Second-order change

By Dave Henning / July 2, 2015

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were on when we created them.”- Albert Einstein

“Vision starts with visualization.”- Mark Batterson

In Chapter 12 (“The Rule Breaker”) of The Grave Robber, Mark Batterson observes that Jesus chose to heal the invalid by the Bethesda pool on the Sabbath knowing it would rile up the Pharisees.  By trying to keep what they thought was the letter of the law, the Pharisees broke the spirit of the law.  There’s a world of difference between following Jesus and following man-made rules.  Sometimes we have to break the rules to experience the miraculous.

Mark states that, according to cybernetic theory, there are two types of change:

1.  First-order change is behavioral- it’s doing things differently (matter over mind).

2.  Second-order change is conceptual- it’s seeing things differently (mind over matter).

Mark posits that most of our problems are perceptual: “The solution isn’t doing something different.  It’s thinking about the problem differently.”

Jesus changed the invalid’s life by changing the rules.  Whereas convergent thinking looks for one right answer, divergent thinking comes up with multiple solutions to a problem.  Mark explains:

“Divergent IQ is the ability to look at the natural and see the supernatural.  It also goes by another name when anointed by the Spirit of God: faith.”

Today’s question: Following your vocation loss, has first-order change or second-order change characterized your thinking?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Critical realism”

About the author

Dave Henning

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