Co-Creators with God in the Next New World
The world is changing. Fast. An “old world order” is crumbling; assumptions, institutions, lifestyles, and even nations are failing. A “new world disorder” is emerging: a new normal, unstable, rapidly changing, more extreme, paradoxically closer and more divided. Technology and globalism are combining to create a hyper-changing, hyper-connected, interdependent world. We face profound challenges—the health and wellbeing of people and the planet, population growth, poverty, and politics are just a few of the mega-issues we face—all of which defy old solutions. The future is unknown. Many feel vulnerable. Fear abounds, but so does opportunity. Individuals empowered by technology and common people networked together have never had more influence. Incredible things are happening. There is no going back to days gone by, but how do we go forward as people of faith to fulfill our calling to make the world a better place?
The Faith Forum: Co-Creators with God in the Next New World
During the coming year we will explore the Next New World with the intent of grabbing hold of the future as an opportunity for innovative co-creativity with God. The purpose of the Faith Forum is to empower each of us to be disciples who not only survive but thrive and make a loving difference in the world. To do so, we will need to reclaim creativity as a God-given gift, for the challenges of the future demand creative solutions.
The Faith Forum will be a series of talks that plumb different perspectives which, when taken together, seek to describe aspects of the future, discern a sense of God’s way, help us to see the tools we need to develop, and inspire us to do something for the love of Christ for the common good. During the first part of the year we will begin by looking at a few aspects of the big picture—introducing the idea of co-creation with God, the next new world, globalism, technology, and the planet—and then looking at a few more particular aspects of the future, including Jesus, the Church, the economy/business, media, sports, and a theological reflection on all of it entitled “WWJT” (What would Jesus think?) and “WWJD” (What would Jesus do?). After Christmas the Faith Forum will consider many other topics, including women, education, belonging, and global and personal health. Lent will be devoted to developing the tools for the future, including spirituality, adaptive change, and an entrepreneurial mindset. In addition, to mark the beginning of St. Mark’s 250th year and to gain a bit of historical perspective, we will take a month to examine “Next New World – 1764,” to see the new world that the parish founders faced.
The Next New World - ‘New worlds’ emerge throughout the history of humanity. In each case categorical change in possibility or perspective causes a monumental shift that is both destructive and creative and affects the lives of almost every person and institution in the culture. These transition periods usher in eras with labels like antiquity, the middle ages, the renaissance, the reformation, the European discovery of the “new world”, the industrial revolution, modernism, and post-modernism. Today we are in the midst of such a categorical change, and yet it is unclear where we are heading.
Co-Creators with God - Co-creativity with God is the key to the future. To meet our communal challenges, each of us needs to commune with God to reclaim entrepreneurial creativity as a God-given gift to be exercised for the common good. God creates, and so do we, and together we knit a continuing creation. Today technology is empowering us with creative powers unimaginable a generation ago. Common people can produce uncommon solutions. God’s initial creation was “very good” (Gen. 1:31); not all of ours have been so. Now is the time for us to “make good.” To meet the challenge of the future, we must continue what has already begun: ordinary people, endowed with an in-born creative instinct, inspired by God, empowered by near universal access to knowledge, networking, and technology, must continue to create and produce new solutions that benefit people and the planet.
The Process: 4 D’s
To prepare for our calling as co-creators with God, the Faith Forum will address four needs that we have:
Describe: We need to look at the future so that we can lean into it and be ready for it.
Discern: We need to think theologically about the issues we face, asking the question WWJT...What would Jesus think? Future capabilities present us with profound dilemmas, and we are not always clear about our theology as we think through these issues. For example, we do not have an adequate theology for topics such as technology and big data.
Develop: We need continually to develop a new set of skills and perspectives to negotiate the next new world. Many of us are like “immigrants in place” trying to figure out how the new world works. Like immigrants we must aggressively adapt so that we cannot only survive but thrive and lead happy, healthy, holy, and productive lives in service of our Lord. We might think of these new skills as tools in our “Thrival Kit” (as opposed to our survival kit).
Do: We need to ask the question WWJD?...”What would Jesus Do?” as a way of mobilizing our faith into action.
I hope you will join us for this exciting adventure.
The Reverend Peter F. Walsh
Download the PDF of the official brochure with a schedule of speakers—