Are you a Generous Mind?

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Tools for a New Age

"Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's jobs with yesterday's tools." Marshall Mcluhan

We are surrounded by anxiety. Have you ever seen a time so full of worry and concern? We are struggling with the changes in the economy, global geopolitical changes, shifts in morals and family and the list goes on.

But while we are questioning so many things, strangely we are not questioning the tools we use to deal with our daily reality. We are experiencing a major paradigm shift but we are assuming that the tools that served us well in modernity will still do the job today.

The reality is that they won’t. One example of this is found in our book Through the River. We talk through the “truth lens” of modernity, post modernity and the next age and challenge people to consider the way they are viewing truth.

But the same can be said of many areas of life. We have an unquestioningly accepted the idea that our old tools will continue to serve us in this new time. And when they don’t work, we throw up our hands in frustration.

Well, since that isn’t working so well we need a new plan. Let’s start building new tools based on the rules of this new age. Let’s start asking some of the hard questions about the rules that define this new time and then build tools that affirm our values and help us to lead effectively.

What are some examples of tools for today?
  • Empathy: The ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others will be a critical tool for an age where we are engaging with the world at so many different levels and about countless causes and activities. Take our course on Empathy by clicking here.
  • Mutuality: I got this phrase from Fritz Kling’s book “Meeting of the Waters.” (See his book for more examples of new tools.) This idea of humble engagement where we learn from each other and grow in our own abilities as we see God working in the lives of people who are very different than we are.
  • Global Community: The ability to harness global communities of people around causes and speak to them in the language of the effort will be a powerful tool for mobilization. No longer are we limited to those who stand next to us in the harvest field.
  • Civil Conviction: This phrase coined by Richard Mouw is a great tool that allows us to hold on to core truths but do it in a way that shows humility and grace. We talk about this in our book Through the River related to the truth lens of Critical Realism which says “there is truth we know and truth we are learning together.”
This is in no way an exhaustive list of tools. Instead it is a few examples of new mental tools that we will need in order to be effective in this new age. What other tools do you see as critical to today?

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