“Every time I find the meaning of life, they change it.” – Anonymous
The transition from the legalism of our past to the grace and truth of biblical Christianity presents many challenges, but the unsettling nature of change itself is one of the most substantial. It’s been said that people hate change. Others have refined the idea to say that it’s more an issue of how we implement change, than the change itself. I even heard one person suggest that people like change, if they get a clear sense that the change will make their lives better. The CD was a marked improvement over the cassette – no one cried tears over the death of those hissy tapes that took forever to fast-forward so we could listen to side B…
Perhaps the single greatest underlying issue in this discussion of “recovering from religion” is the levelness of the playing field. What I mean to say is that there has been far too much finger pointing and not nearly enough humility on both sides of the issue. Along these lines, I think there is something meaningful to be said on the (sub-?)topic of “change.” I’d like to think that we can readily admit that all parties involved in this religion/Kingdom metamorphosis were and still are sinners, but can we just as easily admit that differences in individual personalities also plays a significant role? Pastors: can you understand that most people sitting the seats need time to process major theological shifts? Church: did you ever consider that what your Pastor just “dropped” in a 45-minute message is the culmination of weeks and months of prayer and humbling spiritual confrontation?
Maybe it’s because our pastors just expect the congregation to roll with the theological punches, and our congregations feel that pressure… Maybe it’s because our pastors assume that the congregations are going to be so happy to hear this new message of “freedom” that they fail to consider just how complicated its implications will be… Whatever the case may be, people adapt to change differently and this divergence significantly affects the process of “recovering from religion.” This human factor – different than the sin factor – is one that we might be overlooking. And while personality differences can wreak havoc in even the most minor of life’s issues, imagine its impact on an issue as critical as the teachings that guide us as we live with/in/for God!
So it would seem wise and restorative to figuratively just exhale – breathe out and give the offender (regardless of which “side” they happen to be on) the very generous helping of “slack” that we ourselves long for! Yes, this transition could have been handled better (by all involved) but not every issue is simply wrong – sometimes it’s also a matter of “personality” intersecting with “change.”