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How to Ride the Zeitgeist: The Formula for Influence, Part 5
2023-08-17 Invite Champions Weekly
1. The Next Season Has Already Begun
Unlike the four seasons of the Western tradition, ancient Japan had 72 kō or micro-seasons, each about 5 days long. Each characterized a moment in time within a larger meteorological trend. Today the micro season is 寒蝉鳴 “Higurashi naku”, when the Evening Cicadas Sing. (Yep. Check out the exo-skeletons that litter our front yard. They’re horrific looking.)
Higurashi naku is part of the fortnight labeled 立秋 Risshū “Beginning of Autumn”, though we wouldn’t know it here in Texas–although I can relate to the fact that what the ancient Japanese called the beginning of autumn is actually wedged between two micro seasons called “Greater Heat” and “Manageable Heat”.
While describing mid-August as the beginning of autumn may seem to be culturally and geographically specific and wrong for much of America—especially here in Texas where it’s forecasted to be 108 tomorrow—consider this: the next season actually begins long before you see it.
By the time you know it is autumn, you are already halfway through it.
The beginning of every season still feels like the previous season. When it finally feels like the season you’re supposed to be in, it passes in a flash. People complain: autumn is only a few weeks long! No, actually, it began when it still felt like summer, and ends when it feels like winter.
Today’s bottom line: Our ability to influence others is heavily tied to our awareness of the next season, which has already begun. What are you doing to prepare?
The moment in time in which we find ourselves is also known as the zeitgeist, a German term for the dominant mood of the culture at any given time. It is the moment in time we find ourselves. Our ability to influence others is heavily tied to our awareness of the zeitgeist. The problem is, it’s constantly changing. How do you keep up? Some people seem to have a knack for this.
If the ancient Japanese farmer was to properly prepare his crops for the spring season, he did not wait until the obvious kō moment arrived—he was planning long before. The moment in time comes quickly. It goes just as quickly. If you are to make the most of the moment, you need to know the season in which you find yourself.
Champions make the most of every moment. How do some authors always seem to have a book coming out when the thought trend is hitting its peak? One example of this is Invite Press author Jason Moore, who released a book on hybrid worship in early 2022, and now has a book on AI coming in 2024.
Authors like Jason are reading the signs of the season. You may feel like you’re still in the same season you’ve been in for a while, but chances are, the next season has already begun. Do you have eyes to see the signs?
Here’s today’s takeaway: To make the most of the moment, you must start looking for it long before it is obvious.
2. Championing Invite: The Next Thing
At Invite, we are constantly looking at the zeitgeist. What is the kō of the moment? Are we doing all we can to recognize and maximize it?
One of the signs of the moment right now to many of you, our authors and supporters, is a rapidly changing church context. Consider all we’ve been through in the last few years:
COVID-19 interrupted the status quo
Radical changes in technology and new political realities have impacted culture
Economic uncertainty compounded an already declining context for most congregations
Congregational disaffiliations from the United Methodist Church (UMC) have dominated the conversation in Methodism
In light of all of this, what is next? We are in a spirit of prayer about the moment in which we find ourselves, and we are looking for what is coming next. As we listen to the evening cicadas sing, what is the micro season coming soon? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.