[UMC] getting unstuck [pt. 4]

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.  


Serial narration


This “[UMC] …” series of 3-minute readouts relating to the present climate within the United Methodist Church [UMC] (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (‘reset’ here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (last week) is meant to be generative, not definitive. “Compatibilism” [and its attending humility (Micah 6.8)] is key to “The 95% solution.”

—This is ‘part 4’ of our look at getting unstuck through applying Edward de Bono’s ideas; and it’s ‘part 21’ of the overarching “[UMC] …” series.

—Scriptural basis for ‘The 95% solution‘ is Isaiah 43.19; Micah 6.8; John 17; and 2 Corinthians 5.19-20



“Rock logic”

Traditional Thinking [TT] (e.g., “rock logic;” “rational argument;” “critical thinking”) is language-based and reflects the thought process tradition of the Western Renaissance.

Dr. Edward de Bono calls it: ‘Greek gang of three thinking’ [GG3] (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle).

  • GG3 is “rational,” negative, oppositional, logical, analytical, linear.
  • GG3 is necessary, but not sufficient.

In I Am Right You Are Wrong [IARYAW], de Bono writes:

We have obsessively concerned ourselves with critical thinking and argument as our instruments of change. They are virtually useless for change because they lack a truly creative element. We have not begun to understand creativity and paradigm changes. [pg. 40]

I’ve suggested that the same intuition that ‘creativity is missing in action’ from our “reasoning” was a driver in the thought of C.S. Pierce and his work with abductive reasoning (much earlier than de Bono).

Dr. de Bono writes:

This [TT] system of principle, logic, and argument is the basis for our much used — and often beneficial — legalistic thinking. Where it breaks down is in the assumption that perceptions and values are common, universal, permanent or even agreed. [pg. 5]

In this traditional system there is no place, no need and no mechanism for creative thinking. In patterning systems there is an absolute need, a place and mechanisms for creative thinking. [pg. 15]

That is why we have been so poor at the creative thinking that is so needed to solve those problems that will not yield to analysis. [pg. 15]

A provocation is a statement that lies outside our natural experience patterns. So we are forced to leave those patterns. We can then move on from the provocation to a new pattern and so create a new idea. [pg. 15]

The line in the “Process” section above regarding this “[UMC] …” series of missives being: “…meant to be generative, not definitive” is foundational and of the highest import in embracing the notion of lateral thinking. The “po” [see parts 1-3 (here) (here) (here)] we introduce is not the point; it just opens the door of our collective box so that we might have a chance of finding the point (i.e., a “new idea” [my emphasis]). Lateral thinking takes Isaiah 43.19 with great seriousness and finds practical ways to partner with the Spirit in revealing “a new thing.”



‘po’ is provocative, permissive and liberating

Last week I quoted de Bono regarding “po” and Lateral Thinking [LT] from his book LT:

      • Provocative and permissive: putting information together in new ways and allowing unjustified arrangements of information.
      • Liberating: disrupting old patterns in order to allow the imprisoned information to come together in a new way. (LT, pg. 227)

What does that mean?

Well, “arrangements of information” refers to sequences, loops, and other patterns of information. Over time, these sequences, loops, and other patterns of information distill into collective, shared narratives. “Unjustified arrangements of information” are not based on “logic” or experience; they might alternatively be called: ‘stories that don’t make sense.’ LT understands that the prevailing story hides any sense that the po may have to offer.



So, in the context of the UMC, for the past fifty years we’ve been establishing a pattern, i.e., developing an embodied shared-narrative that we are sharply divided 52% vs 48% on the issues of human sexuality.

‘Analysis’ is a ‘rock logic’ form of TT; and from that perspective our pattern of division has become nearly impossible to deny. From a ‘rock logic’ perspective, describing our situation as anything but sharply divided (e.g., 52% vs 48%) appears to be an “unjustified arrangement of information.”

Further, the notion/narrative that we are divided 52% vs 48% looms large and obstructs any possibility of seeing the relationships differently. So, any notion of 95% unity is invisible, “imprisoned information;” and typically it is very quickly dismissed when raised.


po overall The People Called United Methodists reflect a 95% unity.

I imagine I might/could have begun this “[UMC] …” series with that line. Perhaps I should have done precisely that, i.e., started with a riddle. Here’s a new graphic to help visualize the po process:



To de Bono, water logic, lateral thinking and po are practical terms/methods for creative thinking. In this project/series, water logic, LT and po are meant to disrupt our [UMC] stuck traditional thinking, which is unable to resolve or reconcile problems with its analytical tools.
“Rock logic” (Giorgio) and “water logic” (Ralph) ….
Next week: [UMC] Club Q questions. [this post ~825 words (3-min. read)] 


Your thoughts?



5 thoughts on “[UMC] getting unstuck [pt. 4]

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