Thursday 27 August 2015

Global Integrators--16

The Preeminent Pantocrator
Connection vs Contention

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, 
"who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Revelation 1:8 NASB


We think that the time is coming for a diversity of colleagues to come together intentionally, visibly, and practically on behalf of global integration (GI). GI put simply is how we skilfully integrate our lives and values on behalf of the issues facing humanity. Likewise we think that the time is coming for colleagues to carefully reflect and act on what it means to be good global learners-practitioners--to seriously consider what it means to be what we are calling global integrators (GI-People).

This entry continues the focus on how values are a core part of the lives/work of global integrators. It builds upon the previous entry on values (17 June 2015) and specifically looks at an ultimate, highest value.

For many colleagues in the faith-based community, the highest value is actually a person—God. For Christians like myself, knowing, loving, and serving God is understood to be the foundational value in life. So this spiritual value is not simply a minority  or dissenting, "view" within humanity, as Christians of all backgrounds make up over one-third of the world’s population--not to mention the great majority of the world--nearly 6.5 billion--who profess a religious faith (Christianity 2015, Johnson et al., IBMR, January 2105).

One of the titles for God and Jesus Christ that I especially find meaningful is the Pantocrator. It means “The Almighty". This term is used throughout the Old Testament (Septuagint version--Greek) and 10 times in the New Testament (included in this entry’s opening quote). More information here:

Concerning Jesus Christ, the New Testament is replete with other descriptions that are in line with the references to His being the Almighty, such as this by Paul: “…all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together…so that he might have the first place in everything.” (Col. 1: 16-18, NASB). So it is ultimately His “first place”/and "preeminence"  in everything—His glory as the Almighty—that can be seen as the guiding, foundational value for Christians. Christians who are global integrators are thus intimately linked to Jesus Christ the Preeminent Pantocrator as they seek to concretely emulate His love for all people.

Is this emphasis on Jesus Christ divisive for GI? Hopefully not. Rather, it can be a great way to openly share values (including ultimate values--putting them on the table) as we work together and pursue “common ground for the common good.” I remain positive: I see relationship with the Pantocrator and modeling His love as being a helpful way to connect with GI colleagues from all backgrounds. So I approach this core life value with respect for others' values/worldviews, and thus it is usually an aligning point of connection more than an alienating point of contention.*

Final Thought
“For many [colleagues], healthy spirituality, including faith in God, is fundamental to their well-being and work effectiveness. For others, it can involve transcendent principles rather than referencing God per se. Some examples of these principles would be to “do good and do no harm” as derived from the Hippocratic Oath in the health-care fields, the “humanity principle” of the International Red Cross /Red Crescent Movement and similar groups which emphasizes protecting life and health without discrimination, the social responsibility commitment in the business/corporate sector to both “do well” (making money) and to “do good” (helping humans) (e.g., see Crutchfield and Grant 2012), the guiding sociopolitical value of“enlightened self-interest” emphasizing the well-being of others as one seeks his or her own benefit, or other benevolent principles reflected in one’s life philosophy. The point is that there are lots of points—connecting points—when crossing sectors!” Charting Your Course Across the Sectors, Kelly O’Donnell, page 9, Global Member Care (volume 2): Crossing Sectors for Serving Humanity (2013)
*For more information on religious values in GI-related work, see the materials in the August 2015 Global Integration Update, Faith-Based Partners in Transformation. Some examples:

--Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism, edited by Michael Barnett and Janice Gross Stein (2012)
--Faith and Religion in Humanitarian Action: Improving Cooperation and Effectiveness, Webinar organized by Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (June 2015)
--Faith-Based Humanitarians, Wilfred Mlay, Humanitarian Exchange, July 2004

Note from November 2015: We changed the title of this entry and the term for Christ--from "precious" to "preeminent" in order to better fit what Pantokrator means. Christ is still just as precious of course! 

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