March 31, 2012
The closing song in “Hairspray” says, “you can’t stop an avalanche …the motion of the ocean… you can’t stop the beat”. It is referring to social change and that once momentum has built up that change is inevitable. In the musical it is specifically speaking of racial integration but has much wider connotations at the same time. The world in 1962 was in the midst of change, and the world in 2012 is in the midst of change. Jesus lived in times of dramatic social change as well. Ultimately, God did not create the world to stay the same – ever. We are living thinking people and will always be striving to find a better way.
The church and the world are in the midst of change now. States are legalizing broader definitions of marriage and medical use of formerly illegal herbal remedies. There are courts in Europe that have granted legal personhood to educated apes who can communicate through sign-language. The Catholic church is struggling with policies in many areas, including birth-control and soon the United Methodist Church will convene as a national body to decide what changes we are ready to embrace. The world keeps spinning round and round and change happens in every revolution.
Do you ever find that you have changed your mind on an issue? Politicians are often criticized for having “waffled” on a topic. Doesn’t it make sense though that as a person lives longer, learns more, and is able to see a broader scope of perspectives that they would be able to grow in their understanding of an issue and thus change their mind? God constantly calls us to think beyond ourselves. Jesus was a radical. He challenged every social norm of his time. He respected women, ate with tax collectors, healed people on the Sabbath, fraternized with Samaritans, the list goes on and on. Even Jesus himself changed his mind. There were times when he didn’t want to offer healing, but was confronted by someone in need and did the opposite of what he had planned. If our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can change his mind, shouldn’t it be okay for normal humans to as well? God often challenges us to change our minds using cognitive dissonance, the discomfort caused by becoming aware that we hold two conflicting views at the same time. For example – all of this group of people are bad, I like (or love) this person, I find out that person is a member of the larger hated group. Then we reconsider and reconcile. Wallow in that reconsideration. It is valuable.