For over a thousand years the Church has been a preservationist institution seeking to encase previous elements of its past – including architecture, worship, music, and doctrines – in the amber of memory and codified use. But if evolution and geologic perspective tells us anything it is that yesterday’s strengths may well become tomorrow’s weaknesses. Preservationist thinking and behavior has been and is leading to the severe decline of Christianity in the Western Hemisphere.
Change, not for its own sake but adjusting to, anticipating, and leading variations in the environment and culture, is the current we need to embrace not preservationism. That does not mean we cannot or should not preserve elements of the past we cherish and can learn from, but it does mean that we become mindful about the present and live in it most appropriately.
One of the tasks of leadership in church, for clergy and laity, is to help create and lead a culture of change within the institution; whether the local parish or the larger judicatory. A culture of change welcomes and responds to movements and currents around us in the society and world, adjusting and adapting previous language, music, art, and theology to what is being learned and experienced in the community in the present. It allows us to be responsive and even proactive instead of reactive and defensive.
It is hard work to bend, cajole, inspire, and lead a preservationist institution into adopting a culture of change but the reward is vibrancy, enthusiasm, passion, and growth. It is not accomplished without bruises and loss, but as with most things we uncover its value when we invest ourselves deeply and personally.
All of this is true of subversivepreacher.org as well.
For those of you who have been subscribers and friends of subversivepreacher.org over the years you will notice some changes on the website.
Missing in Action:
- Friday Prep for Preachers & Hearers
- Song Therapy
- Denim Spirituality
New or Adapted:
- Slightly different Home Page with the Menu options on top for greater ease
- “The Author,” featuring “Spiritual Writing/Spiritual Practice” (this is actually a link to my author website and incorporates the ideas behind “Denim Spirituality”)
- The Rant
- Sermons (now under the title of “The Pulpit”)
These changes reflect changes in my life and, happily, progress in my career as an author. I have had to both narrow and deepen the focus of subversivepreacher even as the online presence of this ministry has broadened and grown. I hope the gains and strengths of what is continued will outweigh the losses and dissatisfaction you may have with these changes.
One thing I know for certain, there will be more change to come. I hope you will join me in trying to stay open to change and the opportunities it brings us to adapt, grow, and be transformed by the presence of God in our midst.