Obstructive Conservatism

— by Andy Wade —

As I watched the TED Talk below, I was amazed at the innovation and creativity one man was able to bring to his own medical crisis. But beyond that, I was struck by a phrase he used toward the end of his talk, “Obstructive Conservatism” and wondered how often I was guilty of this. Here’s a bit of the context:

I’ve coined a phrase “obstructive conservatism.” So many people in the medical world don’t want to change, particularly not when some jumped-up engineer has come along with the answer. They don’t want to change. They simply want to do whatever they’ve done before.

The reality is that it’s not just the medical field that guilty of this, we all, at times, are guilty of Obstructive Conservatism! But when we’re open to the Holy Spirit speaking through anyone in any situation we actually make ourselves open to the amazing possibilities of God.

Another thing I liked about this particular talk is that it’s an example of interdisciplinary teams working together. Our world is in a mess, our communities are in a mess, our churches are in a mess, and we need to work together. We see this “working together” beginning to happen through movements like the Parish Collective. But in order for real cooperation to happen we have to get beyond our egos and, let’s be honest, we all have a bit of ego that needs taming. But when we put the Kingdom purposes of God first…

When you have a group of people who have had a different professional training, a different professional experience, they not only have a different knowledge base, but they have a different perspective on everything. And if you can bring those guys together and you can get them talking and understanding each other, the results can be spectacular. You can find novel solutions, really novel solutions, that have never been looked at before very, very quickly and easily. You can shortcut huge amounts of work simply by using the extended knowledge base you have. And as a result, it’s an entirely different use of the technology and the knowledge around you.

I realize that Mr. Golesworthy doesn’t mention Christ, or faith, or the church, in any of his talk. That’s not the point. The point is there’s a lesson to be learned here and it’s a lesson I hope I not only remember, but integrate into my life: We need each other and we cannot move forward in the ways we need to move forward until we’re willing to truly collaborate with one another on the purposes God has set before us. This will take courage, this will take humility, and it will take ears to hear God speaking to us through people who may be outside of our comfort zone in a particular situation. Just imagine the possibilities once we move beyond our own obstructive conservatism and into the realm of Kingdom collaboration!