THE ‘N or M’ GENERATION IN INFORMATION AGE
February 9, 2007
THE ‘N OR M’ GENERATION IN INFORMATION AGE
The word of God is like a lion. You do not have to defend a lion.
All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself
You do not conquer mountains, mountains cannot be conquered. You
conquer yourself, your hopes, your dreams (J Whitaker).
When the rate of change outside exceeds the rate of change
inside, the end is in sight (J. Welch).
A man must brood over his own thoughts until his mind takes fire,
and then he may hope to light other minds (T.T. Lynch).
Jeremiah 31:33 "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their
hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will
a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the LORD.
Isaiah 2:3 Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the
mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us
his ways, so that we may walk in his paths."
Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy
nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of
him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Thinking of how the establishment in which we work shape our lives and how
their success in embracing and creating change influences our world and
life view calls for attention. It is in those organisations that we spend
our best time, use our sound mind, our energy, our best looks and
coverings, as we interact and depend on one another for accomplishment of
shared goals. The emergence of associations and large companies in the
late 19th and early 20th Century in Europe and North America, as a result
of industrial revolution, operated on the assumption that it is the top
managers who did the thinking while workers had to do what they were told.
By the time of colonisation of Africa, organisations were designed and
managed on impersonal basis through clearly defined authority and
responsibility record keeping and uniform application of standard rules.
The churches, schools and families followed the same pattern of thinking
as I remember my induction into the church. The new members had to go
through three levels of instruction, The Seekers (Acaria), The Learners
(Athomagi) and those to be confirmed (Moko). One of the questions we had
to respond to was “What is your name?” The standard response was ‘I am
called N or M’ and if you said anything else like your real name you
failed and had to repeat the class for a full year. ‘Good people’ did not
question those who had the knowledge and so we progressed into the
industry with that mindset.
Toward the end of 1980’s, international competition and globalisation
caught many institutions and organisations unawares as it became clear
there was no one best way. The assumption that ‘usage of brains’ was a
gift of a few lucky people made companies that had been leading unable
to cope with change. With the computer-generated information and
internet connections, information became available to those who were
subdued by ignorance. Organisations that are having an advantage are
those who acknowledge that every person has something to offer, and
that diversity is an asset. It is open continuous improvement, minimal
boundaries, no status symbols that create differences, no special
parking places, as each person is a valued contributor. What of
organisations headed by those who belong to ‘Nor M’ generation, who
believed that it was the secretary to store information, and the
‘yellow’ notes of the teacher can now be accessed through internet?
Information is the most valuable asset and the learning organisations
are aware having employees or worshippers or students, who feel
powerless because they do not know how to respond to challenges is
deathly. If we do not want to have close up opportunities, we must
encourage creative living. We need to befriend the internet, e
commerce, e marketing, e mail, interpersonal relationships,
collaboration not competition, continuous training so that we are able
to cope with the change outside. How about Jesus Christ disciples who
are the light of the fast paced world? Might availing of information
to all people be what the bible calls the kingdom principles?
Think of what Jeremiah prophesied that a time was coming when people would
know the law of the Lord and each would be responsible for the choices he
made. The managers, teachers, pastors who assume that they are the ones
with information and so they do all the preparation and then ‘dispense’
it to the ‘headless’ employees, congregants, or students may be amazed
that their inflexibility is holding back people from unleashing their
potential. Jesus Christ did not send us the Holy Spirit so that a few
people can have titles that enable them to be held in high esteem while
affecting little in regard in the kingdom of God. Phrases like ‘We have
come to encourage you . . . reflect ‘Nor M’ thinking, how did you get the
encouragement? Open up the source so that ‘When you come together,
everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or
an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:26). The usurping of the gifts of the
Holy Spirit to the church by a few titled members may have followed human
weakness (1 Corinthians 11:18) that got strengthened by the industrial
thinking. The various gifts that Paul’s talks about (1 Corinthians 12,
13, 14) should be exhibited. Information age is biblical when the basic
source of information is Christ, and his word then an inquisitive mind is
set to be open for learning. Wherever the Disciples of Christ are, they
encourage every aspect of development that upholds dignity of the free,
human person. To be the light of the world is to hold in high esteem the
most sacred right of man which is clear conscience, development of
individual abilities, inclinations and professionalism.
IF YOU EMBRACE BIBLICAL KNOWLDEGE YOU WILL;
a. Be a consultant – Keep an upward gaze- Talk to God regarding your
‘territory and assignment’. Think of what Dr. Ben Carson’s mother did
when she was confronted by a problem of poor academic performance of her
children. She prayed and God showed her what to do. As a result of a
prayer of a low cadre, single mother, the world has benefited from her
son’s neurosurgical skills among other benefits. You rise above your
circumstances as you look up to God for your needs. (Ben Carson’s books
include ‘Gifted Hands’, ‘THINK BIG’ and ‘The Big Picture’).
b. Share knowledge – Think of the testimony of George Washington Carver
who was in the first generation of freed slaves in America. He was
concerned about other needy people whose only possession was their own
manual and cheap labour. “When he had convinced farmers on the wisdom of
crop rotation, and they rotated cotton with peanuts and the sweet potato,
a new and desperate problem arose. They had an abundance of peanuts and
sweet potatoes and no buyers. They turned to Carver and asked him what he
was going to do about it. He went into his laboratory and prayed and
discovered 300 new ways for the uses for peanut and 150 new uses for
sweet potato’ (Walking with God, W.J. Smart, 1955, page 103).
c. Accountability – Each one of us has the duty and responsibility to seek
for knowledge. We should look out for ways of sharpening our skills so
that we are useful wherever we are. It is not test of how effective the
government, the boss, the pastor/bishop, manager, are for together, we
share what we have. All of us who submit to Christ as Lord are the public
relations officers, the ambassadors of the kingdom of God on earth and we
need to know the ideals of the kingdom we represent. “Do your best to
present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be
ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).
Respect and high esteem of all who are created in God’s image and likeness
is our responsibility.
What paralysis in your economy, family, church, and society can you
clearly see that it is hindering God’s people living at their maximum
potential? "This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD
who formed it and established it--the LORD is his name: 3'Call to me and I
will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not
know” (Jeremiah 33:2-3) NIV.
Information age is a time to allow the Holy Spirit to empower us as we
listen to him and recognise the value of net working for everyone has
something valuable to offer. Each one of God’s people is an asset for the
extension of the kingdom of God on earth.
What Jesus Christ told his disciples is relevant for us in this knowledge
driven time, “7 As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is
near.' 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse those who have
leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt
10:7-9) NIV. Standard solutions and standard answers will not work today.
Know who you are, you are not ‘N or M’. The sick, the lame, the blind, the
deaf, thugs and frightened people need an odour of heaven. (In Kenya today
we need urgent connection to heaven and net work because of past paced
challenges that include Rift Valley fever, devaluing of human beings,
leading to unexplainable killings of people, quality of opinion formers
and leaders and so on). That has to be one who loves the word of God
enough to read it and allow it transform them so that they are able to
cope with the rate of change outside and reveal God’s solution.
ANYTHING WILL GIVE UP ITS SECRET IF YOU LOVE IT ENOUGH (G. W. Carver)