twists, and kinks in the society. Anytime we push for change, much of what we get may be unpredictable. (72) The world continues to shift and adjust because of unpredictable clashing of internal forces. “As it becomes clearer that the idea of capitalist democracy is failing to deliver on its promises…new ideas will explode into view.” We can expect thousands of new ‘isms.’

The increasingly interlinked financial markets are not immune to catastrophic changes that may be triggered by a minor happenstance or even an unsubstantial rumor. Our financial markets are rigged so that rapid fundamental change is possible; they are organized into instability. Addressing these risks requires radical new thinking and commitment.

We have relied heavily on our technology for defense. “At the same time there is a growing list of the failures of large powers like the United States to defeat insurgents or terrorists and, more worryingly, to defeat their ideas.” “…no major power has been able to defeat an insurgency anywhere in the world.” “It’s mostly, after all, the revolutionaries and rebels who make history.” “We can’t regard military dominance as a given or as a reliable source of physical safety anymore.” (88-9) We have bought a lot of destructive power but not much ability to defend.

Deep security “is about mastering the forces at work deep inside our sandpile world. …a way of seeing, of thinking, and of acting that accepts growing complexity and ceaseless newness as given—and, used properly, our best allies.” (108) Deep security is “a kind of immune system, a reactive instinct for identifying dangers, adapting to deal with them, and then moving to control and contain the risk they present.” (109)

“Revolutionaries see big changes early because they are looking for signs that things are different….” They are looking deeply. (110) We are making policy based on the wrong image of the world. What are we missing? (117)

In developing the Wii, Miyamoto “had ‘mashed up’ two seemingly unrelated things…to create something new. And in our revolutionary age, the mashup is a sign of a different landscape of power… …mashup logic demands that we look at the world as multiple objects mixed in multiple—unpredictable—ways to create totally new objects or situations.” (126) “…mashups have the weird effect of making the unimaginable not only possible but inevitable. Mash up authoritarian rule and capitalism, previously thought to be incompatible, and you get China.” We must learn to understand and use mashup energy. “Our policies, dreams, and ideas can be combined to release new and unexpected power.” (128-29)

“Narrow-gazing not only leads to … misfires, it also fatally constrains the ability to imagine good ideas or policies. The chance for real brilliance or flair is usually best seen out of the corner of the eye.” (154) We must teach ourselves to see the whole environment. Americans tend to focus on the big object in the foreground and miss the subtle changes in the environment.

“…in a world of constant change, you need to try to connect with the environment around you any way you can: by sweeping your eyes, by opening your mind to uncomfortable ideas, even by trying to sympathize with historically noxious figures. Only then could you improve your chances of not missing the signs that something, something important, was about to change.”(164) “The more we paper over complexities with simple old ideas and the less we try to take in the whole picture, the greater the risk we’re running. … Everything is connected. And that makes simple analysis very, very dangerous.” (167) “If you can master the skill of looking deeply, it can deliver everything you may have dreamed of.” (168)

Learning to think in deep-security terms means largely abandoning our idea that we can deter the threats we face and, instead, pressing to make our societies more resilient so we can absorb whatever strikes us. Resilience will be the defining concept of twenty-first-century security….” (172)

Real resilience can rescue triumph from disaster. The best resilient systems evolve in response to the unexpected. (173) They adapt and they learn. But resilience has to be built into the system in advance. “A high national savings rate, instead of policies that encourage high levels of personal debt, might be more important than the regulation of specific financial instruments.” (179)

Underlying, slow changing forces often have the most profound impact on the system. (180)

Hizb’allah imbeds itself in daily life in Lebanon. It builds replacement houses for those that are destroyed by the Israeli’s. Thus direct attacks on Hizb’allah makes militants more resilient, not less. Hizb’allah’s greatest survival secret was in creating a system that allowed them to shift and learn and change—and do it even better when under attack. (189-90)

Much of what we face can’t be deterred, prevented or even predicted. Thus we need to become resilient. [The suggestions for doing so do not seem very robust. Perhaps there are better ones. Dlm]

“Studies of food webs or trade networks, electrical systems and stock markets, find that as they become more densely linked they also become less resilient; networks after all, propagate and even amplify disturbances.” “The more closely we are bound together, the weaker we may become.” (198-99)

“It’s not wrong to think of what’s going on in our world as a race between forces that are unthinkably amazing and those that are unthinkably horrifying.” “When you spread power instead of hoarding it, you discover benefits that you couldn’t have imagined in advance….” (236) “Swarming is, of course, the classic immune-system response. … This kind of self-organization, the ability to pull off an ‘all hands on deck’ reaction, exists in many of the most efficient and resilient systems in our world. … Once users step into active engagement, the dynamics of the system shift forever: users stop being consumers and become participants.” (237) “Our goal now should be to empower as much of the world as we can, even if at times that means encouraging forces that make us uneasy at first glance…. This means placing, right at the heart of our international policy, a goal of giving everyone basic survival rights.” (243) “A peer-produced world offers hope that local innovation and a flowering diversity of ideas can begin to cope with everything from water shortages to terrorism.” (244)

“Even small changes can have an impact on our future—and this is why we all must get involved.” “Change in our world isn’t going to feel like something far away from us.” (260)