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Posts Tagged ‘integration’

Modern Sickness, Disintegration and Nostalgia

June 17, 2008 Leave a comment

While searching for articles and books on Giambattista Vico yesterday, I ran across a great 1997 interview with Lois Dupre from Christian Century on “Seeking Christian Interiority.” Dupre laments the loss of a metanarrative in this late modern world: “We experience culture as fragmented; we live on bits of meaning and lack the overall vision that holds them together in a whole.”

This “absence of a defining unity” cause us to feel “lost in a disconnected universe.” While some “postmodern” writers rejoice in the loss of an overall narrative, most of us struggle with the need for some meaning that brings coherence to our lives. Christendom offered such a coherence, but that integrated world died with the middle ages and the modern world has moved farther and farther from looking to Christianity as a source of integration.

Dupre suggests that as the awareness of what the modern project has realized, people struggle with a yearning for something from yesterday.

“They feel the fragments present to us must somehow be united in a manner that modern culture fails to accomplish. Hence they turn to models from the past. Some join ultraconservative religious or political movements, or they lose themselves in mystics of earlier times as if no cultural distance separated us from the past. Such complete reversals that attempt to abolish modern life are, I think, inauthentic ways for trying to achieve the integration our time needs.”

While we may have some nostalgia for the Christian past, Dupre warns against trying to “reinvent a Christian ‘tradition’ (mostly intended for the masses) for social or political purposes.” So how do we respond to the crying need for an integrated vision of the world?

In this world between worlds, Dupre finds inspiration from another time between times: the age of Augustine. The Classical world was ending and the Medieval world was beginning. Augustine finds personal integration through faith in Christ rooted in the Christian Community. This integration works outward and finds ways to synthesize the pieces of his fragmented world such as Roman civic morality and Neoplatonic philosophy.

Dupre sees this integration as working outward from personal to local to cultural. This is a slow process and in one sense comes to define the new world. I think we see a similar attempt in integration in the shift between the Medieval world and the Modern world in the Reformation and Renaissance.

As we find ourselves in a world between worlds again, Dupre offers humbled approach to transformation. Instead of triumphalist declarations of restoring Christendom, he suggests our best steps forward in for true personal integration based on faith rooted in the Christian community. We must begin with a deep and profound personal integration. This is simply an individualistic interpretation of Christian faith, but a an experiential Christian faith that springs from the Scripture and community of believers. It is deeply relational.

Working outward, we must learn and cultivate an inner integration of the pieces of the modern world. Instead of reaching backward, we trust the Providence of God and work from our current estate forward. Only then, can we begin to think about community and cultural transformation. More on that later.

Integrating my interests and my work

November 30, 2006 Leave a comment

I wrote about the idea of integrity and integration earlier in the month. The divisions between our personal and public lives do not appeal to me. I want to live as a whole person whether in the workplace, the ministry, the home or even online. When working at Philips, I had the opportunity to use my interest in creativity and play to lead workshops among co-workers. This excited me because within the workforce, I found a way to integrate personal interests with work in a way the I believe benefited the company.

Another key interest in my life has been community/relationship building. That’s why I track social networks and trends in culture. I am interested in how these trends online and offline will impact the formation of relationships. I’ve had the privilege of bringing this interest in community building into several companies, but the focus has primarily been within a company not between the company and their outside stakeholders (customers, vendors, et al).

So I’ve tried to find connecting points between this interest and the company I’ve been working with most recently: Jewelry Television. We’re making some baby steps toward community/social networking. They recently gave approval for me to start a Jewelry Television blog. It’s very low radar right now. We’ve not promoted or mentioned it much at all.

This is still an ongoing experiment. While I want the blog to direct people to our site (so I post ads and videos from the site), I also want to blog to reveal the human side of the company and open the door for conversation with customers. Eventually, it is a step toward building a more socialnet based dialogue between JTV and customers as well as other folks online.

Take a look at it, if you have chance and give me any feedback. I’d appreciate it.

Integrity and Integration

November 10, 2006 2 comments

For multiple world, our modern/postmodern world has forced many of us to split our lives and now even our identities into multiple slots such as work and home, public and private, inner and outer. Now many thinkers even suggest there is no real person behind the roles we play. I don’t have time to respond to that here, but I disagree.

The nature of personhood is more complex and interconnected than modernism may have realized and the Church Fathers offered a far more nuanced view of the person than the modern idea of the individual. This tendency to create separate identities between home, office, house of faith, hobbies, friends, and the multivarious online social computing personas is dis-integrating. It does tend to make us think there is really no me to me: just another face, another mask. This potentially could lead to many negative and even dangerous manifestations.

Since I believe the person is real, I believe that integration of these various worlds and identities are important. Thus my values at home are the same at work are the same among my friends are the same in the online world. I try to be the same person everywhere (inner and outer).

Thus this blog does not section off technology away from faith away from art or other interests, and that’s why I put the Pope Benedict XVI quote earlier. It captures some of the essence I think the word

Now enough from me. I’ll have to spend more time on this on my Floydville blog sometime. If anyone disagrees, feel free to let me know. 🙂

Integrating the Subjective and Objective

November 9, 2006 3 comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about integration vs dis-integration. And then I saw this quote from Pope Benedict that explores this theme in relation to objective vs subjective knowledge:

“At the roots of being a Christian, there is no ethical decision or lofty idea, … but a meeting with the person of Jesus Christ,” said Benedict XVI. “The fruitfulness of this meeting is apparent … also in today’s human and cultural context,” he added, using the example of mathematics, a human creation in which the “correlation between its structures and the structures of the universe … excites our admiration and poses a great question. It implies that the universe itself is structured in an intelligent fashion, in such a way that there exists a profound correspondence between our subjective reason and the objective reason of nature. It is, then, inevitable that we should ask ourselves if there is not a single original intelligence that is the common source of both the one and the other….This overturns the tendency to grant primacy to the irrational, chance and necessity.”

via Center for Science and Culture

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