Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pray for Power to Discuss Evaluativism

On Saturday, June 13th, we will have our first face-to-face meeting. Our team is spread across Wisconsin, but can meet face-to-face on this occasion because most of us will be traveling to Middleton for the 2015 Wisconsin United Methodist Conference. It will be our second meeting as a group ever. In terms of the form-storm-norm model of team-building, we are approaching our "storm" (brain-storm?).

Our commitment as a team is to plan and run an evaluativism event. You might think our first order of business would be to articulate a mission and goals for the event, but we have a preliminary hurdle to clear first: figuring-out what we are talking about. The terms "evaluativism" and "evaluative diversity" seem to date back no more than 54 years, and are not yet in the dictionary. New concepts can be valuable--for example, although everyone experiences gravity, it became possible to reason about gravity only when Isaac Newton coined the term "force"--but we need to know that each of us is comfortable with the new concepts before we can work as a team to plan this event.

On the one hand, God has blessed us with a team of articulate people. On the other hand, if this were easy, the concepts would already be well-known. The related concepts of "race", "sex," and "sexual orientation" have a checkered past of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and abuse--our challenge is not to be underestimated. I ask you to intercede on our behalf for divine assistance. Please pray for God's help in developing power to engage in a Godly discussion of the event.

In some ways, I can already report some answers to this request. The Conference is so busy that we needed an off-site location, so I called local churches. Monsignor Doug of St. Bernard's grilled me to explain evaluativism (at which I was initially unsuccessful), eventually took interest in our cause, and graciously offered us a lovely spirit-filled space. I am so grateful for this blessing!

Also, although our understandings of the new concepts may have much in common, by the grace of God they will be our own. Ray Aldag, who was recently named Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Business and Management, has helped me identify issues to raise which will protect us from settling for shallow understandings. I thank God for Ray and the community of scholars who drive us to develop deeper understandings.  

Thank you for your prayers!

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