From the Pastor’s desk—
The following quote by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks gave me reason to pause and reflect: “People resist change, and can become angry and hostile when faced with the need for it.”
I’m aware that proposed and/or implemented changes can arouse anger. Having read various books and articles on the subject of change, anger often stems from loss in the midst of change. Change means something different may or will happen which in turn has the potential to eliminate a comfortable feeling or practice of the past. This loss may be necessary for a system or organization to not only survive but also to thrive. However, loss is usually not wanted and can move into anger.
I’ve often focused on the loss as the anger initiating element but not on the need for the change. Sacks opened my mind to a new understanding.
Note, though, that I read his quote several times to let it sink in. I invite you to re-read it several times, to sit with it, to ponder it. After doing so, does it offer any insight into the reality of the anger present in our society today associated with needed change?
Allow me to name an example—creation care. Scientists are continually raising our awareness of the dangers to this plant and all that lives on it if greater efforts are not given to caring for creation. Extinction rates will explode upsetting the balance of ecosystems that depend on equilibrium of species. Ocean levels will increase inundating populated shorelines with flooding causing mass displacement of peoples. Weather related catastrophes will increase in number and intensity disrupting live and causing significant economic loss. The need to change is real meaning adjustments to the way we live is necessary. Making modifications may increase the cost of living and require us to learn new ways of doing things. The impacts may require additional expenditures of money, time, and emotions eating away at our comfort level(s). To change because it is necessary can initiate anger especially if we fail to realize the impacts are not only about the present but most assuredly about future. Anger ensues when we are required to think beyond our own little sphere of existence to the much broader sphere of the whole human race. The need to change moves us toward a more expansive scope of concern. Such scope turns our societal individualism upside down increasing the potential for anger to emerge. If I can’t have what I want, well, I’ll detach and sulk and throw my own little tantrum.
Is an alternative to anger available to us when change is needed? I believe it is and is identified as adaptation. A current situation we face offers an illustration, in my view. Gas prices have increased dramatically based on a confluence of several factors. However, price increases as well as fossil fuel concerns, in my humble view, necessitate change not only in supply and demand along with pricing regulation but also in adapting to new methods of energy consumption. This need for change (adaptation) causes anger. We need to give up some things to have a sustainable future for all.
I recall at an Annual Conference a few years ago during a business meeting open floor discussion that anger arose when creation care conversations suggested the need to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Some of the anger stemmed from those whose livelihood was generated from the oil industry. The loss of income and/or jobs would be catastrophic. It would hurt families and the ability to earn a living. The anger was palpable in the statements made at the microphones. Such concerns are understandable and the argument for sustained income is acceptable. But I wonder where the conversation may have gone if instead of allowing the anger to motivate the way forward, discussions of ways to adapt to alternative sources of energy would have emerged. And then to add to the conversation ways in which employees could transition to the alternative systems. What new ideas would have developed? What new systems may have emerged to accommodate the needs of families that would be more sustainable for the planet and future generations?
Before this essay begins to sound like a holier-than-thou rant, let me clarify that anger is a response I sometimes exhibit in relation to needed change. Adapting is the more difficult route to take and I enjoy comfort just as much as anyone. Therefore, I need to temper my anger by stepping back to reflect more deeply about needed change, to consider alternative ways and thoughts that can help any system I’m a part of to not only survive but to thrive and be sustainable well into the future, not only for my benefit but for the welfare and advancement of all.
Recap: Worship, March 20, 2022
In Mark 11:15-18 we find the story of Jesus turning over the tables of the merchants in the temple. Jesus saw the exchanging of money for temple sacrifices as an affront to the purposes of this sacred space. So in anger, Jesus disrupts the process, naming to wrong being committed, and proclaiming the proper use of the space. The action of Jesus goes beyond naming purpose of space to claiming justice for people how are impacted by it. People were being taken advantage of rather than receiving the benefits of a religious experience. Jesus, in disrupting this wrong encourages us to do the same in our systems. Loving God and others is the motivation for being disruptive, acting to overcome the injustices among us.
Videos used during the service can be accessed with these links.
The Law – (31) The Law – YouTube
Friars of the South Bronx – (31) N.Y./Region: Friars of the South Bronx | The New York Times – YouTube
Bonus video. (I thought this was the same group from the Bronx but after viewing again realize it is another group. Nevertheless, enjoy!)
Renewal in Motion – (31) Renewal in Motion || HD – YouTube
Worship Services March 2022
TURNING THINGS UPSIDE DOWN: TAKE 2
Mark 11:15-18; Psalm 19:7-14
Worship Service – March 20, 2022 – 9:30am – In-person & Zoom
January through March worship services will follow themes from the SHINE curriculum. SHINE curriculum is produced by Brethren Press. Biblical stories encountered during worship include Nathan confronting David, Esther saving her people, proclaiming jubilee, a son returns home, Zacchaues making amends, and more. We will spend two Sunday’s on each theme.
Topic: Worship Services January – March 2022
Time: Jan. through Mar. 2022 each Sunday 09:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 816 8283 3350