Revelation and Hype Cycles – Introduction


This is from something that I actually started about 7 years ago. That would be two churches before where I am now – and a whole lot of growth later. But – when my wife & I were cleaning up the garage the other day, I saw some of the old stuff and it got me thinking. Then I was cleaning up some stuff off my old computer and came across some more of it.

Actually - that was written March 19, 2010.
It's now August 24, 2016 - about six and a half years after that.
So this whole project actually got started more than 13 years ago.
I'll put the 2016 updates in text like this so you can identify it.

Since that time, I've used this series as part of our Sunday adult Bible Study.
They liked it.  It was different.  Made them think.
Hopefully - it'll do the same for you.

One disclaimer - temporary, at least.
I need to put up the first four parts of this, 
since I also used them to talk about a concept that C S Lewis used in The Screwtape Letters.
Here, I thought I had come up with this great idea.  
Only to find that someone far better than me had already come up with it and used it.

If you’re interested in The Screwtape Letters, the Study Guide information is here.

Anyway – now I can’t let go of it, so it’s time to get it all out – kind of start over – and see where it goes.

The key to the whole thing is this diagram:

For those of you in the Information Technology field, maybe you recognize this little diagram. Something like it may very well exist in other areas too, but this is where I got it from.

There’s a technology consulting / advising company called the Gartner Group – and they use this thing to talk about the life cycle of products in the field. It’s called the hype cycle and it was a really big deal when it first came out back in 1995. Now, there’s even an entry in Wikipedia for it. The introduction from Wikipedia says:

Since 1995, Gartner has used hype cycles to characterize the over-enthusiasm or “hype” and subsequent disappointment that typically happens with the introduction of new technologies.[2] Hype cycles also show how and when technologies move beyond the hype, offer practical benefits and become widely accepted. According to Gartner, hype cycles aim to separate the hype from the reality, and enable CIOs and CEOs to decide whether or not a particular technology is ready for adoption.

Now you may be wondering – so what does this have to do with God, let alone Revelation? And anyway – why should I care?
Excellent question! (If you asked it.
If not – why not? Remember – it’s good to question! It’s necessary to make sure you are looking for the correct God!

Anyway – here are some of the names from the Bible that should make you interested in this hype cycle:
Him who holds the seven stars in his right hand
Him who is the First and the Last
Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword
Whose eyes are like blazing fire
Him who holds the seven spirits of God
Who holds the key of David
The Amen

Intrigued? Just in case there’s even the slightest doubt about who this is – here’s one more:
Him who died and came to life again

Wow! Jesus is interested in the hype cycle? Who knew? Since Gartner thought they came up with the idea, guess they didn’t know. At least I don’t remember ever hearing them give Him credit for it when I was at any of the presentations – or in any of their documents that I read. And yet – it’s in the Bible. It’s in Revelation. And it’s part of the reason that I find this book so fascinating. It’s such a great study of human behavior – how so many of us have this incredible knack to miss what should be obvious. And it’s now new. Revelation was written by John – some years after Jesus returned to Heaven – on the island of Patmos. It’s a beautiful island – and the view is awesome from the top – although absolutely nothing can be seen from inside the cave. And it is a tinly little cave. I was there many years ago – and I have to say it’s really cool to actually be at the place where my favorite book was given to John by God Himself. Awesome.

Some time after I wrote this, I read what is now one of my favorite books – The Screwtape Letters, by C S Lewis.  It looks at the interactions between Screwtape (a devil) and his nephew Wormwood (a devil in training) as Wormwood tries to corrupt his “patient” (a human) and turn the patient towards their “Father Below” (Satan) instead of the “Enemy” (God).  C S Lewis uses something he calls the “law of undulation” to show how / where / when the devils attack us and when we are most open to reaching out to God / being used by God.  It is very much in line with the Hype Cycle.  I had no idea the concept was so often used!

Anyway – back to the hype cycle. When you look at it from the human behavioral point of view – it makes sense that the hype cycle and Revelation would have so much in common. After all – while Gartner presumes to know people in the IT field very well – who knows more about all of us than the One who created us? (Answer: no one.)

I just checked to verify that the linked page still exists and has relevant information.  It’s there, with an interesting comment.  It now says that the industry has some problems with this model, since it doesn’t really reflect the readiness / productiveness of the actual technology product.  This is absolutely true – and always has been.  We used to use it not to gauge whether we were ready for the product (or the product ready for us), but whether the product was likely to be widely adopted and therefore successful.  For us, it was always about the marketplace – the companies and the people – not about the product.  As we go through this study – you’ll see that a mindset like that is very much the way I used this “tool” when looking at the Seven Letters in Revelation.  The “product” – Jesus, in our case – was never questioned.  The question was – in any given church (environment / group of people / even one person – were they ready for Jesus.  If anything, it confirms that the use of this Hype Cycle concept has been validated by its results in the technology field.  It really did turn out to be about the people, not the product – whether that product is a new computer chip or Jesus.

You may not really understand what I just wrote – but keep it in mind as you continue through the series.

So stay tuned – go for a little stroll through the world of the hype cycle and us (people). See where you fit in. See where you want to fit in. If you’re like me, you’ll never look at these things the same way again. I was quite amazed at how something I used so much at work actually described all of us and our approach to God – something devised by people to describe behavior in one very technical field – and yet one that parallels exactly the words that Jesus Himself used in the final Book of the Bible. Awesome.

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