The New Year can be the same-old-same-old or it can allow us to think about new things and new directions. I have been doing some personal research into a new approach that I think might be very applicable to the church. It really started with Jesus' applying the approach and us "discovering" it thousands of years later (we are so arrogant when we find out something God already knew) so here goes.
The "new" thing is called Human Performance Technology. The basic premise is this. We look at what is happening ... we think about what we would like to happen ... we see the gap between the actual and desired ... we look at interventions that we hope will bring the actual closer to the desired ... we apply the interventions ... we assess the impact of our interventions and we adjust accordingly.
Jesus made a group of judgmental people go through this thought process. They were about to witness the stoning of a woman caught in adultery. The current practice was stoning the woman to death. The desired result was judgment/punishment. Jesus reminded them that maybe their desired result had issues (like each of them had done things worthy of being stoned). So Jesus casts out a new vision ... maybe the desired result was grace/forgiveness and a change of behavior. He then asks them if their current intervention achieved that result. He and they knew it didn't. So He gives them a puzzle ... "If you have not sinned, cast the first stone." None could cast that stone under the new/desired paradigm. So they all walked away and Jesus tells the woman "Go and stop doing what you are doing!" He changes a paradigm of judgment/punishment to one of forgiveness, redemption and change.
Maybe this year we should look at allowing ourselves to be "taught" by the Rabbi of this story. Maybe we should look at where we are ... where we desire to be ... the gap between those two things ... what interventions can be made to bring us to the desired place ... and (this is very important) apply the interventions. Go ahead and jump in! It won't kill you, it probably will change you. And God's plan just might be lived out in you. Randy