Stupid for Jesus
What amazes me about Church Change Deniers (or CCD's) is that they're not stupid. They are educated, some have degrees after their names, and some can actually program and successfully use the remote for their television. Yet they insist that change cannot, and should not, happen in the church. One faith fits all, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, amen. I don't understand this.
These are people who cling to literal beliefs about Jesus' birth and resurrection, as if science doesn't apply here. They insist on the inerrancy of the Bible, or on the absolute correctness of historic church beliefs, as if revelation comes to us only by divine fiat. They will say they "love the sinner, but hate the sin," when speaking of anyone not certifiably straight, and then show that love by denying same-sex couples the sacrament of marriage.
I know, in their hearts and minds, they believe they are being faithful--faithful to Scripture, faithful to two thousand years of Christian tradition, faithful to Jesus Christ himself. They wince when someone suggests they are being narrow-minded or homophobic. They protest that it's not that simple. But a few years ago, a bishop visiting the Calgary Diocese used his complex conservative theology to suggest that change, necessarily, takes a long time in the church, thousands of years even, because we don't want to look back and realize we've made a mistake. Like we may do one day, he added, about the ordination of women.
The most troubling thing about these people is not their lack of faith; for them, their beliefs are an act of faith. Nor is it, as I say, that they're stupid; they're not. The most troubling thing is that they are being willfully ignorant. They have made a choice to ignore the findings of science and the reasoning power of their own minds--for the sake of a trusting childlike faith. They have chosen to believe in a changeless God who rules a changeless universe, against the witness of the natural God-given world itself, which is anything but changeless. The only changes they accept are those that will bend our wills to God's, making us changeless too.
Maybe I'm the one who's stupid. But checking our brains at the church door, as we would an inconvenient coat? I’m not sure that’s what our Lord had in mind when he said we must leave everything and follow him. But what do I know? I like change!