Speaking of Change

Church should be the place we learn how to change.

Not, “avoid change” — that’s a futile striving for a timelessness that characterizes only God. Neither, therefore, does it mean “we need to learn the capacity to change,” since we’re always already changing anyway.

Not, “celebrate change” — that’s pointless. The canard about “change” manifesting life ignores the fact that we don’t stop changing when we die. “Changing” doesn’t prove anything about how lively or moribund we are, about how imaginative or how faithful we are.

Church should be the place we learn how to change, for we don’t simply know the ways we need to change on our own. Our life shared with God and the saints should shape our wisdom to recognize appropriate and inappropriate change. Life in church should help us let go of mere nostalgia, and should protect us from novelty-mongering. Church should help us understand that what we like isn’t the measure of all things, nor is passive subjection to strictly extrinsic autocracy. If we live the gospel, then the gospel will always be characterized by change (at the same time that it remains recognizably the same gospel, not “another gospel”). In order to avoid our running aimlessly or beating the air, and to avoid our disguising our stubbornness as piety, church should be a place where we learn how to change. And how to disagree about how we should change.

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One Response to Speaking of Change

  1. Laura says:

    what we like isn’t the measure of all things”

    I ended a recent conversation about this by asserting that If it were, I’d be agitating for chocolate-covered host.

    (N.B.: but I’m not)

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