And the Lord God made man from the dust of the earth, breathing into him the breath of life: and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7
The bible teaches us that man was made in the image of God. Frankly, looking around today, I sometimes have a hard time seeing that. But let’s not forget that we are not quite what God planned us to be. But we are on our way!
The moment man fell, God started the restoration process. He had already provided for everything man needed. This included:
- A relationship with God, intimacy
- A place to live, a home in the garden
- Nourishment as our provider
- An assignment including ownership, stewardship, responsibility
- Boundaries as protection and for obedience
- Fellowship and unity
When man fell, most of this was lost or seriously hampered. But God had planned up front, as he knew what would happen, and did not lose a second to start restoration process.
Never forget that man in the garden was not mature, but at an infancy state. Although he had infinite possibilities – as everything is possible with God.
God could have restored everything in the blink of an eye. But he chose to use a growth process for both the individual and mankind as a whole. Let me use a model called spiral dynamics to give you an idea of what God is doing.
Thinking in Steps and Phases
Just as the life of a man or a woman has different phases or steps with different needs, the horizon of mankind is broadening over the years of our history and will keep on doing so in the future.
The first need of a baby is to be fed and be secure. This is a very egotistical stage. Adam and Eve needed the assurance that they are secure, and for them that also meant to be covered up before each other. And they needed to hear that, even though it will be tough in the future to till the ground, there will be food. Their basic needs were met. This stage, as all stages, has a color code so we can easily identify it and talk about it. Let’s call it beige.
The second phase, purple, recognises that family is important. We see that in the promise of God towards Abraham and Sarah to have a child, and in the name of God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Children recognise that they need family. But everything outside of this group is – strange, dangerous, suspicious. Many things just happen magically. God is a God of wonders. And a God of immediate judgement – just think of Sodom and Gomorrah. The beginning of the phase can be traced back to Noah and his family.
The third phase, red, is adventurous and somewhat cruel. We see this in the story of Moses, in the ten plagues, the way God treats the Egyptians, but also in that the helpless Israelites are freed from oppression. The beginnings of this phase we see in Abraham leaving his home town, his family. A child starts to leave the boundaries of home and the safety of the family to conquer the world – namely the playground and kindergarten.
Moses also marks the beginning of a new phase, blue. It is the phase of order. The individualistic red leader that stood out of the purple tribe now is bound back by law, and the tribes are concatenated and connected by a set of common rules and stories to become one people. The definition both works through commonalities as well as, and sometimes even more by distinction from others. Nations, ethnicities, churches and denominations work this way. This phase can be seen in the stories of the judges – red leaders to restore an early blue community – the kings – a self-chosen red leader structure while God wanted to progress into a blue system of community. But those leaders were kept in check and balances by the law and by prophets and priests. Separation of power is a deeply blue concept. A child starts to be in this phase when introduced to rules, and enters it fully when included in the school system.
Apart from very few individuals, the world and Israel stayed blue through the time of Jesus and even beyond, until the reformation. Obviously, Jesus includes all phases in his personality, and therefore the word of God foreshadows all future phases as well. But both the existing world around the church as well as the church itself was deeply blue with beige, purple, and red subsystems.
This is a principle we will find at all times: earlier phases never wither away. This is easy to see as every man and every woman lives through those phases. But also, there will always be people in each of those phases: beige people beneath poverty limits, purple Africa and indigenous tribes, red communities like the mafia or terrorist organisations, blue political parties like the GOP.
Future Steps after Christ
In the reformation, a new system was born, orange. The individual became the central focal point of the relationship with God. It became clear that belonging to a blue organisation did not suffice. Luther’s sola fide became the seed bed of individual faith and struggle, of performance and doubt, and in Calvin, the soon to be steam engine of progress as an outward and visible sign of the blessings of God. Everything is possible to whoever believes – and soon even without God. Science de-mystified many of the purple and blue believes about and arguments for God. Higher education and entry into business or science often has this effect on a young adult.
The church starts to teach the necessary personal relationship with God, but too often limits this to a personal one time decision and then leads the individual back into the comfort and the boundaries of a mystical blue system. Orange is evil, as it came to the conclusion that God is not necessary, as given enough time and growth in knowledge and understanding, orange can explain everything without including God. Thus, the rules, the doctrine, the fellowship of the church stays blue. And for the first time in history, the church looses its role as a trendsetter and thought leader.
One can argue that the world just grew worse and the church does not have to follow that. True. But orange is not evil in and of itself. it is the answer to a need that is deep within man.
Beige fed the basic needs of survival, Purple met the fear of being lost. Red had an answer for helplessness and powerlessness. Blue met the need of belonging, order and structure instead of chaos. Orange talks to the individual about self-worth and sense. It meets the need to know and to build the future. A people without a vision dies, and they die out of a lack of knowledge.
But orange, just as any phase, has its drawbacks. Red, blue and orange drive on hierarchies. Red had power structures, as seen in communist countries. Blue brought check and balances, but still had priesthood and laity, where the priesthood decided on to be or not to be. Orange had not changed much, and today, eight people own as much as the poorest 3.5 billion people, or half of the world population.
Green came as the next phase. Tolerance but towards the intolerant, égalité, consent, endless discussions to include everybody, political correctness to the death of freedom of speech – this system has its up- and downsides as well. Women’s lib, racial liberation, ecology and environment protection are deeply green needs and expressions, as are alternative energy sources.
The bible includes many of those things. We are stewards of this earth, as Genesis makes clear in the very beginning. There is no Jew nor Greek, no male nor female, no slave nor free. The bible started us on a trajectory the should have led to all of the above birthed by and matured by the church. But we never substantially grew over the limitations of blue.
Sure, we have churches that build committees to decide on color of the carpets and vote on who’s to become pastor. Thus some have implemented the parts of green that are easy to implement, but often poisonous. Within a blue system that defines its limitations by who is right and who is wrong, democratic committees and decisions by consent are prone to cause division. This has borne many denominations.
And yes, there are churches that try to implement team ministries and the priesthood of the saints. But the deeply rooted blue understanding in the rest of the doctrine, and the church members, prevent successful implementation.
The reason for this is to be found in the deep adversity and distrust between all those systems. In the natural, each new step is the reaction to the short comings of the preceding phase. Humanity goes from one extreme to the other. Integral thinking has not entered the scene yet.
The blue church sees the animistic-magical nature of purple. It admires its understanding and almost intuitive grasp of the spiritual world, but ridicules its naivety. It is disgusted by the cruelty and ego-centeredness of red. It despises orange for its headiness, and thus is often satisfied with just believing what it cannot explain, even though its believe has been proven wrong or well explained, but by a mistrusted system. And it hates green for its tolerance and definition of personal and subjective truths. Therefore, let’s stay in what we know and love. It cannot be wrong, because the church was always like this.
Steps yet to come
We have not yet spoken about the next steps. These steps can be seen in the world, but are scarce, with less than 2% of the world population.
They are a reprise of the first six, as far as we can see by now. That is, they cater to the same needs on a global level that have been met in the previous on a personal or community level.
You might have noticed that the former six levels swung from personal to community needs and back. Beige, red, and orange were about personal needs: survival, adventure and power, knowledge and value. While purple, blue, and green were about growing community: family and tribe, value based community, nation or ethnicity, to cause driven supranational organisations and NGOs.
Yellow as the next step now tackles survival again, on a global level. The big problems like migration, poverty, climate change are tackled. Even though yellow again is an individual, personal phase, it has learned that all previous phases are of great value. To tackle the problem of aids in Africa, with purple women ruled by red men, we cannot implement orange or green solutions, as no phase of evolution can be skipped. Blue structures and red/blue solutions will have to do the job. Just an example.
Yellow is a lone wolf, and it introduces hierarchies again. But those hierarchies are problem and task driven and based on competency and fitness for the job. They are under constant change. Yellow thinks systemic-integral.
Turquoise, the following step, gathers those yellow individualists in networks and modern tribes, as they recognise the value in working together. Again the need is not to be lost, just as in purple. Thinking becomes holistic.
Jesus was yellow when he sought the father alone. He prayed to know who to work with in his kingdom and then returned and elected the twelve. And he was turquoise in that he was ready to sacrifice himself for humanity, and to work with imperfect people through his Spirit.
Whatever comes afterwards will be very adventurous and go where no man has gone before. The color is coral. I think of the sons of God that will lead the body of Christ into new realms.
What we learn
There is much more to the restoration process of God than we thought. And sadly enough, the world has conquered the process and met the needs of the people in often ungodly ways as the church refused to take the next steps.
This has hampered and hindered the growth of the kingdom of God substantially.
It is paramount that we change this. Let’s not adopt worldly orange and green, as many do, and outgrow Christendom in either technology and science or tolerance and one world religion. Let’s seek God’s face to find orange, green, yellow, turquoise ways of the kingdom, and whatever comes afterwards.
This might take a while. There are many leaders that have reached higher levels than blue by the preparation of God, even to yellow and turquoise. But again, we cannot as a church skip levels just because our leaders want it. We have to lead our people through the layers of truth, the levels of knowledge and revelation in our search of God and our restoration to true manhood, and womanhood.
Any thoughts? Who is in for a ride?
I am sure that this article is a challenge for many in the church realm. To take a worldly yellow/turquoise model of humanity that has been tested around the world with orange scientific methods and tried in all areas and stages of community, and use it as a strategic tool for change in the kingdom? This is more than a stretch for this blue system that defines itself by stressing all the differences to the world. I am more than interested in your responses.