Recently I heard a new business term used by Mark Cuban (one of the sharks on the TV show Shark Tank). After researching the word, I learned that it has been “current” for some time now. The term is: disruption. In the business word, disruption means a radical change in an industry or business strategy, especially involving providing a new product or service that creates a new market. Some powerful business disruptions have been globalization and the rapid advance of technology. For Mark Cuban, disruption means investing in a new business that would change an old way of doing business. Current business examples would be Uber and Lyft vs.taxi cabs or Amazon vs.Fed Ex. And, of course, 2016’s best political example is the rise of Donald Trump vs. the political establishment.
I was fascinated by the use of this term, so I looked up its definition. Disruption means to:
- throw something into disorder
- interrupt the normal course or unity of something
- cause something to be unable to continue in the normal way
- impede the progress of something
- drastically alter or destroy the structure of something
- cause confusion or play havoc with something
As I pondered this word, I decided that the result of disruption could be either good or bad depending on the eye of the beholder and whether he or she is beholding now or looking back to the past.
And then it came to me! Jesus, following in the tradition of Ezekiel and Jeremiah and Hosea et.al., was the Great Disruptor. He came into a Hebrew world ruled by the Romans and given cultural and religious expression by the Pharisees. And he turned it upside down. He disrupted the legal requirements created by the religious leaders: (not working on Sunday, following your heart for God not religious laws, loving not fearing God.) He disrupted the definition of success by saying that the first will be last and the last will be first. He loved and respected those deemed unlovable and “less than” – including the poor, the fraudulent and criminal, the stranger and the those of the wrong “tribe,” and, yes, even women. He stood out from the crowd because of his unwillingness to bow to public opinion and criticism, while remaining respectful, loving, and forgiving – even on the cross.
Most Christians believe that their goal in life is to become like Jesus. If that is true, then we are all called to become disrupters in our own little worlds – while remaining respectful and loving and forgiving. In a recent post on the blog Inward Outward, Kayla McClurg describes the plight of the widow as told in Luke 18: 1-8. The widow is not satisfied with the response from her justice system to a complaint she had against “an adversary.” But she keeps pestering the judge until he says he will give her justice. The “powerless” widow stood up for herself and her cause. McClurg says,
We must dare to grow up, to stand steady before the powers, to pester and provoke them when necessary, to be a wedge under the foundation. Even though our efforts might be as small as the widow’s, the wall does shift. Justice depends on our being adult enough to act on our small part.
Loving God, being like Jesus, and obeying the Holy Spirit can mean to “stand steady before the powers,” to become someone who provokes, who becomes a “wedge under the foundation” of a wall that God does not want. As McClurg says, if we do our “small part,” the walls, big or little, may shift and God’s will may be done.