This is a different post for me for it poses no answers, no self-discovery, no “aha’s”. It is an appeal for insights, of which I am finding elusive at the moment.
Chandler came back from camp this weekend. Along with stories of cliff jumping, tubing, and extreme sports tournaments came accounts of spiritual growth. I remember returning from summer camp when I was young—the amazing spiritual “high” from that week would bolster my spiritual walk for several months. What I remember most was the compulsion to change my life in “real” and remarkable ways. I would make lists of what I needed to change to become a more dynamic Christian. On the list would be things I needed to stop doing, start doing, and augment to fit my new aspiration. My life would begin to transform and real change would take place. I had a mission; a purpose and it seemed effortless to act on its behalf.
These recollections, and yesterday’s sermon, got me to thinking about “change” in general. Change is difficult and the older we get, the more difficult it becomes. I have always enjoyed the stimulus of change, yet as I age it becomes less and less enjoyable. Conceivably this could be because I don’t mind change, as long as it is of my design and control, but if it comes from some external source--I tend to recoil from it.
When change is crucial, I don’t believe that it can be mandated. It can’t be browbeaten into submission. It can’t be preached at, coerced or commanded and expect to be effective. Change must come from within us. We must somehow make a choice to become the conduit. I do believe we can be led to change; motivated to change, and even inspired to change (as often was the case at summer camp), but our hearts must be open first.
My question is--how do you initiate change? How do you become, as Mahatma Gandhi believed, “the change you want to see”? How do you reconstruct that “summer camp” experience to inspire spiritual change? How do you reclaim purpose and continue with the excitement and hope that should be found in the Christian community and most importantly whose responsibility is it?