Love is the story. Love interrupted hurts. There are signs. That is what I have said so far. So what do I do with that? What I want to do is find a way to view the big story of life in a way that helps me live my life well. I will need three major sections: a view of the world I live in, who I am long term, what I am doing in the short term to improve who I am in the long term in light of the world I life in.
- What is “True”? [good/bad/meaning/purpose/hope]
- Who am I? [identity/character]
- What should I do? [goals/sacrifices/improvements]
I want to live intentionally. If I can keep all three of these concepts in mind simultaneously I can do a better job of staying on track. I believe that anyone should be able to draft a summary of their belief about their best ideas of what is true about life in general, about themselves long term and about their intentional actions to live in the present in light of the their views of life and their own character. My own results are what this book offers.
I use a diagram of a tree planted by a stream to give a clear, accurate and natural representation of a Christian worldview in response to the the painful love story.
C.A.N. is an acronym I learned studying Bible translation. Clear, accurate and natural is the goal of an effective translation.
- Clear = uncluttered. State the essentials with as little distraction as possible.
- Accurate = unchanged. Say enough of the essentials to have what is uncluttered still be faithful to what is being simplified.
- Natural = undistracting. The faithfully simplified translation should sound like it is original to the language it is spoken in, not odd or forced.
How is Crown-Heart-World C.A.N.?
- Clear = Using just a few symbols the whole biblical story, including a personal response and way of life, can be depicted on a notecard.
- Accurate = Biblical theology, a full course of systematic theology, discipleship with a plan for long term transformational growth and more can all be extracted from this concise diagram.
- Natural = It is a picture from Psalm 1, which means it is natural to biblical imagery. It is a fruit bearing tree planted by flowing water which means it is natural to anyone who enjoys scenery.
Oh, the blessed joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
ReNew within the Story
Live like a tree whose leaves are fresh, producing fruit in due season.
ReAlign in the Story
Be intentionally rooted in God’s message of hope revealed in Jesus.
ReThink the Story
God’s message of hope is about love overcoming death.
I have struggled with writing this out for over a decade. One challenge has been my constant checking, and rechecking, to see if it really is as comprehensive and genuine as I thought. It is now being used in various places around the world. Increasingly I am hearing of people I don’t know who are using it consistently and find it to be tremendously helpful.
A friend in Thailand told me they saw Crown-Heart-World being used in a church near Charlotte, NC. Kids use it to process what they are hearing in teaching times. “Daddy, that is column 2, right?”.
I’ve seen a low income apartment ministry use it with kids. I got to watch their end of the summer celebration where one child at a time would get to draw the next symbol and explain it. Not only did they do a great job, it was inspiring to see the eagerness of the kids to be called on to explain it.
I have also seen it picked up by college ministries. Again, this is with nothing but a very simple introductory website. I am aware of Crown-Heart-World being used in Singapore, Thailand, China, Myanmar, the U.K., Guatemala, Brazil and more.
I have taught Crown-Heart-World in mission settings, churches, at missionary Perspectives trainings, as part of my University courses. Probably the most surprising opportunity to test the diagram was at St. Thomas University in Houston, Tx. The world renowned evangelical scholar N.T. Wright was speaking to a relatively small crowd at the catholic university. I sat with him between book signings, and after politely asking about his massive tome on the apostle Paul I asked him if he’d mind evaluating my diagram. He cheerfully agreed, looked at it for a few seconds and said something along the lines of:
“Brilliant. Just make Israel’s history more clear here and show that New Creation is better than the old and it you’ve got it.” — N.T. Wright as remembered by me.
Quality control excuses are all used up. The only remaining excuse has been my uncertainty of how to write it. To me it is a living diagram. Writing it down with prescribed definitions seems to flatten it out and limit it. But that is what happens in a discussion, and like a discussion, one publication does not need to be the end of the exploration.
With all of my hesitancies stated and restated I will now simply do my job and give you a tour. Here we go with a quick sweep through the whole thing. In the following chapters I will zoom in on each symbol’s significance and relation to the other symbols. More importantly, I will connect the symbols to the challenges and opportunities in life.