Two women bishops consecrated
Consecration service in Canterbury Cathedral.  photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

What material would you use to train the CoE? On second thoughts don’t answer that!

One model currently being used is called Spiral Dynamics in an evolved version of the model called Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi). Spiral Dynamics fits into the organisational development spectrum of social sciences. Developed by Clare Graves in the 1970s it was taken up and popularised in the mid-1990s by Beck and Cowan. They had an intellectual split when Beck chose to integrate Spiral Dynamics with Ken Wilbur’s integral theory. This birthed the SDi which, unlike the original, is a developmental model of ideals. SDi includes so-called Second Tier thinking – represented in the below table by levels 7 and 8, whereas Graves evidenced based research had stopped at the Green level 6.

SDi thinking is controversial and fundamentally changes the way Graves saw his model, but it provides a fascinating framework for brining leaders together and getting them to think about the benefits of each ‘level of consciousness’. It suggests that there is a development level beyond Fowler’s universalism, and that, in most contexts, ministering with a simpler understanding of the gospel than you acquired at theology college is going to be helpful…

I’ll try and summarise and explain Spiral Dynamics in a separate post. I’ll also try and post the beginnings of a critique – especially of the integral theory and the influence of Ken Wilbur (cf here)- as well as consider how useful the model could be for thinking about organisational change and for evangelism / mission today.

But for now I want to pause and note the genius of using this framework for bringing together such disparate group of leaders as can be found in the CoE. It brings insights without proscriptive boxing, allows for diversity within unity, and for a contextualised leadership approach that makes sense of the huge variety of settings and people that we call find ourselves engaging with. Spiral dynamics is a fascinating way of getting a wide range of leaders together, and enabling them to see their particular worldview may only be one among many that are needed to help reach out to a diverse society.

Hope you enjoy reading up on it. YouTube and podcast links in the following articles.


Spiral Dynamics Table

spiral dynamics 2