The inertia of the pragmatic church is often startling. When a movement grows in size and popularity it becomes like an ocean liner, requiring a huge expanse of space in order to negotiate any change in course. New movements are like lifeboats, small and flexible, diverse and empowered, and respond rapidly to their new environments. This is particularly true with a decentered movement like the emergent church. New movements don’t have the vested interest in system maintenance that older movements possess; they have less to lose and so are willing to experiment and take risks. Margaret Wheatley, in “Leadership and the New Science,” comments that we need explorers, those willing to venture where there are no maps. We need tinkerers.

“Tinkerers have skills but no clear plans. They make do with the materials at hand. Tinkering opens us to what’s possible in the moment.”

“Life’s tinkering has direction. It tinkers toward order – toward systems that are more complex and more effective. The process is exploratory and messy.”

“All this messy playfulness creates relationships that make available more: more expressions, more variety, more stability, more support. Who we become together will always be different than who we were alone. Our range of creative expression increases as we join with others.”

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