Learning from the KoruDecember 7, 2005
I was reading a portion of Steve Taylor’s new book, “The Out-of-Bounds Church” and he remarks about something he calls “Koru Theology”. The Koru is a fern that grows in the South Pacific and is one of the primary symbols of New Zealand.
Here is a picture of a Koru…notice the repetitive shape, and how much it follows the designs of fractal geometry.
Here is just a portion of what Taylor says about the concept pictured by this fern:
“At the heart of the fern sits a tiny, curled frond. If it’s given space, it unfurls…and the fern cannot grow unless it is given a clear path toward the sun. So the Maori burn off undergrowth to encourage new life. The cycles of death and decay are the compost of the new. This is Koru Theology.”
Taylor’s book is about new concepts of understanding our relationship with God and what the Church will look like in the next few generations. He comments on how today’s church often focuses on the past and its failures. The Koru promises that if someone is given enough light (Truth directly from God) and space (the place to make mistakes), they will grow and create something that has never existed before, a shape never seen. He believes that we hinder each other’s growth by insisting that people focus their lives on the structures of the past and examples from the past instead of being birthed into new examples of what Christ wants to build upon this earth.
In another place, Taylor says,
“Koru theology invites us to discover the possibilities of who we might become rather than dwelling on who we have been. The brokenness of the past needs to become the ground upon which the new life is built.”
I believe that Taylor is seeing something profound. There is a tendency in any human endeavor to rely upon traditions for acceptable behavior. Unfortunately, the primary purpose of Tradition is not behavior but passing down unchangeable truth. For instance, one generation might pass down the truth that the Bible is a valuable guide for life and practice. For some people, that might mean sticking to a particular translation of the Bible because it represents good scholarship and accurate rendering of the Greek and Hebrew into English. For another generation, that might mean having the Bible on PDA, CD, Computer, iPod, Cell Phone and Screen Saver. These are new ways to honor the Bible that the last generation would never have thought of.
I recently had someone tell me that they thought computers were evil because they were used for Pornography and that we shouldn’t put the Bible there. The same case could be made for paper, since that is where porn started, isn’t it?
Look at the Koru and see your future. If given space, you can be whatever God wants you to be.