Change? For most of us, too risky!


1Change"If change and growth
are not programmed into your spirituality, if there are not serious warnings
about the blinding nature of fear and fanaticism, your religion will always end
up worshiping the status quo and protecting your present ego position and personal
advantage…although Jesus’ first preached message is clearly “CHANGE” (as in
Mark 1:15 and Matthew 4:17), where he told his listeners to “repent,” which
literally means to “change your mind,” it did not strongly influence Christian
history.  This resistance to change is so
common, in fact, that it is almost what we expect from religious people, who
tend to love the past more than the future or the present.  All we can conclude is that much of organized
religion is itself living inside of “first half of life” issues, which
coincides with where most people are in any culture.  We all receive and pass on what our people
are prepared to hear, and most people are not “early adopters.”  Yet even the intelligence of animals is
determined in response to new circumstances. 
Those who do not, become extinct.”
 
Richard Rohr, Upward Falling p. 11

Change…not
necessarily a topic that most people want to talk about.  Researchers tell us that most of us are only
willing to call 5% of our present information and lifestyle into question at
any given point.  Why is that?  It is easy to get stuck.  During last year’s Christmas season I read
another book about the crucible of change. 
Most of us pattern our lifestyles and behavior off of unconscious habits
and actions.  Sooner or later, what we do
on a repetition basis eventually becomes habit and, you know as well as I do,
that habits are hard to break.  Now, I
have to admit, some habits are constructive even good for our lives.  No one would debate that a healthy dose of truth
and goodness, kindness and love, service and sacrifice does not sharpen the
ability for most people to live a fulfilling life.  Even so, it is not the good habits that mess
up our lives.  It is rather the
destructive habits that we have in so many instances fallen into over
time.  Sooner or later, even the most
faithful of us would have to admit that there are areas in which we are plain
stuck.

For some,
their “stuckness” comes in an inability to break a habit of anger or resentment
in relationships.  For others, stuckness
reveals itself in some sort of chemical or psychological abuse (for negative
self-esteem and self punishing is abuse that originates not from without but
from within).  Others are stuck
spiritually…they haven’t moved beyond and deeply implanted sense of narcissism
and ego gratification.  Neither have they
seen a steady increase of the harvest of God’s fruit of the Spirit over
time.  Many of us haven’t picked up a
book that would challenge and inform our lives and hearts in decades.  We barely understand the scriptures so we
ignore them whenever possible. 

You know
what causes growth?  Creative tension…a
bit of discomfort…a tragedy…taking a risk…entering into a new
relationship…experiencing something you never have experience before.  Let me say this, if you are what some might
call, “risk adverse” or you are overtly or covertly rigid…if you desire to
“circle the wagons” around your source of superiority or preferred group or
those who seem preoccupied with “clothing, titles, perks and externals of
religion” than you aren’t  going
anywhere.  As Rohr explains, “You won’t
experience a world beyond your own control or explanation.”  You want to know what that “world” he refers
to is all about?  You want to have a hint
of what you would be missing!  You would
be missing God!  You would be missing THE
LIFE WE ALL WANT IN COMMUNION WITH THE LORD GOD and LIVING ACCORDING TO HIS
PURPOSES AS HIS KINGDOM MAKES ITSELF REAL IN OUR LIVES.  Security and stuckness keep most of us from
hearing the voice of the Spirit in our hearts. 
That’s why those who take the step in trusting Jesus for the adventure
of discipleship grow. 

I want to
end this devotional with another quote from a Jesus follower from
antiquity.  Here are the words of St.
John of the Cross:

 “…God has to work in the soul in secret and
in darkness because if we fully knew what was happening, and what Mystery,
transformation, God and Grace will eventually ask of us, we would either try to
take charge (a move of the false self) or stop the whole process (a move of
fear and stuckness).” 

Where are
you?  

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