- The Washington Times - Monday, January 10, 2000


Ever feel like your life is pure chaos, in a condition of pure confusion, sort of like the universe before creation [Genesis 1:1-5]? I feel like that most every day, especially first thing in the morning. This may not be such a pathetic thing. According to recent research, Club Chaos is the hottest thing.
Surely, you've seen the books on chaos. There are over 1,200 of them on the market, including "Chaos: Making a New Science," and "Absolutely Normal Chaos." … Some of the best thinkers today are straining their brains over chaos theory, using advanced mathematics to understand complex systems… .
Not that Club Chaos is all work and no play. In the toy department, you can buy a kinetic sculpture called "Chaos World of Motion" to teach your children about physics. There is also a chaos washing machine. No kidding… .
Genesis tells us that when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep. This was a state of chaos before creation, but it was the raw material that God used. It is a state of affairs not yet in harmony with God's desires for creation.
Contrary to several popular perspectives, chaos is not an evil reality beyond God's reach. The Bible is confident that only God can decide when to destroy things. There is no reality independent of God… . Suddenly, in Genesis, a wind from God sweeps over the waters, a divine spirit that begins the creative work. God does not say no to this chaos. He uses it as formless clay. With a word, God switches on the first light. Day and night. Evening and morning. "The first day," says Genesis.
Clearly, it cannot be said that chaos rules. According to the Bible and our faith, God rules. Our God is not crazed by confusion. Our God is not disturbed by material that seems disordered. God moves confidently from chaos to creativity, making something good out of the raw material. God's chaos theory says that order can rise from disorder… .
Real creativity craves a certain amount of chaos. Perhaps the same is true of us. Membership in Club Chaos may be part of a life of creativity. It was no accident that the ministry of Jesus began with the baptism by John in the watery chaos of the Jordan River. Jesus, like God, is not afraid of chaos.
The [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] economist Lester Thurow tells us that the new century demands creativity, and "no society that demands order above all else will be creative." He tells the story of China at the beginning of the 15th century, when its desire for exploration and innovation gave it tools for an industrial revolution. Blast furnaces, gunpowder, the compass, rudder, paper, moveable type, mechanical farm tools and mathematics. They had ships four times as big as those sailed by Columbus… .
But the Chinese rejected these [because] they became uncomfortable with chaos. New technologies were seen as threats rather than opportunity. Imperial rules prohibited ships that could go beyond view of the coastline… .
Calvary Church, do we face this China syndrome as we embark on ministry in a new millennium? Do we see new programs as threats or opportunities? Are we forbidding innovation in worship and mission, or discouraging spiritual exploration beyond the church's coastline? … Remember, creativity demands a certain amount of chaos, like the formless void out of which God created. The body of Christ must tolerate a certain chunk of chaos, a healthy measure of raw material for creativity to happen.
The good news of the Gospel is going to fly farthest with new programs, the joy of the Lord is going to erupt most enthusiastically if we innovate in worship. The mission and ministry of the church is going to transform more lives if we take it beyond the sanctuary walls.

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