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Revelation and Hype Cycles

Part 3 - Jesus and the Hype Cycle

March 20, 2010

In parts one and two, we looked at an introduction to the Gartner Group Hype Cycle and how it applies to things in the technology field. Also that it's an indicator of human behavior.

And then there was the concept that somehow Jesus fits in with it.

No doubt there's going to be a few changes in the original hype cycle chart in order to have it work within the context of Revelation.

First off - we need a "technology" trigger. So let's lose the word "technology" and just say that the trigger is Jesus. What better trigger?

Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Jn 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

So - in the beginning, Jesus "was". No doubt about whether He was the original trigger. So let's modify the hype cycle chart a little bit:

OK - we have a beginning. We're making the transition from a techno chart to a real life example of the single most important event (“thing”) to ever take place.

Now - remember about the different stages of learning in the tech fields? There are the "newbies", the people with "some experience" and the "experts". No surprise, the same thing exists in the spiritual world of faith in God & Jesus. In this case, the terms sometimes used to describe the levels of faith are "infant", "adolescent" and "mature".

For example, Paul writes this in Hebrews 5:11-14

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Not to say that the intent of what Paul says isn't important, but for this context in this particular article - the point was merely to show the use of infant versus the mature in terms of a measure of relative faith. Not that either is good or bad - because out of context, they mean nothing. The important thing is to even start the journey if you haven't yet begun - and then continue to progress towards maturity.

In any case - we can now add a couple more things to our hype cycle chart:

Now it should begin to make even more sense. As we grow in our faith - our expectations change. They become more grounded in teaching from the Word of God. They become more focused on God and what He desires for and from us.

If we go back now to the original definitions of the 5 stages, we should be able to modify them as well. It might look something like this:

  1. It starts with Jesus - who is no less than "The Beginning". At this point - people don't really know what to expect. Actually - at the very beginning, there weren't any people yet. But when He began His ministry, even with all the prophets of the OT, people had to notice and want to know more.
  2. Next comes the "peak of inflated expectation". That's where there's a whole lot of interest - probably by people who don't know all that much about Jesus - and before you know it, they expect that He can do everything. Whatever problem anyone has - this new Jesus will take care of it. For many people, for example, it didn't matter that He came to be their Heavenly King - or that the eternal life He offered wasn't of this world but of Heaven - people just wanted a King on this earth and wouldn't settle for less.
  3. Following that comes the "trough of disillusionment" - which is when people start to realize that - no, that Jesus really wasn't here to do what they wanted Him to do. Reality sets in (for the first time). This is a dangerous time for Christians. If people's opinion of Jesus get too far out of control - it's a pretty quick swing from He can do everything to He can't do anything.
  4. Then - hopefully - comes the "slope of enlightenment". This is where reality sets in for the second time - hopefully, otherwise the Christianity thing is finished - banished to the scrap heap of good ideas that never quite lived up to expectations, whether they worked or not being irrelevant. This time, reality is more likely to be "real" reality - no wild expectations either way - people know Jesus won't do everything they want or exactly when they want, but also realize that He can do something incredibly important - the single most important thing - save their eternal souls!
  5. Finally, if the Christianity thing survives this long - it reaches the "plateau of productivity". It has a purpose - people have figured it out - and they like it. All is well, right? Well - not so fast there. It doesn't show on the chart, but there is the very real possibility that this Christianity "thing" can become such a routine way of life that people forget what it was all about in the first place. They take it for granted - they don't really remember why they liked it so much before - and the next thing anyone realizes, it's pretty much forgotten about. It's yesterday's "thing" - and now people want today's "thing". No matter that it's not the same - no matter that it isn't as good - it's today's and that's all that counts.

Interesting, isn't it? It was to me - still is - and hopefully is to you as well. BTW - since we have Jesus as the beginning - there is one more thing we can know as well:

Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

And not to really get ahead of things, since this is all about Revelation, there's always:

Rev 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

So we know the end too - and it is also Jesus. And now our hype cycle chart looks like this:

Next thing is to start getting something from the Book of Revelation added to the chart. But it's getting late, so that'll have to be part 4.