Simplicity and Complexity


John Jackson discusses the importance of appreciating both simplicity and complexity.

For a variety of reasons, I have been thinking about complexity and simplicity. The quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, "I wouldn't give a fig for simplicity this side of complexity, but I’d give my right arm for simplicity on the other side of complexity” has been floating through my mind as well.

I am thinking several thoughts that I’d like to unpack over time…for now, I’d like to share the raw outlines:

1) Simplicity becomes simplistic when we fail to recognize complexity. This can be dangerous (and shallow).

2) Complexity becomes a crutch and a barrier when we refuse to simplify and therefore create things like the “paralysis of analysis”.  This is dangerous (and shallow).

3) Appreciating complexity (think DNA) and simplicity (think DNA) are powerful concepts. Think Iphone. Think Starbucks. Think Discipleship. This is powerful and transformative

4) Movements occur when complexity is translated into simplicity. Helping others to understand, grasp, apply, reproduce is a powerful calling. This is catalytic.

A couple of additional thoughts:

  • God is calling His people to complexity and simplicity. Together. Today.
  • Leaders are either bottlenecks or catalysts for people and movements. Which am I?
  • Ray Johnston of Bayside Church and Francis Chan talked today about humility and boldness (courage) living together. Similar to grace and truth. We must live in the tension of these values
  • I've been in several seasons of leadership. Early on, I focused a lot on structure, later on strategy, and now largely on transformation. Complexity and simplicity have lived in tension in each of those seasons.

I’m convinced that this is an ongoing part of the Spirit’s push to take us back to the future….

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