Tidy or wild?

By Richard Lister

Devastation – what had happened to my favourite local wood? I was so upset with what the landowner had done. But it made me wonder if we also, in our well-meaning efforts to make something programmatic and tidy can end up destroying the very life we want.

We want to make our initiatives easier to manage, less chaotic, with clear measurable results and short-term benefits. But could this be counter-productive? Might we lose the real beauty along the way? Maybe, like this landowner, we may come to realise that ‘untidy’ initiatives and spaces actually support a rich diversity of plant life, songbirds, deer, foxes and mice. And, my favourite, bluebells.

So this week, let’s consider:
Are any of my efforts to create more neatness and efficiency in my work accidentally damaging what really matters?
Are there situations where it may be better to hold back and patiently cultivate the untidy, but rich diversity of people and perspectives? 

See ‘Flourish: Fuller life for all through church and community transformation’ by Richard Lister to explore more about life-giving ways to bring transformation.


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