Saturday, August 23, 2008

A FURTHER TAKE ON CHANGE

What to Hold or Let go

As a follow up to my previous post:

During my initial struggle to change from the status quo and comfort zone of my Protestant evangelicalism and my allegiance to the precious community of believers with whom I served in ministry for a lifetime, I would have been encouraged had I read Dietrich Von Hildebrand’s insights on “Fidelity to error is not a virtue” in the same chapter quoted previously.


He explained that to abide by a thing inflexibly, merely because we have once believed in it and have come to love it, is not in itself a praiseworthy attitude. We only owe our loyalty to the fullness of truth and to genuine value. On the contrary, in regard to errors and negative values or incomplete truth, we should indeed break with what we formerly cherished and withdraw our trust in them, once we know them to be negative in value.


He further expanded on hindrances to change by pointing out the dangers of feeling that we have to remain faithful to false or less than correct ideas and ideals even after we find them wanting. We may be comfortable with old and familiar things merely because we have lived so long with them, and because they are connected with memories of our childhood and home.


So then, if the stakes are high enough, if a greater treasure than the one I have is available, neither my reputation nor the difficulty or fear of change should hold me back. What a revelation! Even dramatic change toward the higher, the deeper is possible for a Christian in the latter years of life because of the eternal supernatural youthfulness that Von Hildebrand described previously.


I want to live in a continual state of unconditional readiness to change in the positive ways the Spirit of God leads into the fullness of Truth. In this change of faith context, which is essentially not a change “from one religion to another,” as some have viewed it, I don’t leave behind anything of eternal value and revelation truth and biblical truth that I have believed for a lifetime. On the contrary, I move on to a greater fullness of those things, to embrace MORE of God’s truth.


I am still the same born again child of God on a journey Home, ever upward, with my hand in my Father’s hand and following Jesus ever more closely no matter how old I am.


CHANGE


Something within me

is apprehensive of change.

So why am I surprised to know

that I grow through the unpredictable

and struggle through disenchantments

to new reality?


God sluffs off the old and familiar

so I can discover beneath the crust

the fresh, the new

and in the shattering of a dream

awaken to new visions.


I am wrong to resist change:

it is my friend and sent

as God's instrument to teach me

to bend with the wind

and lean in another direction.


A stream encountering stones

in its onward flow

instinctively will know

it must find a new channel

and joyously go

on its way

in rippling expectancy.


So I shall welcome change

as a clean slate

a fresh breath

a cool breeze

an untried path

a stimulation to renewal

and an opportunity

to bloom

transplanted!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Leona, What wonderful thoughts on change! I'm taking your poem to the Senior Sunday Class tomorrow to read to them because no matter what it is, we all experience change and need to learn that God is teaching us "to bend with the wind and lean in another directon".
Susan

Lindsay said...

Hi Leona... So neat that you have a blog. I'll be putting it on google reader so as not to miss updates. A blog you might want to read is: www.bausermancottage.com. It is authored by a man who was diagnosed with cancer in June. Joe is a therapist, philosopher and theologian. His blog is ministering to readers and we to him as we lift him up in prayer.

Betty Cutts said...

Dear Leona,
I am exploring your new blog. Thanks for the invitation. Blessing Hands has a blog also at http://blessinghands.blogspot.com. We are featuring students who need college scholarship right now like we did last year when you chose 吴世耀 Wu Shiyao to give a scholarship to.

Wu's mother, however, insisted that he repeat the senior year and try for a better college this year. He has been accepted into Qinzhou College this year, and he needs a scholarship this year too. Could you renew your offer of last year and help him with his tuition of 3300 yuan ($481US) a year?

I admire your comparison to Nicodemus. The Lord once called me Nicodemus when he wanted me to leave the Church of Christ and their pharisee outlook. As he put it to me, I could continue to be Nicodemus and bury Jesus, or I could choose to be a Paul and die daily. I chose the daily life of Paul over the safe course of Nicodemus. I see you made the same choice. They were both Pharaisees but what a difference their lives were.

I attended the Ambassadors for Christ Conference in December hoping to meet you and thank you for the book you sent me. I missed you, but I saw the great organization that you and your husband grew from students. Maybe someday Blessing Hands students will have the same influence in China.
Blessings,
Betty Cutts
blessinghands@gmail.com
http://www.blessing-hands.org

JeffZ said...

In my own personal journey which also resulted in my conversion into the Catholic Church, the words found in John 17: 18-19, kind of sum up the importance of the acceptance of change, if in fact it brings us into the Truth.

"They are stangers in the world, as I am. Consecrate them by the truth, they word is truth. As thou has sent them into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake, I now consecrate myself, that they too may be consecrated by the Truth."

There can only be ONE Truth, which makes 28 thousand plus, differing denominations, outlining different takes on all kinds of moral truths and beliefs, so much in conflict with the reality of only one real truth.

While intentions are good perhaps the thousands of personal "spirit filled" truths that many christians profess are more a reflection of good intentions and not the commonsense realization that the Word, the Spirit of Truth, can only have one Church, one profession of Faith, One Body, One Christ.

Dont get me wrong, its a journey for all Christians in living this truth, and our works, our deeds, our sincerity of heart, is in God's judgement alone.

Please pray for me, as I will pray for you.