Members of the Messiah community share their thoughts on change
I am not sure we can identify “stages” which can be anticipated and thus lessen the shock factor. Indeed, that may be an unhelpful notion playing into the idea that change is to be avoided or assuming somehow humans have a significant control over change. We are invited to participate in change, but we aren’t in charge of change. Rather, there is a very good theological concept to keep in mind when we face change: God is in the long, and sometimes painful, process of transforming and redeeming the whole of the Creation, and transforming necessitates change. Therefore, we need to assume there will be change, and since God is involved, ultimately bringing good out of evil and redemption out of bondage, most change has potential to be positive. This is especially true, I believe, if we take seriously the divine invitation to serve as God’s ambassadors for the Kingdom of God (2 Cor. 5:16-21). I suppose I would want to argue for the need to “expect” change, i.e. transformation, and learn how to embrace and facilitate it…for God’s glory.
Again, I think I would want t put a spin on this question. As I look at my “faith”, if I am honest, I am struck by how shabby it is. It is there and it is real, but ultimately it is rather feckless. Unfortunately, I am convinced I am “normal”, and that means most people’s faith is faltering, especially in the face of upheaval and change. Therefore, we need to learn to not depend upon ourselves and our faith. One of my favorite sayings is this: “I am not saved so much by my faith as I am saved by God’s faithfulness.” A version of this axiom can and should be operative as we face change. It isn’t our faith which primarily moves us through turbulent times. It is God’s faithfulness to us and more importantly to God’s faithfulness to the divine nature as a living redeemer God. There is a lot of hope to be found when one realizes one isn’t alone.
Well, again I’d return to the theological notion that God is intent on changing the world and the Church has been gathered together as the community of faith which seeks to facilitate movement toward that end goal of transformation. In addition to looking forward to the final day of fulfillment, the Church has a responsibility to continue communicating the ancient Gospel message in forms which are accessible to the constantly changing cultures in which it exists. I would encourage the Church to stop thinking about how to respond to change and begin thinking about how to begin being the change for what God intends.
Professor of Christian Ministry and Spirituality
Director of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist and Wesleyan Studies
Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Next