Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Church: The Catalyst for Change

Written by: on April 15, 2013

Margaret Wheately’s Leadership and the New Science proved to be a challenging read.    With her understanding of quantum science, she presents an alternative view, for leadership and organizational life, so to speak, to the currently practiced model patterned after Newtonian laws.   I began to wonder, whether her ‘leadership alternative’ is in fact a new understanding or if it was simply a re-tracing of steps back to the original foundations of how life was intended to be lived and perhaps as it was understood before science replaced religion as a cultural driving force.   

The concepts and principles of quantum physics of wholeness, inherent interconnectedness, the self – organizing nature of living systems, the order in chaos, the understanding of open systems and most importantly, the fact that reality is not just mechanical but has room for human activity and consciousness  have all been the essence of Indian philosophy since time immemorial.   Until recent times, for an Indian, life, work, culture and traditions have always been organized around this philosophical understanding undergirded by religion.

However with the impact of globalization and westernization, the East is now gravitating towards a mechanistic Newtonian model of life where individuals the individual ‘parts’ are taking precedence to the ‘whole’ and where religious beliefs are taking a back seat.  The resulting society in the East, in my view, is in a state of chaotic transition.   In the instance of socio-cultural identity, globalization has left the urban population in a cultural quandary of being neither Indian nor Western.  The individual likes his or her dosa, chutney and sambar (South Indian cuisineJ) but wants to eat it with a fork and knife.  A hilarious sight to behold!  But not so, when the individual conducts his or her life in much the same way when it comes to issues concerning family, marriage and religion.   

Increasingly the urban Indian is becoming increasingly individualistic in his or her outlook.    Middle class families are transitioning away from the joint – family system to a nucleus unit, from traditionally family arranged marriages to marriages of choice (which also means inter-religious marriages), from pre-marital and extra-marital relationships being taboo (except within marriages) to now as a ‘social necessity’ (that’s what one young person recently shared with me) to be enjoyed safely.   These changes have created shifts in thinking and ethics breeding a pseudo-culture.    The average urban Indian middle class family now agrees without hesitation that employing western methods and tools to operate an Indian life is in fact progress.   Rural India too is experiencing such a disorder where different patterns of living are emerging. 

In this state of “disequilibrium”, with transition, and chaos, it is important to consider the role of the church?  Will the church become swallowed up as just another part of the whole? Or will the “Ecclesia” be the “singular and small influence” (location 1442) creating the change as it should?   Wheately writes: “When the system is far from equilibrium, singular or small influences can have enormous impact.   It is not the law of large number or critical mass that creates change, but the presence of a small disturbance that gets in to the system and then is amplified through the networks.  Once inside the network, this small disturbance circulates and feeds back on itself.   As different parts of the system get hold of it, interpret it and change it the disturbance grows.  Finally, it becomes so amplified that it cannot be ignored” (location 1442).   She further states that these “small disturbances” when amplified destabilize the system creating a new normal.   The rapidly growing Indigenous church in India faces this challenge today.   It is my belief that it is “called out” to be the driving force contributing to the development of the critical elements of the self – organizing system; “identity and freedom”, as it was originally intended.


Wheatley, Margaret J.. Leadership and the new science: discovering order in a chaotic world. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1999. 

About the Author


Leave a Reply