(Note: this is the Categorie introduction for level 4 or the forth stage in the Path of the Postmodern Cleric.)
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Level 4 the Canopy of Wisdom & Wealth is deceptively simple. Viewed through the lens of Receive/Be/Do/ Have this part of the path is simply about enjoying the fruits of all the work so far. And really that’s it, and more. It’s an elevated state where our lives are impacted our environment with meaning and purpose.
The tricky part is that our minds are well trained to outside-in thinking. From that mindset, this is the first part of a two, or maybe three part life. The culture increasingly insists that you must determine what you want to have and plan actions (branches) that will get you there. It also insists that this is where your skills/talents and other resources exist in one big bag of potential tools that helps or hinders you in pursuit of your dream life.
On a side note, you can’t equate canopy level resources like being born wealthy or in a free country with branch level athletic ability or trunk level intelligence, because they aren’t really melded. Outside-in thinkers say things like, “a black kid with math skills in the ghetto grows up to run numbers for organized crime, a white kid with math skills grows up to be an engineer.” Things like where you’re born and the color of your skin determine what you can do with deeper things. BUT IT’S A LIE.
When we live outside-in then actions arise from the stuff you have including talent, wealth, political connection. That’s the power that gives you the options to choose from. The truth is that most of us have hundreds of options in every situation that we don’t see, or ignore because it doesn’t fit our understanding, or we lack the imagination to see them.
Living inside-out means that most of what we have are the products of the actions we’ve taken, because of who we are. It also means living with the consequences of our decisions.
So the tricky part of the Canopy is learning when to allow outcome-based thinking. The Bible directs us to look at the fruits of actions, but really that’s to know if the heart of someone else was aligned with God. It’s not a call to retroactively repent doing the honourable thing because it didn’t result in the outcome we wanted.
The worst is when we compare ourselves to others and resent our journey because their outcomes look better. We can’t determine if God is blessing us by the blessings others have or the problems they don’t have. In fact, problems are a way to know God is doing something with you. They are a mark of his investment in you, and who makes an investment if they don’t care.
We are called to commemorate the victories God brings to us and that can mean a review of how far God has brought us. We also need to not let go of the desires of our hearts which can take a review of promises yet to be fulfilled. That needs to take place within the context of God’s love so it doesn’t turn negative. It should spur us to anticipation not worry.
Finally, some people are fed by gifts from supporters of their ministry. Some profits have been fed by birds sent directly from God. King David ate the bread offered to the priests. Most of us have a job. The desire of my close friends is to get paid to do something they are uniquely good at and enjoy doing, and also have that be their unique gift to the Kingdom.
It’s hard to focus on doing them all well when you three different life’s works. to bring them all into alignment takes…well an understanding of level 4 in the context of the whole. The purpose of the Cleric Path is to do something with the good things from God. Connection to God is more than just a connection to the source of good things, it’s a context for them, and a timing as well.
Matthew 4 describes Jesus calling his first couple of disciples. They are working at feeding themselves, but Christ calls them into more. Calling is into relationship 1st, identity 2nd, and 3rd is decision & action. The final, and 4th level is abundance–where calling is realized. If we don’t trust God (and his timing) our actions will arise from our perceived needs, and our perception is wrong.
We see through a glass darkly. There’s a lot going on in the canopy and it’s all seemingly important. The only answer to the tyranny of the urgent is to lean not on our own understanding.
Outside-in mindset is to manage all our stuff to maximize our potential to gain what we’re worth. Inside-out mindset is, God-endorsed identity, decisions made in line with him, divine provision or even miracles as needed. That’s the only way to have a mission larger than ourselves. That’s why level 4 Canopy elevates and transcends. That’s how our actions, even simply suffering gracefully, can become an inspiration to others and point to God.
Under Construction–Notes below…
Canopy is the “Have” level of the path and is broken into Twigs, Leaves, Flowers and Fruits.
Fruits are what you give away of your unique self. It’s the way you speak into the lives of others. It’s important to note that you bear fruits either good or bad all the time whether or not you’re trying.
Flowers are about marketing?
Leaves provide energy back to a tree. While the significant good things from God come up from the roots, financial support and relationships do feed us from the outside. Its okay to value and make efforts to cultivate these things, its just not effective to live from outside in, as though it was the deepest, truest thing about you.
Twigs are the support structure that bridges from our branches to the things we bear like fruits and leaves. If we’ve done a lot of work on pruning branches then we have a better chance of not being overwhelmed by all the twigs. Still its really important to walk with God in making tough decisions like which relationships can be healthier with better boundaries and which jobs are worth taking your time away from your family.