1.2 A Quick Tour of Psalm 1 Tree via Crown Heart World Diagram

Crown Heart World — 1 Page Christian Worldview

From the bottom up we have three major components:

Living water at the bottom represents God’s revelation. In Psalm 1 it is a stream that gives life to the tree. God’s Word gives life to us in terms of understanding truth and grace for living meaningful lives.

Roots and a single tree trunk in the middle represent one’s identity. Knowing about God and his Word is one thing, being planted firmly in that story is what causes growth.

Leaves extended by fruit bearing limbs represents cycles of growth. The fruit we are to bear is summed up by Jesus as love, with God and humanity, to the benefit of all creation and to the glory of the Creator.

ReThink. The Story in 5 Columns

The biblical Story begins with a couple in a garden and ends with a multitude in a garden city. God is present and blessing his people and all of creation in the beginning and the end of the Story. We live somewhere in the middle of the Story revealed in the Bible. Our part of the Story includes all sorts of uncertainties, challenges and loss. Our part of the Story also includes signs of beauty, meaning and hope.

The Crown-Heart-World diagram of the overall biblical Story* is arranged in 5 vertical columns. Each column represents an aspect of the biblical Story.

  1. Creation, how things ought to be.
  2. Separation, how things are.
  3. Redemption, how God in Christ confronts how things are to renew them to what they ought to be.
  4. Transformation, how life in Christ is now.
  5. Completion, how Christ’s renewal of all things will be.
1.2.3._.5. The practical focus of Crown-Heart-World is Column 4.

The purpose of laying out the Story like this is to keep the focus personal and practical. As interesting as the debates around Column 1 can be, they frequently miss the point. Whenever and however human life was formed, the pressing question is about who we are and why we are. Genesis 1 and 2, along with other references to creation like Psalm 100 are meant to orient us toward God as the source of life and hope.

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. — Psalm 100

The symbol of the crown is to represent God. The heart is for humanity, created in God’s image. 1 John 4:8 tells us:

God is love.

The circle at the bottom of the first column represents all of the rest of creation; everything that exists.

Column 2 will develop what went wrong with the world we experience now. This is a crucial part that validates why so many of us struggle with religion (or philosophy) that tries to explain everything. Oversimplifications do not seem true or useful.

Column 3 is a concise reduction of the ancient history of promises about a Creator coming to rescue creation from the doom it has brought on itself. This is where we see the specific claims of Jesus as the Messiah.

Column 5 is the vision of where the Story is headed. What is the “bliss” that is promised from a Christian worldview? A hugely important correction here is redirecting visions of an eternal disembodied heaven back to earth. The actual biblical hope is of Heaven & Earth reconciled such that God, humanity and creation flourish together. That is the way life ought to be.

Column 4 is now. Right before Jesus left his disciples he told them to focus on their life here and now. The disciples, like so many religious people who get excited about truths we hear and wonder about, wanted to focus on what God will one day do. What we need to hear is that God does not need our supervision. He commanded us to do two things. Give and receive love with God and with those created in the image of God.

Column 4 focuses on how we can do what God calls us to do. Christ changes our identity and restores our hearts. Then we should simply grow through:

Faith — looking back to see how God has been faithful

Hope — looking forward to celebrate our future hope and

Love — looking outward to love a hurting world Jesus-style.

In Christ — Growing in Faith, Hope & Love

ReAlign in the Story

The 5 Column Story Grows the Tree

The 3 primary symbols of Crown-Heart-World also represent 3 basic human needs:

  1. Crown=spiritual needs.
  2. Heart=relational needs.
  3. World=physical needs.

The combination of physical, relational and spiritual are like the primary colors of blue, red and yellow. From just 3 essentials we get an unlimited myriad. This is true of colors, this is also true of our most basic human needs.

The tree roots connect my personal story to God’s overall Story. Column 4 in the Story is where Christ set my heart upright and began to transform me. My rootedness in him started very simply. I received his love as best I understood and gladly declared him the ultimate authority in my life.

That simple declaration that “Jesus is Lord” gets extended over time as a grow. The trunk grows upward and my roots grow downward. Over time I increase my understanding and application of my reliance on Jesus. Just like he taught those who follow him to pray, I increasingly trust him with daily physical needs, with daily relational needs and with daily spiritual needs.

1 Identity and allegiance to God: Our Father in heaven, Holy be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as in heaven.

3 Rooted applications of that allegiance and trust:

  1. Physical needs to stay alive: Give us this day our daily bread.
  2. Relational needs to connect: Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
  3. Spiritual needs to be faithful = Do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from evil .

ReNew in the Story

Considering the Story and then aligning with God revealed in Jesus within the story is for a purpose. We are created for love. We have been separated from ultimate Love, God. God enters into humanity to rescue and restore humanity to God as a partaker of humanity. Now we are to get back to our original mission in life. We are to get good at giving and receiving appropriate love.

The fruitful tree top diagrams how spiritual growth takes place in cycles over time. To be reconciled to God is to be productive but at peace. We are not to be driven, rather, we produce fruit in due season through abiding. The rootedness in the Story of God forming his people within creation rises up wisdom and power through my connection to him like roots bringing water to the leaves and ultimately to the fruit.

The growth cycle at the tree top is simple.

  1. The star at the top is what we value, or treasure. When Christ’s character as the model for human character is what we delight in. That begins each cycle of growth and productivity.
  2. The minus sign to the right shows what conflicts with what we value. Practically speaking we have habits of coping with life that are not ideal. Christ provides a way to replace those habits.
  3. The plus sign at the bottom is where we begin to add Christ’s ways of dealing with the challenges of life as a replacement for the worldly ways we tend to just pick up. This are learned by study and practice, in community with others. We are meant to be a grove of trees in a healthy spiritual ecosystem.
  4. The double arrow on the left indicates how these character developments are lived out. This is where the fruit of love, in various forms, bears fruit.

Galatians 5 describes the outworking of this cycle like this:

What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

How do these connect?

The Story of Faith AND Doubt

Life is confusing. I continually try to process good and bad experiences, whether my own or of others. I try to understand where is the meaning in it all. I ask if there is any hope. I want to know the direction to go in order to live life well.

The longer I live the more convinced I am that the Story revealed in Jesus is both true and mysteriously frustrating. It is not unbiblical for me to say this. The Old Testament has whole books dedicated to the dilemma of “God; can’t live with him, can’t live without him.” What is more, each of the 4 gospels announcing that we should understand and trust Jesus as the key to life end with acknowledging disciples struggling with doubts. That is amazing and important to me.

Faith is about informed trust, about allegiance and love, not about logical and necessary certitude. This applies to every religious claim and the claims of the anti-religious. There are exactly zero worldview options that do not include a tension between confidence for faith and uneasy unresolved problems create doubt. I personally find the faith/doubt dynamic in Jesus more trustworthy and compelling than any other alternative.

A Personal and Meaningful Allegiance

What I do with my doubt and faith is make a decision. Every meaningful thing I have done in life included hesitations that threatened to end an adventure before it started. 26 years into marriage I am glad that my confidence was greater than the alternative. My allegiance to Jesus as the connection between human life and transcendent meaning goes even further back. By God’s grace I am decisively committed to my identity with Jesus.

ReThinking the Story leads to a decision to ReAlign clearly. The rootedness symbols extending down from the trunk are a reminder of that clear loyalty but also of the calling to go deeper in trusting Jesus in practical ways.

I have physical cravings and appetites. Year after year I want to trust Jesus’ teaching and presence for how I deal with these dynamics. I want to enjoy life in a way that is healthy. I want to be unashamed about how I live. I have learned a lot; I am still learning.

I have grown deeper in trusting Jesus and his teachings regarding human relationships. I am less prone to offense and anger than I used to be. I am more confident in how to extend mercy to anyone without enabling things that are harmful to them or others.

My spiritual loyalties will be tested until the day I die. My three biggest spiritual loyalty temptations are:

  1. Drift without focus or discipline to actually follow Jesus meaningfully.
  2. Abandon faith in God entirely and declare that life is a meaningless phenomena of matter and energy over time; nothing more.
  3. Blur faith commitments to God as he reveals in Jesus to accommodate other concepts of transcendence.

Intentional Growth Cycles Rising Up

The tree imagery helps me stay focused on long term loyalty and character development. This is true in terms of deepening rootedness but also in terms of intentional growth patterns. Personal will is involved in growth much like in sailing. Turning the sails harnesses the power of the wind, in the same way intentional focus on what matters, and then following through in action, makes use of the power of God that is already available.

The more I study and reflect on God’s character that is ultimately revealed in Jesus, the more my values are challenged. As I treasure his values I anticipate and nauseating conflict within myself. Like strong medicine, or physical therapy, discomfort is part of the process of overcome what is wrong.

The symbols help me to be aware of why different reactions are happening within me during times of growth. This keeps me on task to actually be transformed in such a way that I am not “faking it” when I extend mercy to others. It is who I become, more and more, as I cycle through seasons of growth.

What’s Next?

This quick tour through the single page diagrams sets the tone for what Crown-Heart-World is about. What will follow will be a series of more detailed descriptions of each part of the diagram and how it relates to life.

After detailing the specific components of {ReThink|ReAlign|ReNew} I will also provide some examples of how these can be used in daily devotions, discipleship, evangelism, systematic theology and more.

*Notes:

  • “Story” is capitalized to highlight God’s revealed meta-narrative. I emphasizing the coherence of the whole for the purpose of maintaining focus on appropriate priorities in life. Many stories are in the Bible, and in our lives. The key to the “Story” is that it claims to reveal meaning, direction and purpose for all other stories.
  • Various examples of the diagrams have slightly different variations. Those will be explained in each element’s more detailed section.