As i prepare to leave TMP and the comfort of my role there, i was determined to finish Mark Batterson's 'in a pit with a lion on a snowy day' ...and i'm glad i did!!
..there in the middle of ch.8 entitled the importance of looking foolish, i came across a concept i've never heard of before... my new favorite word... neoteny!
neoteny is "the retention of youthful qualities by adults."
it gets better...
"Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas identify neoteny as an indispensable quality of leadership in their book Geeks and Geezers.
Neoteny is more than retaining a youthful appearance... ..it is the retention of those wonderful qualities that we associate with youth: curiosity, playfulness, eagerness, fearlessness, warmth, energy...Batterson's point was to encourage us, as Jesus did, to "become like little children."
Unlike those defeated by time and age... [neotonists are] open, willing to take risks, hungry for knowledge and experience, courageous, eager to see what the new day brings." -(batterson, p.154)
Now here is what you need to understand. Neoteny isn't just a nice concept about people who age well or lead well. Neoteny is at the very heart of what the kingdom of God is all about.
I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. -(Matthew 18:3)
there's something freeing and wonderful to me that the gospel message includes childlikeness!!! ..as adults we can become so stuffy and puffed up, over-concerned about work and duties and looking like we have it all together.. I've been caught there too many times myself.
We internalize limits. We grow up and grow old. What is worse, we become small people with a small God.
I think part of Neos is regaining the limitlessness of youth. Regaining the idea that we have been created by a limitless God to have limitless dreams and imaginations! (batterson, p. 155)
what limits are you listening to?