Lecture text available here

Leadership in a context
of worldview clash
Dr Sara Savage
Director, ICthinking®
E: [email protected]
W: ICTcambridge.org
We live in an era of worldview clash
This presentation - 2 levels
• Local congregation and minister/ ministry
• Church as an organisation/ theological
Local church
• Exilic period one of great change and clash of
cultures. Things are DIRE. Prophetic message:
• Accept it, settle down, live as normal people,
contribute to the society and needs around you.
NO instant solutions. No strategies to make it
other than it is.
• Humble/ modest. Grandiosity is over.
• Take the long term view. Future generations will
benefit from your fruit. This clash of worldviews
is ours for now. Hinge generation.
Shrink. Give up notions of outward ‘success’
So, as a leader, what is important to you?
What is your story? Your core values?
What do you have at the centre of your being that
you would like to share with others?
(this is NOT about church growth, success or any kind
of return to grandiosity)
• How can you listen and relate to others to include
them? Will your story grow to allow them in? Can
they bring their story too?
• Love is the accurate estimation and supply
of another’s need.
• That means we see others without imposing our agenda
upon them (which can often defensive and about putting
ourselves in the ’saviour’ position.)
• Is the gospel able to defend itself?
• This is an invitation to LIVE as the ‘hidden person of the
heart’ – your true self, not a clergy persona.
• Not easy to do as ministers live in forest of expectations
and projections.
• So, brazen it out!
Oh and…
• Make your services as rich as possible.
• Allow silence.
• Preaching. Provide teaching but don’t feel you
always have to give the ‘right answer’. State your
own position and why (back it up). Provide an
array of other positions, provide the analytic
tools for people to make their own assessments.
Church as an organisation
• Theological education
• Continuing ministerial education
• Change how we think (not so much a focus on
what we think or what we do). Start to dissolve
our side of the false binary of worldview clash
• ££ How to find the money for augmenting
education? PRIORITISE.
Clash of worldviews
Christian worldview vs Post-Christian worldview
Results from various “over-claimings”
• The inflated claims of physicalism-(“nothing but”
…. Genes, matter, neuron, secularism
• … inflated claims of New Atheists
• The way we come across is to deny any shadow in
ourselves and any good in the other/ secular
• We have a theology of Church but this is not at all
integrated with a theology of the secular world
(finding God and the influence of the gospel in
the world ‘out there’)
• We are loathe to publically accept the Church’s
‘shadow’. Good/bad insufficient–
• an emergent property – the social-psychologicalspiritual collective POWER- for good and for ill.
• We don’t ‘ring true’ to non-Christians
Clash of theological orientations
• Conservative and liberal moral reasoning
(Savage 2008)
Fi gur e 1 . Fi gur e and ground
Traditional: how we do relationships
Caring/ cared for
Crisis of knowledge
• Only one text is true
• This text can talk to and with other texts
Integrative Complexity
(Suedfeld et al 2003, 2006)
• Low IC sees the world in black and white,
‘us and them’,
right vs. wrong
• Low IC predicts
violent conflict between groups, worldviews
Proposed neurological underpinnings:
Limbic response to perceived threat --> Low IC, cognitive
(Limbic system has only basic categories such as ingroup and
Neo cortex– able to process complex information – potential
for higher IC. Both R and L hemispheres needed for wider
attention to
the social world
needed for higher IC.
A clash between two worldviews or group identities is
underpinned by values in tension. Both parties’ thinking
becomes simplified around one value, screening out the other’s
point of view
Value complexity
enables thinking
to become more
complex; opposing
viewpoints can be
Integrated, trade-offs
negotiated, without
losing key values =
higher IC.
(integrative complexity)
• We need to build in the potential for religious
development into everyday ministry. The
journey of IC is similar to religious
development (Ricoeur, St Paul)
• Religious development means we see things in
new ways as we progress through life
High IC sees the big picture, multiple viewpoints (Step
1 - differentiation)
Step 2 of IC - integration
finding links, wider framework, without dissolving
Some fruitful dialogue partners
• Science and religion
(McGrath, Polkinghorne, Watts)
• Psychology, pastoral theology, spirituality
(Watts, Savage)
• Social psychology and church as ‘system’
• Theological anthropology and neuroscience
Reflecting on neuroscience
an interactive talk
LEFT Hemisphere:
Uses Complex Language
Rational thinking
Focused attention for a
‘The way I think is correct!’
RIGHT Hemisphere:
Gets information from body
and senses
Thinking linked with feeling
and values
Broad attention paid to real life
as it is
‘Open to new ideas!’
Frontal cortex
(esp right pre-frontal cortex)
Sense of ‘I’
Sense of ‘You’
Moral responsibility
Hind brain:
Automatic processing
Very powerful!
• Savage, S. (2011) Joseph: insights for the spiritual
journey, SPCK, London
• Savage, S (2011) Four Lessons from the Study of
Fundamentalism and Psychology of Religion.
Journal of Strategic Security Volume 4 Issue 4
2011, pp. 131-150.
• Savage, S & Boyd-MacMillan, E (2010) Conflict in
Relationships: understand it, overcome it, Oxford:
Lion/ Hudson Publishers.
• Savage, S (2008) Towards integrative solutions to moral
disputes between conservative and liberal Christians,
The Journal of Psychology and Christianity (special
edition 2008).
• Savage, S & Boyd-Macmillan E (2007), The Human Face
of Church: a social psychology and pastoral theology
resource for pioneer and traditional ministry, London:
SCM- Canterbury Press.
• Savage, S, Mayo-Collins, S, & Mayo, B, (2006) Making
sense of Generation Y: the world view of 15-26 year
olds, London: Church House Publishing
• Watts, F, Nye, R & Savage, S (2002) Psychology for
Christian Ministry, London: Routledge
• Savage, S (2006) On the Analyst’s Couch: Psychological
perspectives on clergy and congregations'. In Steve
Croft (ed.) The Future of the Parish System, London:
Church House Publishing.
• Savage, S (2006) Healing Encounters. In Fraser Watts
(ed.) Jesus & Psychology, London: Darton, Longmann &

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