After a day of listening and learning, sharing and discussing change and church and all the variations found therein, I came back to St David of Wales tonight to take part in the for the Eucharist for Haiti. In the minutes leading up to the service, I found some wifi and checked in on the happenings of school and facebook friends, and then began to read through some of the blogs on my rss feed. Mike, who I’ve now met in person at the Brian McLaren conference a of couple weeks ago though I’ve followed his blog for about a year, had posted this today. I was immediately struck by its application to our setting and the discussions that had been going on and are continuing to go on throughout the conference here.
“Incremental change is usually limited in scope and is often reversible. If the change does not work out, we can always return to the old way. Incremental change usually does not disrupt our past patterns–it is an extension of the past. Most important, during incremental change, we feel we are in control…
Deep change differs from incremental change in that it requires new ways of thinking and behaving. It is change that is major in scope, discontinuous with the past, and generally irreversible. The deep change effort distorts existing patterns of action and involves taking risks. Deep change means surrendering control.”
Robert E. Quinn, Deep Change (p. 3)
That being said, something one of the people who shared yesterday, Dwight Friesen (lectures at Mars Hill Divinity School in Seattle) also grabbed me: “People don’t fear change, we love change! People fear loss.”
Either way, the consensus seems to be that we need to take risks. Try something new – sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t. Either way, you won’t know until you’ve tried.
Interesting thought from Dwight. I think it might be one of those both/and situations; Personally I love change… I thrive on it. That’s something of an unusual characteristic, but even I fear loss.
I love change as well – if things are the same for too long, I start to get a little crazy. Though constant change without something stable is bad… But I can see why people would confuse loss with change: whenever there is dramatic change, things are lost. So perhaps when (for example) parishioners dig in heels about a traditional liturgical style what they are most afraid of is not the change, but the loss of that which is familiar and comfortable.