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Transfiguration and Agents of Transformation

Posted: February 12, 2012 by Rob Voyle

The season of Epiphany ends with the story of the Transfiguration. Theophanies have always interested me. They typically begin with some experience that evokes great fear and then confusion. The confusion arises because something is occurring that is beyond our understanding and we have no way of comprehending the new reality that is breaking forth into awareness.

Fear and confusion are always precursors to transformation. But fear and confusion don't always lead to transformation. In most cases they drive people back to the certainty of what they used to know rather than enter into the new world. As the fear and confusion increase people will become more determined to cling to the past and old certainties.

In many ways our society and church is in the midst of a major transformation from modernism to post-modernism (whatever that may be) and fear and confusion abound in ways that haven't been experienced since the enlightenment. Strident voices call us back to the past, but the problem is that the past no longer works in this new world. Others fall into a self-protective apathy and seek only to endure. And a few hear the voice: "Don't be afraid... Behold my son."

Do we fearfully cling to the Jesus we used to know or do we look for the Jesus who is always going out ahead of us and stretching the reach of our understanding. The Jesus who won't stay on the mountain top of our understanding but continually seeks out the lost and lonely and confronts the principalities and powers of our day.

It is easy to fall into the trap of Peter and want to stay on the mountain. Throughout the Gospels we see Peter struggle to understand. Just when he thinks he understands his understanding is shattered and confusion returns.

Church Board retreats, Appreciative Inquiry Summits, transformational workshops, mission programs are all susceptible to the transfiguration phenomena. Great times are had by all, great vision, great energy, and then nothing happens. Seeking to implement new programs after the event are met with fear and confusion and to keep the peace we settle back to the way things were.

The ability to manage fear and confusion is essential if we are to be agents of transformation and co-create with God the new day that awaits us. At times we will need to make it safe for people to be confused. At other times we will need to let people walk away as Jesus did with the rich young man.

As transformational leaders and coaches we need:

* confidence in the One who knows even when we don't know
* courage to let people be confused
* compassion for those who "don't get it"
* creativity to try new things and the
* contrariness of Christ in never settling for the status quo.

With Transfiguration Blessings on Your Life and Work With blessings on your life and work.
Rob Voyle

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About the Author

Rob Voyle

Rob Voyle

The Rev. Dr. Rob Voyle is a leader in the development and use of appreciative inquiry in church and coaching settings.

Rob's Approach to Training

  • Helpful: Training must provide practical, sustainable solutions for today's challenges.
  • Humorous: Creativity and humor go together as people enjoy new insights.
  • Healing: I create opportunities for people to experience transformational insights that lead to new ways of living, working, and being in the world.

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