My friend, Cassidy Dale, has written a book entitled The Knight and the Gardener: Worldviews Make Worlds. It's available here for free download. Take a gander through it. Here are a couple of quick excerpts for your perusal. Enjoy!
Tell me your image of God and I will tell you your theology. â€“ Carl Jung
Have you ever considered how you see the world? Why people disagree over what is moral, heroic, loving, or holy? Why you team well with some people and conflict with others? Why two people sitting next to each other in the same church can read very different things in the same Bible? Why people disagree about politics and war?
The answer is worldviews. Everyone holds a worldview of his or her own. Worldviews are like the glasses one wears to see the worldâ€”every â€œlensâ€ shows you the world in its own way. And these lenses, since they shape how you see the world, influence how you react to situations around you and how you make decisions...
Hereâ€™s an example. Not long ago I asked a large group of pastors what they would title a history bookâ€”if they wrote oneâ€”on the moral, religious, societal, and political story of the past two decades. Half of the pastors answered that they would give the history book titles like â€œDecline,â€ â€œCollapse,â€ or â€œFaith Under Attack.â€ The other half of the pastors provided titles like â€œSlow Progress.â€
Their responses showed me thatâ€”beyond mere optimism or pessimismâ€”there were two worldviews at work in the room. These two worldviews served as these pastorsâ€™ lenses for interpreting all recent events, understanding the world around them, and providing their approaches to change the world. I call these two worldviews The Knight and The Gardener.
Knights see themselvesâ€”and all people and thingsâ€”as part of a great, cosmos-spanning war between the forces of divine good and demonic evil or instead, say, between enlightened reason and destructive ignorance. Knights believe the primary calling of good people is to undertake crusadesâ€”moral, spiritual, and politicalâ€”to protect the innocent and defeat the forces of evil. Knights categorize people as allies or enemies, and see most situations as zero sum games. Any combative or competitive endeavor is a Knightâ€™s endeavor.
For religious Knights, regardless of faith perspective, God is the supreme divine authority whose order requires courageous, determined, moral champions. Christian Knights, for example, spread the Gospel to save people from the consequences of their sinful behavior, and seek out ways to eradicate immorality from the world.
A Knight looking down on the world from a space capsule would see good, noble paladins fighting great, menacing dragons for control of the world. For Knights, the worldâ€”and the terrain of the individual human soulâ€”is a battlefield, always at war.
Gardeners see themselvesâ€”and all people and thingsâ€”as part of the growth of a great, cosmos-spanning Garden, one that can flourish further if aided by well-meaning and inspired people. Gardeners believe the primary calling of good people is to cultivate the Garden through planting, good planning, the pursuit of transformative discovery, invention and innovation, and artistic revelation. Any constructive endeavor is a Gardenerâ€™s endeavor.
For religious Gardeners, God is the creative force whose greatest attributes are imagination and creativity. Gardeners view themselves as imbued by the Creator with the divine creative spark and charged with growing the Garden beyond its current borders. Christian Gardeners, for example, spread the Gospel to restore broken people so they can rejoin the ongoing creation process, and to awaken others to their meaningful role in tending the Garden.
A Gardener looking down on the world from a space capsule would see a great Garden of lush jungles, farms, the construction or rejuvenation of beautiful cities, and new opportunities in the now-barren places. And over the blue parts of the globe, the Gardener would see a shining silver rain fall silently into a swirling silver sea. For Gardeners, to paraphrase the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 8, all of Creation is involved in one great act of giving birth.
It's a simple concept, but it serves well for any of us who have to navigate or lead communities. Where do the challenges and conflict arise? This line of thinking may help you map that out and understand how best to communicate with the various people in your community.