Don’t change

Upheaval is all around us. A messy dark age of misinformation, distraction, and willfulness dominates us. Civilization trembles. Impregnable institutions collapse while power brokers ride the waves at a mad pace. In the midst of all this, for anything still trying to call itself a “church,” it is a terrifying time to be in business, much less to actively sail against the tide.

But is any of it truly new? Or do we merely believe it to be so? To be sure, compared to memories of those greener pastures of only a few decades ago, pews are emptier, congregation budgets are dwindled, and church doors are closing. There’s no question about that. It all looks authentically bleak.

Yet what we must consider is what precisely the bleakness means. Have the times really changed? Is the Church actually dying? Are we truly in danger of being subsumed beneath a new, ominous culture of evil? Or is the only real difference a matter of our perspective?

Is the only real change the fact that we have convinced ourselves that times have changed?

Change is often spoken of as if it is a god. Some fear it and avoid it at all cost. Others trust it implicitly, regardless of the results. Whichever side of the coin you are on, if Christianity is a holy spirituality founded to outlast even the end of the world, aren’t we overreacting a bit?

It’s kind of like watching sailors on a boat far from shore. They notice signs of a storm approaching. But rather than batten down the hatches, they decide that now would be a good time to renovate the whole boat from the nave up.

“Anchors? Who needs anchors? Hey you! That sail is a bit medieval, don’t you think? And ropes? Ropes are sexist. Toss those overboard, quick, ye scurvy dogs! We need to change …or die!”

But does the approaching storm warrant this? Will any old changes help, or would some changes be useful while others only make the situation worse? Are these questions even being asked?

Find more goodness in Without Flesh, available here.

Till angel cry and trumpet sound,

Jonathan Fisk

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